hiking switzerland

10

Zermatt, Switzerland

September 25th 2016 with @tamingthetides and @hulahooch

It’s not a proper trip to Switzerland without getting to see the Matterhorn, so we drove three and a half hours across almost all of Switzerland to Zermatt. But since any drive through the Swiss mountains is very scenic, there was no reason to complain, except for the lack of time to stop for photos. We arrived in Zermatt at about one o’clock with absolutely perfect weather surrounding the Matterhorn, which just made the day absolutely perfect! With blue skies around, you could truly see all the peaks in the area and thanks to the nice sunshine, the initial worry of freezing at the top disappeared relatively quickly.    

Although the village of Zermatt is beautiful, we quickly jumped on the next train going to the top without exploring the town, since the view from the top is simply unbeatable. And so is the train ride on the Gornergratbahn, which is well worth the relatively expensive ticket, because the experience of winding through the mountainside through the forest, riding on a bridge next to a waterfall above a gorge with views of the village, the whole valley filled with glaciers, and obviously the Matterhorn is simply incomparable to anything else.

After reaching the altitude of 3098 meters (10135 feet), we got out of the train, and started taking as many photos as imaginable (including my current profile pic, thanks Amber), and who wouldn’t when you’re surrounded by a giant glacier, a hotel/observatory, and the tallest peaks in all of Switzerland. Switzerland’s highest peak with the elevation of 4634 meters (15203 feet) - Dufourspitze - is right there behind behind the big glacier. Gornergat is a place I could stay at all day, but since we also had to walk all the way down, we eventually set off on the hike down, but not without Kristi buying some Toblerone first … and Amber using the rubber stamp in the gift-shop to mark everyone’s hand with a little ink Matterhorn.

The next destination was the lake Riffelsee, which is perfect for reflections if there’s no wind (as mentioned before, we got lucky with the weather since there was no wind either). Turns out there’s also a smaller lake behind the big one, which I didn’t know, and turns out no else around did, because we got the smaller lake pretty much all to ourselves.

And if all of that wasn’t cool enough, the probably the most memorable part of the trip was once the sun started to set. The whole mountainside was lit with this beautiful yellow light, but then for a brief moment, it all got dark because the sun was literally behind the Matterhorn! It was so cool to be in the Matterhorn’s shadow, because you could see this dark spot right above the peak surrounded by this bright light and words fail me while trying to describe how cool it was. (Amber was able to capture it a bit better than I was with some of these photos though). Since the way down back to Zermatt was pretty long, we made it back only once it was truly dark after the sun truly set (and not just because being in the Matterhorn’s shadow). We had to get out the headlamps since the end of the trail goes through the forest, where it’s obviously even darker. With the exception of one bad route choice, we made it to the Zermatt train station relatively quickly and safely, and just in time to catch the train back to the car.

Simply a perfect day with the perfect views and company. It was my third time at the Matterhorn, but I was still amazed as if I was there for the first time like Amber and Kristi. And based on the way they enjoyed Zermatt, it’s pretty clear I’ll have to take them there again at some point in the future.