A Hikin’ Good Time

Posted on July 11th, 2019 by

Our trek up the mountain. You can see the glacier we were hiking towards in the right of the image.

We woke up on Thursday morning to a standard, but yummy, breakfast of fresh bread, yogurt and some good Switzerland cheeses. With full bellies, we set out to town to catch the gondola for a hike. This was the oldest gondola in Grindelwald, complete with polka music playing in the gondola on our way up. We began our hike, with the goal of reaching a mountain hut for lunch. One of the most exciting parts of our ascent was a close-up encounter with some sheep. At one point, there was even a couple of sheep on the path we were hiking on, and a few people were able to touch the sheep and feed them grass. After about an hour and a half of a moderate uphill, we reached the hut and decided to continue on further and stop for lunch on the way back down. We took a break soon after for a snack with a great view, before continuing onward. The trail then got much steeper, and we eventually reached an area where we could see both the upper and lower portions of the Unterer Grindelwaldgletscher. The Unterer glacier has rapidly receded in recent years; in the past, this glacier extended all the way to the town of Grindelwald and the entire valley was filled by ice up to 300 meters thick! We were blown away by how much smaller the glacier is now, and the fact that we had to take a gondola and hike several miles up the mountain to even be able to see both parts of the glacier, when previously the glacier was very prominent in the town of Grindelwald.

Professor Jeff enjoying the glacier views.

Our sheep friends we made on the hike.

After enjoying the view for a while and taking a glacier pop-quiz by Jeff, we turned back for lunch. We arrived back at the mountain hut and took our seats on the patio. There was a variety of foods ordered by the group. Some ordered sausages with soup and bread, while the others ordered hashbrowns with eggs and bacon. One brave student ordered an interesting meal that consisted of bread smothered in cheese and ham. Everyone seemed to really enjoy this meal, and the gorgeous view surrounding us was a bonus. We tried a variety of desserts and indulged in different kinds of dark chocolate. With full bellies we began our descent. Going down took significantly less time, as all of it was downhill.

A view of the Unterer glacier and a glacial lake along our hike.

After our hike, we took the gondola down, along with at least 10 other people that were not a part of our group. The gondola was very full. We trekked back up to our hostel and are planning a pretty low-key night in preparation for an early morning train ride to tour a nearby hydroelectric plant. We are hoping to watch a movie about the climbing of one of the faces of the Eiger glacier after dinner at the hostel.

 

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