Tag Archives: switzerland

Summit Selfies: Les Chaux

14 Jun 17
Heidi Kumm
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There’s a peak near here that I’ve fallen in love with. Legit love. Probably? Like the sort of love you have for fluffy kittens you can’t keep for yourself so you’re going to love them even more, on principle. Whatever sort of love that is…that’s how I feel about Les Chaux. It’s basically perfect in every way I want it to be + it’s the gateway to one of my favorite trails in all of Switzerland. Maybe I need to explore more to find a better trail…but until I find that, this is my favoritest trail evers. #fact

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Les Gorges: Into the Valley

06 Jun 17
Heidi Kumm
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When you tell someone you’re headed to the Swiss Alps for the summer the general assumption is that you’re going for the mountain peaks. That’s not untrue, but the Alps offer up more than summits! I first found the gorges [aptly named “Les Gorges”] on a rainy day last time I was here…they’re kind of a perfect rainy day hike. However, they’ve become one of my favorite hikes near the chalet, even on the sunny days! Let me tell you why…

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Taking on Switzerland

10 May 17
Heidi Kumm
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Taking on Switzerland

I’m back! Back in Switzerland + on my way back to the tiny mountain town I fell in love with a few years ago. I booked my flight to Switzerland as soon as I accepted that winter job in the Colorado Rockies last October. As ridiculous as it seems, I was legitimately concerned I’d get a “real job” [seasonal as it was] + forget how to leave the country. My crazy doesn’t always make sense, but this time it got me back to Switzerland so I won’t apologize for it!

After van-tripping around Iceland I hopped on a plane to Switzerland to start a summer in the Alps. I’ve been in Zurich for a week. An uneventful week, for the most part. I’ve been nursing a cold [the only souvenir I brought back from Iceland, ironically] + dodging even more raindrops. Yes, more rain. Mother Nature’s tears have been following me around the world + each country I end up in. I need to start plotting a way to cheer her up…soon!

My time in Zurich has been spent wandering city streets, sleeping in, eating $32 burgers, reading books, drinking $8 lattes, writing memories, pondering life + slowly going stir crazy. Of all the big cities I’ve been in, Zurich is easily one of my favorite [I think Vienna still wins]. Even so, this girl can only take so many days surrounded by concrete + asphalt.

This past weekend was a nice break from the big city. I tagged along with friends + friends of friends down to southern Switzerland for a few days. We crashed a family’s BBQ, indulged in an Italian meal whipped up by Swiss-Italians, drove insanely steep + windy mountain roads, watched street hockey tournaments, ate homemade cheese in the barn it was produced in + wandered wanderwegs. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was kind of awesome! More importantly, it was a weekend I would have never been able to pull off on my own! I was just the girl along for the ride. I rarely had any idea what the game plan was, even when I was the one driving! Language barriers are real. Very real.

Surprisingly, my fluency in German did not magically increase while I was gone. Last weekend, I also learned that even my shoddy Spanish is more useful than English when surrounded by Italian speaking Swiss. It’s also been hypothesized that being fluent in Italian makes you a good chef. I may need to spend some more time testing this hypothesis, which I’m okay with!

At the moment, I’m surrounded by bits + pieces of my gear + clothes. Everything is nearly packed up. Mostly. I’m almost ready. I am about to break this constant cycle of packing, unpacking + repacking. In about an hour I’ll be on a train headed west…to Gryon. Tonight I’ll crash my head into a pillow under the roof of Chalet Martin. I can. not. wait. My heart is ready to chase happy in the mountains + my brain is begging for a little more structure + responsibility in my every day life.

There is a lot to love about Switzerland, no doubt. However, the time I spent volunteering at this hostel that I came back for + that I’m craving. I’m here for the relaxed mountain life, surrounded by people with rich histories + ambitious futures in the mountains. The Alps. I really don’t think my mom had any idea how appropriate of a name “Heidi” would end up being for me… [thanks, Mom!]

Playing Tourist

02 Nov 15
Heidi Kumm
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I have spent the last seven weeks settling into life at Chalet Martin in a small town in the Swiss Alps. I’ve slept in the same bed, cooked in the same kitchen, stashed my shoes on the same shelf + shopped at the same market for almost two months. It’s like I’ve been legitimately living in a tiny mountain town in Switzerland…exactly the experience I planned for when I left the States. It’s been nice. It’s gotten comfortable. It’s time to change. Yea, I know. Why fix what’s not broken…but I’m almost out of time to wander Europe so rather than stick to the comfortable I’m headed beyond the borders of Switzerland.

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Tour de l’Argentine

29 Oct 15
Heidi Kumm
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One of my questions for Merlin while coordinating my WorkAway plans in Gryon, Switzerland was “how’s the hiking + trail running in the area?”, turns out Merlin was not lying when he said the options are endless. From the day I arrived the Tour de l’Argentine has been mentioned by multiple people, yet it still took me about 4 weeks to actually get out there and run/hike the loop. It did not disappoint! And I really should have done it earlier because now I really want to summit l’Argentine but I’m running out of time!

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Peaks + Valleys

23 Oct 15
Heidi Kumm
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What do you do when the clouds take over the mountain? The same thing you do when it’s a beautifully sunny day — you get your tush outside and find trails to explore! I’ve done a fairly good job of winning the fight against the snot factory that took over my sinuses but the weather has not been very good at supporting my quest to spend all my free time outside. Rather than greeting me with sunny skies and tshirt temperatures it’s been doling out lots of chilly clouds. But I am nothing if not persistent…clouds or not, outside I went!

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Take It Easy

21 Oct 15
Heidi Kumm
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Every time the seasons change I get sick, without fail. Sometimes I blame it on airplane cooties [like that time I nearly died from a ferocious head cold + sketchy stomach flu the week I got home from South America] but really, I think my immune system is just a big wimp that sucks at fighting off the bad guys. And I don’t care how old I am, I will always imagine white blood cells shooting sticks at these nasty germs like they do on the Magic School Bus >> https://youtu.be/uJKJr7gKS_Y [and, yes, I watched that entire episode after I found it!].

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Stories of a Hut Guardian

19 Oct 15
Heidi Kumm
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hut-guardian-stories

stories-of-a

I think I have snagged my last two SAC hut stays of the season…snow has arrived and I am not prepared for legitimate winter mountaineering in the Swiss Alps. Sure, I’m a little bummed I won’t be huttin’ it anymore but I randomly picked some pretty amazing huts for my last trip! And I really do mean randomly, I have no idea where my Google search started but it ended with me reserving beds at Frundenhutte and Bluemlisalphutte…two of the only huts who still had guardians in October.

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Alone in the Mountains [Schonbielhutte]

14 Oct 15
Heidi Kumm
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schonbielhutte

There were only a few hours between my “I should go somewhere” thoughts and my “hop on a train” actions but I did do a little Google’ing to get a feel for the trails in the Zermatt area. The Schonbielhutte was on my radar but the hut’s website was very vague about when it closed for the season. I checked with the Zermatt Tourism Office but the woman simply read me the website…super helpful. Or not.

So, when I came upon the sign that said “Schonbielhutte 1h 25m” I decided to check out the hut for myself. Worst case scenario, the hut would be closed and I would be hiking along remote mountain trails next to the Matterhorn on an absolutely gorgeous day for another three hours. Best case scenario, the hut would be open and I’d get to spend another night in the mountains.

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Escaping Zermatt

07 Oct 15
Heidi Kumm
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zermatt

Zermatt is a tourist city, there is no denying that. The moment you step off the train you feel the “tourist vibe” humming around you. The people behind the desk at the tourism office have a rehearsed spiel, the streets are teaming with selfie sticks and each little shop has its own carousel of beautiful postcards.

Personally, I am not a fan of the “tourist vibe”, as hypocritical as that may be. The cities that have grown to accommodate tourists always feel stifling + staged…but they grew for a reason. The mountain trails + wilderness surrounding these kitschy tourist cities are stunning. And the true perk of these overgrown cities? Most tourists stay in the cities, or at least close to them, leaving the more remote + challenging trails empty for people like me!

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