From skydiving to rocky mountain climbing

Wednesday, Nov. 10

There’s nothing like a hike through the Swiss Alps to gauge your fitness levels.

Matt and I are below par.

Apparently, two months of binging on cheap wine and pasta doesn’t do much for one’s endurance.

All those hot yoga classes, trips to the local gym and jogs by the Vedder River leading up to our September departure were distant memories today.

This morning, Matt and I suffered through a three-hour hike in the Alps. It was uphill and intense.

We took a four-minute bus ride from Interlaken to Wilderswil, followed by a mountain train to Lauterbrunnen.

Getting off the train was one of the most overwhelming sights of our trip. Lauterbrunnen is, without a doubt, the most beautiful place either of us has ever seen.

The village is nestled between the mountains, providing an amazing view right off the platform.

The sun was pouring down into the valley, illuminating a huge waterfall.

It was dangling over a cliff, spreading its mist over the village. With the bottom hidden, it appeared to be flooding the valley, which is full of wooden cabins.

With that image, we followed our tiny signs to our tiny trail.

We could hear the bells of the local church and nothing else. (Well, besides my huffing, puffing and constant inhaling of snot.)

The trail was empty for the entire hike.

It’s probably a good thing. I think the Swiss would have laughed if they saw us having to push down on our knees to lift ourselves over the rocks and rugged staircases.

The map never helped us, but we still took plenty of breaks to check it anyway.

We eventually stopped for lunch at a randomly placed log cabin, equipped with a picnic table and fire pit.

A few minutes later we stumbled upon the view we’d been waiting for.

In the middle of a clearing, marked with tire tracks from local mountain bikers, we could see about seven of the closest mountains. They were huge, snow capped and had clouds hovering around their tips.

After that, it was random glimpses of the Alps that kept us going.

We finally reached Murren, the village at the top.

It was empty.

The smaller areas don’t re-open until mid-December for high season. We’re here during the in-between.

It was a little spooky, so we kept on going.

We walked another hour, down to the bottom of the mountain towards another small village, Gimmelwald, to catch a tram to Stechelberg. From there, we were supposed to take a bus back to Interlaken.

It even started snowing on our downhill journey.

Long story short – nothing was running, so we hopped in some guys van, which is considered the local bus, to get back to the top.

He took the exact route we had just walked down, but charged us $6 each.

It was a long and tiring day. We hiked from 796 metres to 1,645 metres and back down to 910 metres.

Needless to say, we celebrated with some cheap wine and pasta.

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