A Winter Hike In April

The weather was nothing like the today before. Today, clouds had rolled in and sat just on top of the cliffs around Lauterbrunnen creating a puffy ceiling above. Weather reports showed no indication that it was going to change today, but there was no way I was staying indoors. I threw on the warmest clothes I had and set out.

Near the train station in Lauterbrunnen was a cable car to the top of the cliffs. I had a map of the hiking trails above and was ready to explore the cliff tops. What I wasn’t ready for was the amazing atmosphere created by the clouds and snow. As the cable car neared the cliff tops, I slowly ascended into an eerie fog. Here, visibility was reduced to around 40 yards. The silent cable car began to hum as silhouettes of evergreens passed in the distance.

The cable car came to a stop at a small train station above. I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I bought a bag of trail mix at a vending machine and started down the trail. In half a minute, the train station disappeared behind me.

The whole hike was an incredible experience. I couldn’t see anything past the distance I could throw a rock. While the trail was well kept and mostly free of snow, the mountainside around me was covered in it. It felt like winter and, without even thinking about it, I found myself whistling ‘Winter Wonderland’. As I walked along, I could hear waterfalls but of course could see nothing.

After a couple of hours, I reached a small mountain village. I knew I was getting close to the cable car that would take me to the bottom. As I continued to hike, the trail took me downhill until I was out of the clouds and I could start seeing more around me. There were a several farms around me now along the way with sheep, horses, or cows. One farm had a “self service” sign selling cheese. I was curious and had to take a look. The sign pointed to a back door. I opened it and took a peak inside of the house where a refrigerator sat. The refrigerator was empty. I guess it wasn’t cheese season.

Passing through one last mountain village brought me to the last cable car station. This time, instead of hovering just above the ground like the last cable car, this one moved hundreds of feet off the ground out away from the cliffs as it descended. It was actually quite scary looking down and seeing how high I was. The station at the bottom had a little nature room highlighting some of the animals found it the area so I popped in to have a look around. Having hiked a few hours on the cliff-tops, I was now quite a ways from Lauterbrunnen and decided to take the bus back.

That night I walked to a restaurant downtown. I ordered a traditional Swiss dish of lamb sausage with rosti. Quite good. On my walk back to the hotel, I decided against going out that night. With all the hiking I did that day, I was worn out and got a good night’s sleep.

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I've always had the traveling itch, I just never knew how to scratch it. Finally, in March of 2015, I decided to take the plunge. This blog will chronicle my adventures and misadventures as I journey around the world.

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