I am going to start today’s journal post with a joyous moment. On our way to Kinhutte we saw Ibex right across the hill from us and were able to take some photos.
Shirley and I were so excited. We were thinking that this was going to be a great day.
Our day actually started when we took the train to Tasch. We stopped in the information office and spoke to the first information agent that actually had accurate information for us. She was the 3rd person to tell us that this hike was going to be steep. She advised us to go to Kinhutte first before going to the new suspension bridge. She made a phone call to the train station to find out where we could store our luggage.
The taxi to Taschalp was only 10 CHF each. The taxi held about 10 people. The driver had to open a couple of gates on our way up to Tasch.
There were several of those old huts at Taschalp.
Shirley was the last person to get out of the taxi.
This ride up saved us 764 meters of walking. We stopped at the café for hot chocolate and treats. They were delicious.
The houses at Taschalp were typical of others we had seen with stone ovens on the outside of the house – probably to bake bread.
Here I am starting on our walk to Kinhutte. Little did we know what we were getting into today.
We walked up the path for a while and everything was pretty peaceful. Seeing the Ibex was such a thrill and we were having a great time. The elevation gain from Tashalp to Kinhutte was going to be 370 meters which is only about 1250 feet.
I took a photo of another mushroom on the trail
Little did we know that our trail was going to start going down first. Here is Shirley starting down the trail.
I thought the jagged hills were beautiful.
We still didn’t know what we were getting into as we were walking through the woods.
I loved the delicate needles on the trees.
Then it started. The trail became a bit rocky.
We came to a sign showing how we were going to be protected from the rocks.
But some of the protection had been knocked down – probably by rocks.
We went through tunnels…
..And made it through to the end.
Then the rocky part got seriously difficult. We were going up and down the rocks.
We took a few moments to look back at Tasch.
Some of the rocks had fallen all around a tree long ago.
We walked by very cool rock formations.
I had to cross over a tree trunk
We never expected to be going down so steeply
Or crossing places that were so close to the edge of a cliff. These ropes were supposed to protect us.
Shirley wasn’t too sure those timbers would protect us from falling over the edge.
I wasn’t either as I held on to the rope to pass them.
Shirley said, “F…K! What are we doing here. We had descended quite a bit and were back on the way up.
We looked ahead where the people who had passed us were walking. If you look at this photo right under the black on the rock, you may be able to see the trail.
At a couple of places the rope had even broken. We were thinking that we hoped nobody had fallen off at those places.
It was pretty scary coming around some of the edges.
It was about this time when I said, “I don’t know any friends besides you who you (except maybe Mary Riverstone Williams) who would be with me on this trail. Shirley said, “I don’t know why I am here either.
This next series of photos shows Shirley negotiating on of the difficult places on the trail.
This place was a bit easier than the last one.
That trail ahead of us did not look like much fun.
Shirley made it to the bridge…
…and across she went.
The water under the bridge was very pretty.
We came to the sign where we had to turn uphill to get to Kinhutte.
This is where the trail started really going up and up and up. We looked back down on the bridge and questioned our sanity.
It wasn’t just that we had to climb almost straight up, we didn’t know how we were going to get back down.
I am smiling but I am not too happy about going up hill so steeply. It was just the beginning.
Some of the rocks looked like they had been painted with silver paint. That gave us a bit of a distraction.
Although there weren’t many flowers along the path, photographing the ones I saw gave me a break in climbing uphill.
We climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and finally saw Kinhutte up in the distance. Both Shirley and I were very tired. More importantly we were wondering how we were ever going to negotiate this trail on the way down. That is what we were going to have to do in the morning.
We just had to keep going up the path.
Climbing up the rocks and the wooden steps were pretty exhausting. We just kept going and didn’t even take photos.
As we got closer and closer, Shirley looked ahead and much to our amazement and joy, she saw an Ibex sitting right on the trail ahead of us. It was hard to believe our eyes. We took photo after photo as we walked slowly (10 steps at a time) towards it. We just couldn’t believe how lucky we were. These are a few of the photos we took.
As we got too close, she walked away to the top of a rock.
And she looked right back at us.
We just couldn’t believe our luck. This incredible moment gave us just the amount of energy to make it the rest of the way even though we were both pretty freaked about the incredible trail we had just negotiated and would have to go down in the morning.
When we arrived at the Kinhutte, Shirley asked the owners about getting a helicopter to take us back down. Seriously, the trail up had been really hard. I didn’t even get photos of the last part before we saw the Ibex.
Before dinner Shirley sent a text to Eric with a photo of the Ibex. She wrote that she wanted to tell him that she loved him just in case we didn’t make it down from the Kinhutte. Eric responded with encouragement and detailed instructions on how to negotiate the trail on the way down.
There were 5 of us at the Kinhutte. There were two German guys and Fritz who had come to the hut from the other direction and had walked 8 hours to get there. Fritz showed me his topographical map which was much better than the map we had with us.
It turns out that we were only suppose to have a 350 meter climb all together today, but since we had hiked down so much, the elevation gain was much, much more than that. The last part (climbing to Kinhutte) was actually just about straight up. No wonder it was so scary.
Shirley and I had our own room. After dinner Shirley climbed into our silk liners and I went straight to bed at about 8:00 pm.
I got up at about 10:30 pm to use the bathroom and looked out the window. The moon was almost full and the Matterhorn was visible. It was very exciting.
When we woke up in the morning, we discovered that we again were extremely lucky people. There she was – in all her glory. How could we be so blessed.
I could hardly eat my breakfast because I just kept going outside to photograph her again.
Fritz left before us and when I noticed him down below us. He was carefully negotiating the steep slopes.
I knew he had almost made it to the ladder which would make it easier on him for a moment.
We got ready to go and as we descended I took one last photo of the beautiful Matterhorn. I am still just in awe of how incredibly lucky we are.
The Kinhutte was in the shadow but I did get a couple of photographs of it from below. It really was a beautiful place to stay.
Shirley negotiated herself around one of the more difficult places.
No wonder we were so nervous.
We got much lower and I looked back up at Kinhutte.
Had we really hiked up and down that far?
Here are some more photos of Shirley getting down the hill.
I finally found an Edelweiss although it was way past its prime. .
I had to stop to take a photo of the caterpillar and another flower.
We were doing a great job getting back down the incredibly difficult trail and were amazed at our skill in doing it. The mountains in the distance were spectacular.
Finally we were on the trail to the new suspension bridge. We had to go across the ridge that i had photographed yesterday.
Silly me to think that after we crossed the ridge, it was going to get easier. This is one of the first signs we passed.
This was going to be another amazing day of hiking for Shirley and me. The cliff edges were really close to us.
But the rocks were beautiful.
We had to go through another cave.
I made it all the way through the totally dark cave without using a flashlight. I actually prefer not having the light which only illuminates a couple of feet in front of my eyes.
There were more rock faces to negotiate.
Shirley was ahead of me.
She finally was able to turn around and take a photo of me.
We were pretty amazed at ourselves getting over these rock faces.
And then we came to a tree in the path.
We finally made it to the Europaweg Skywalk, also known as the Randa Suspension Bridge. This is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. It just opened July 29, 2017. It is the main reason we chose to do the hike up to Kinhutte. In hindsight, it was a bit crazy, but we are both glad that we did it. How else would we have seen Ibex and more views of the glorious Matterhorn.
This is a photo of the bridge I took from the web because it shows it from a distance. The bridge is 494 meters long.
We took off our packs at one end of the bridge and walked it both ways. Of course we took many, many photos.
The glaciers we saw from the bridge were breathtaking.
Looking down on the trees from the bridge was wonderful
The beginning of the trail down to Randa was pretty easy and then it became pretty steep. But it was nothing like what we had experienced yesterday and this morning. We are truly having an incredibly amazing experience.
I took one more photo of a dying flower on my way down. Just can’t help myself.
We finally arrived in Randa and had to walk through the town to get to the train.
We took the train back to Tasch and picked up our suitcases. Then we literally ran with them to catch the train back to Visp where we transferred to the train to Montreux. Our room has a view of Lake Geneva. We took a walk along the lake and had dinner. The sunset was not spectacular, but it was in Montreux, Switzerland.
We have been in Switzerland for 13 of our 27 days and it has already been a completely amazing vacation. We have been in the right place at the right time (both for seeing what we have seen and for meeting up with the people who have given us advice) over and over again. I cannot calculate how many meters/feet of elevation we have walked either up or down in the last 9 days of hiking and walking but it sure has been spectacular. If the vacation ended today, it will have been more full of adventure (an understatement) than we ever imagined. And we still have many more days to go.
Tomorrow will be a day of rest.