Saturday, July 6, 2013

Adelboden, Switzerland Day Hike 1

hotel view
The view from the balcony of my parents room on the third floor of Waldhaus-Huldi Hotel (it is two buildings that sit opposite each other on the main road). The snow in the mountains above would impact our hiking since many trails were closed off on account of the snow.

Adelboden Day Hike 1 at EveryTrail

Our first hike, as seems to always be the case with HF Hoiday trips, would start and end at our hotel. We decided to do the longer walk which we expected to be a bit more than 9 miles long and have about 2,900 feet of ascent and descent. We started out by walking partially through town and then steadily ascending along a paved road. We did make one small wrong turn but with the help of a local we got ourselves sorted out quickly enough. the road climbs steadily and quickly and for a road is not bad. We had some forest mixed in with the buildings that snuggle up to the road. In time we came to a lookout point that provided a fine view of Adelboden. You could see the valley spread out below and hear the tolling of numerous church bells calling people to Sunday morning services.

Above Adelboden
Our first walk would start by climbing a paved mountain road out of Adelboden. Then we would come to this lookout point and walk on paths instead. At this point we are probably about 500 feet above the town and we've been out for not quite an hour.

We would leave the road for paths, I am not going to call them trails because they're bigger than that, and continue ascending. In time we came to the alpine garden at Horeli. I did not go check out the garden. My understanding is it is a garden, I think privately owned but open to the public, that shows off hundreds of species of alpine flora. For those interested in this type of thing it probably is special; I was happy to sit on a bit of stone wall and rest. After all, we had more ascending to do.

snow patches
It got a bit snowy as we climbed. At the top we would pass a cafe with some people as we trod a mountain road. We continued, on mud and snow, to a final summit that Mom, Dad and I did not crest. We went back down and took the long way around (probably harder in hindsight then climbing the last little bit and descending the backside would've been).

We climbed through some forest and up grassy slopes that I expect are used as pasture when the cows are brought up into the mountains. In time we found ourselves up on much more open ground and that meant chillier too with a stiff wind blowing. Patches of snow were everywhere along the dirt road we were now following that led past a gondola terminus and small restaurant. We were almost at the high point of the walk. To get there we had to plod through wet snow and mud. Mom, Dad and I din't quite go all the way to the top and instead retraced our steps down and then along the road contouring around the re-join the group who came down the backside of the summit. I think, in hindsight, they had an easier time of things. We should've just gone to the top and down the gentle grassy (no mud or snow) side. Oh well. We had lunch in the lee of a small barn (I think) and then kept going on down. We left the gravel road for paths that would have been nice except for the fact that they had some sort of rubber and stone mesh laid down. I suppose it slows erosion but it is slippery as all hell when even a little wet. I may have been the only one to actually fall but I suspect many found the footing pretty cruddy. Personally, I think this mesh is horrid and can't see any good rason to use it. In time as we worked our way through forest again and passed by some herds of jingling cows (love those cow bells) we got to our afternoon tea stop. I don't know the name of the place, I was told, but it was a good place for some apple strudel and coffee. We found the folks who had been doing the shorter walk happily there too.

Down by the Riverside
After leaving the cafe where we had wonderful apple strudel while listening to nearby cows jingle their varied toned cowbells we split up. Dad decided to retrace our steps back to a junction just uphill and finish off the "official" harder walk. Mom and I, along with many other from the harder walk joined the other group of walkers, and walked along this river back into Adelboden. Our walk would be about a half hour or so shorter.

At this point the group morphed somewhat. The vast majority of us went along the route the shorter walker would take along the river back into town. That group included Mom and me. A handful, including Dad, continued the official longer walk which meant re-tracing steps back up to a junction and then heading into town. I am sure Dad had a fine time on his slightly longer walk. We certainly enjoyed walking by the river again passing several placid (fortunately as they were quite close) cows. Sure the last 15 or so minutes of the walk are on the main road that runs by the hotel but that's the way it goes.

The weather had been crisp and a bit damp all day. It didn't rain but it wasn't a dry day as such. I expect the high temperature was only in the mid to upper 50s and with the wind on top that certainly felt quite chillier.

The complete photo album which contains 45 photos chronicling the day hikes around Adelboden, Switzerland (no videos) can be found in two places. The real difference is in how they're presented. Pick as you prefer: the Flickr Album or the Google Album.


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