Alone in the Mountains [Schonbielhutte]

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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Sunshine + Rain: Cabana de Plan Neve

It turns out the Swiss Alps really are littered with Swiss Alpine Club huts and their privately owned lookalikes. At Chalet Martin I met Caroline, another WorkAway from the States, and after a few days of extra fridge cleaning and bed making we ran away from civilization for a night in a mountain hut. At Merlin’s suggestion we headed toward Cabana de Plan Neve, a smaller hut nestled in a mountain valley.

When we left the hostel the low hanging clouds were threatening rain but as the day progressed the sun broke through the clouds and we ditched our rain gear for tank tops as we trekked down into Les Gorges, through Les Plans and up toward Pont de Nant.
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A Night in Glecksteinhutte

My first day in Grindelwald was supposed to involve a long hike up to Steckhornhutte with a relaxing night surrounded by mountain views. Instead, the city welcomed me with rain and eventually storms that drove me right off the mountainside and into a “meh” hostel on the edge of town. The hostel’s kitchen was laughable and I didn’t even bother with the shower…but I did get a 6 bed dorm room all to myself and celebrated with a full 9 hours of drool-on-my-pillow sleep. Yup, I know how to have a good time!
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Schreckhornhutte: A Failed Attempt

One of the first things many people suggest when I ask for their “must see” parts of Switzerland is “Grindelwald”! With so many people – both city lovers and mountain explorers – telling me I had to visit this area I decided to make it a stopover on my way to my WorkAway in Gryon. On my way I stopped in Interlaken, another “ooh, you should go to…” suggestion, for an afternoon + night. Honestly, if I did it again, I’d just skip Interlaken all together. Maybe I didn’t do the right kind of exploring in the area, but it felt like just another tourist city and full of distracted tourists. [granted, I did not visit Harder Kulm or spend much time near the lake, so I may be biased]
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Off the Beaten Path [Cabana d’Orny]

swiss-alpine-club-huts

When I left Champex, Switzerland on my day hike up to Glacier d’Orny I was really just hoping for some time away from tourist feel of the city. I wasn’t quite ready to commit myself to the extra bus ride that would be required if I stayed on the Tour du Mont Blanc trail, just to bail off the next day…so I hiked up, up, up.

There is a ski lift/cable car that will take you up the mountain from the edge of Champex but when you’re day hiking that is cheating, right? I tromped on past that cable car and found the single track that zigged and zagged it’s way up the mountainside one skree field at a time. Once I arrived at the top I sat myself down and ate half my stash of jelly beans while basking in the mountain sunshine.
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