Stage 12 – Gruben to St Niklaus – Gidget in the mountains.

This was the first time on the trip I had woken without an alarm – 20 odd people outside your dorm door will do that! It was just a good thing no one had snored through the night; although Karyn heard the locals calling in the cows in the wee hours.

Up the hill through the woods for our last col – Augstbordpass (we were in the German influenced part of Switzerland). It was a really pleasant hike up – stopping for quick chats with fellow hikers Mary and Sue and Kerry and Peter.

On one rest stop Karyn found a great wobbly rock and broke into ‘Wipeout’ for her Gidget impersonation – we still had our humour!

The arrival to the col was a very emotional one (I’m tearing up writing this). We had chosen to revisit ‘the quote’ at this milestone. Karyn struggled to get the words out while I stood there looking down the valley with tears rolling down my face. The words from the quote had come to be a rock for us and a constant reminder of the value of life.

It was very cold at this high col (2893m) and the clouds were closing in for the hike through the mountain valley so we made our way down for a lunch spot on a nice rock (they’d become our friends).

More boulders to cross before reaching a viewing point at Twara. Our notes indicated you could be waiting a while if the clouds were closed in. Being the ever optimist I said “let’s just sit a sec, we’ll get a good view”. Within minutes the clouds had parted to give a great view down into the townships and across to the imposing mountains on the other side of the valley.  I concluded we must have done good in our lives!

The next section was interesting crossing large slabs created for a former trade route. We soon encountered the funny goats with their half white and half chocolate coats – I told Karyn they are the goats that produce topdeck chocolate. Another sound of music moment.

We reached the lovely little hamlet of Jungen with its cable car down to St Niklaus. This option is often taken by hikers wanting to avoid the big descent of 900m down. Not us! “No cable cars” were the instructions from Lee and we were too close to cave in now!

The hike down was torturous, the gradient causing the worst strain on our knees that we’d experienced. The shrines along the track were doing little to distract the pain. I had the added joy of having bruised the sole of my left foot and so was trying to avoid the sharp rocks, which was proving almost impossible in some stretches (you were right Jim – they had real potential to cause hurt).

While heading down we had helicopters buzzing overhead. We soon realised they were part of the construction work going on nearby – imagine using helicopters instead of trucks to transport your loads!

A few spots of rain were felt but we arrived into St Niklaus without rain, because…

We arrived to a welcome note and key at our hotel – seemed it was just us and Mary and Sue staying in the place.

Wandered into town for a bite to eat but everything was closed and the place was deserted. I was starting to think everyone had taken shelter from some nuclear fallout that we didn’t know about! Thankfully we rounded a corner to find Cassie and Steve feasting so we joined them for a bite to eat.

It had been a great day, the weather superb and we were ready to tackle our last day up the valley to Zermatt and the Matterhorn!


About Teesh

Out and about, living life to its fullest.
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