Monday, August 15, 2016

The Matterhorn really is impressive

One of the great things of living in Switzerland is that you don’t have to go far to see the Alps.  I can actually see them from my balcony at home. However, you do have to get on a train or rent a car is you want to see the really cool mountains close up.  

This weekend’s conquest was the Matterhorn.

With an elevation of 4,478 meters and a prominence of 1,040 meters, the Matterhorn is one of those mountains that are unmistakable – and they always are covered in snow even in the middle of the summer.  

To get there, you head to Zermatt, and then the fun begins. 

During ski season, naturally, skiing is the thing to do, but in the summer, Zermatt is still pretty busy.  There are numerous hiking trails to pick from.  In fact, there are over 400 km of marked trails around the area. 

I admit some of the trails are a little intense though, as you could be walking straight up a mountain (great glute workout) and down again (not fun for the knees).  Others are more flat and will lead you through the valley, which is amazing in the summer as it’s full of wild flowers. 

What will amaze you though is that even if you are dying while walking up a steep path, some old couple in their 80s will pass you with their little walking sticks and knapsack full of cheese, bread and wine for their picnic at the top.  Swiss genes are truly amazing.

If you are more adventurous, another way to see the area is to hike hut-to-hut.  I haven’t done this yet, but maybe one day.  

All over Switzerland, you’ll see these little huts/houses in the middle of no where.  Some have running water; some don’t.  Basically, you hike all day, spend the night in one of these huts, and then continue hiking in the morning.  I think it’s a pretty civilized way to camp – and you don’t have to lug a tent with you. 

The good news is that it doesn’t matter which trail you pick, you won’t be able to miss the Matterhorn.  Its majestic peak is high above the others.