Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Blur Mountain Hiker from Interlaken to Mürren

It’s all about the cheap thrills sometimes. Europe on a Shoestring may appeal to some adventurous people who wants to see Europe at all cost and others would shun it feeling its silly for traveling all the way to Paris and not paying the ticket fee to see the Mona Lisa. Still cheap thrills could still be enjoyable and helps fill in the gap between money spending attractions.

I fall into the “I love cheap thrills” category but will still spend money on attractions if I think it’s priceless. I have a very weird notion of priceless however, for going up the tallest mountain in Europe Jungfrau is not one of them but entering Borghese Gallery is.

That said, how could I not go up a mountain when I am in Switzerland? It’s almost nonsense to think that someone would go there and not been up one of its many ranging mountains. It is one of Switzerland selling points after all for tourism; Mountains and beautiful landscape scenery.

I decided to go for a hiking trip.

Start Of Journey
The hostel at Interlaken helped me plot a route with a hiking map which they dish out for free. Most of the route was more meant for summer periods but are still doable during the mid-October season when I was there. My final target was Mürren where I could pay the lesser evil fee to take a cable car up to Schilthorn Peak. Checking the map some stops were marked for eateries where I could go for lunch or tea break.

Road Walk

I started my journey late into the morning and decided to ignore the advice given of taking the train to Lauterbrunnen before kicking into the hiking trial. I walked instead to the Lauterbrunnen which took about two hours which was cool and quiet. Passed by many cow farms and said a few hello’s to the local farmers. I was definitely out of place being Asian but people were friendly enough.

End of road walk and into the hiking trail. What I did not know at that point in time was that trails were divided into difficulty where if you see markers on trees bearing colors stripes in this order:

Top-White – Mid Red– Btm White

It was meant for Mountain Trails. I later found out the recommended requirement to go on those trials which was proper hiking boots, physically fit and a good knowledge of dangers of mountain hiking.

Start of the Hiking Trail
Starting the trail was surreal. Previous walking along the turf road was gone and all I could see was a dirt path and a sign post pointing the start point of the trail. I started off thinking there would be a rest place just round the corner according to the map where I could grab lunch. It was a steep initial hike and I could see the town becoming smaller with every pause I took to look around.
Junction …. Left or right?  With no sign post but only dirt trail to lead the way, I consulted my trusty compass app downloaded into my smart phone before the start of travels. Base on map it was easy to gauge my bearings and turn left into the direction of Mürren. The town below was disappearing quickly and tree lines were changing an obvious sign of how high I was hiking.
Interlaken 547 above sea level
Mürren     1400 above sea level
Town Got Very Small
Lunch time came as pass and it was about 2 pm and I still could not locate the rest place. I never did manage to locate the place in the end, meaning I had no lunch that day. My paranoid of getting stranded with no food since Greece was the only thing that saved me. I had developed a ritual of carrying a big chocolate bar and a bottle of water regardless where I went. The chocolate was ration very slowly only a few bites every half hour to keep me going and water drank directly from the rivers I came across.

After nearly 6 hours after I first started from Interlaken ( 3 hours Hiking ) I was starting to wonder if I was lost. The journey was beautiful, totally secluded but I was starting to worry I wont be able to get back before dark and my rations was running out too. To note I had not even seen a single soul since I ventured into the hiking trail.

Waterfall along Hiking Trail
To head back means 3 hours of hike and the idea of the town should be near by now kept me on the trail. An hour later I heard noises …. Oh Shit …. Wild animal ??? There was nothing I could do but continue on walking as quietly as possible. Turning a corner I saw …..

A Fellow Hiker

First soul I saw in 4 hours into the trial. I asked him if the town was up ahead and he said yes. About an hour hike he said. That was my last few hour of sunlight too I saw. With the new assurance I was no longer lost I made my journey to the town Mürren. I reach the town nearly 5 pm in the evening and the sun was setting very low. I walk around trying to find the main road or any transportation that would bring me back to Interlaken.

To my horror this was a town where no cars could come up because there was no road wide enough. No public transportation. It took me nearly 10 hours to get here and I was worried about tracking back at night. More question asking for help while eyeing the emergency hotels around that I knew would cut deep into my budget. To my relief there was a cable car station going down to another town not in the map where I could get a bus and a train back to the hostel.

As I waited for the cable car to arrive I was smiling to myself. Mini adventure completed but not successful as I was too late to ride the cable car up to the peak of Schilthorn.

Cheap Thrills …

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