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BEERMAN
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Joined: 06/02/11
Posts: 2529
Loc: VIRGINIA
Bella Vita-Das gute Leben Part 2
      #1751048 - 11/03/17 09:25 PM (108.45.108.124)

Even with the time change and long travel day the day prior our internal clocks said WAKE UP you've got a train to catch! It was 0600 and still dark outside. Honestly we could have stayed in our comfortably warm bed a couple more hours, but the first train up to Gornergrat was leaving at 0700 and we wanted to be on it! We were a 15 minute walk away from the stazione, so we layered up in our clothing and put a few things in our smaller backpacks. We bought some food at the COOP and a local bakery the night before so we didn't mind missing the 0700 opening of our hotels breakfast. Actually when we told the manager what our plans were he automatically took off the cost of our breakfast, 30 francs nice! Double checked our gear and off we went into the darkness!

The Gornergrat Bahn is the highest open air cog railway in Europe and from Zermatt it climbed over 4800 feet in just 30 minutes, so steep at times it pushed us firmly back into our seats! We spent our time on the train talking with a Swiss gentleman who was on a solo day trip to take some photos of the sunrise. He actually went to High School in Michigan, attended College in California and lived a short time in Florida, ha! His wife is a US citizen from Puerto Rico and of course we talked about the hurricane relief efforts, we always have the islands on our mind. As we stepped off the train at 10,134 feet all of our fellow early risers dashed everywhere with cameras and tripods to set up for the sunrise. It was a crisp dry 28 degrees on this rocky ridge in this southern Swiss canton of Valais. Once the sun started to turn the skies blue the Matterhorn appeared in all her glory standing at 14,692 feet. Gorner Glacier, the 2nd largest glacier in the Alps, was just a stones throw away also, very cool.








There wasn't a cloud in the sky and one by one the dozens of mountain tops began to glow orange at their peaks, revealing a priceless panoramic view of the Italian, French and of course the Swiss Alps. Gornergrat Kulm Hotel is located at the observatory and is very cool. I saw vacancies there when I was searching for lodging, but thought we would have more daytime walking options in the valley. They actually have nice stores with CHEAPER sunglasses and a wonderful restaurant... hmmm next time Gornergrat! The weather was unseasonably warm, we saw a temperature change of probably 30 degrees during the course of the day.




















Our train had a few dozen people on board, but they disappeared and we felt like we had the place to ourselves. We did grab a nice cup of coffee and tea at the restaurant but we wanted to beat the next train load of people so we began our decent. We hiked along narrow trails occasionally covered in a little ice, thank god for hiking poles (TomB). The weather was unseasonably warm and there wasn't any snow at our elevation, conditions were perfect. The trail signs estimated a 3 hour hike to our destination at Sunnegga, but with photo ops and a lunch break it was closer to 5 hours. Most of the hike was downhill descending almost 3000 feet passing over and through lush alpine forests and around beautiful glacier lakes. Only saw 6 other people on the hike down, 2 guys were actually running up the trail at a very aggressive pace, which I mentioned was an elevation change of 3000 FEET! they win the prize for best all around effort!! The air was so crisp and fresh we felt like a million bucks! We had to remember not to keep looking at our feet as we hiked down because we were in the most outstanding panoramic location I've ever been in, 360 degrees of wonderfulness!!!












There's a 5 Seenweg (5 lakes) walk that we wanted to do, but unfortunately or fortunately the tram to Blauhard was closed for the season so we started from Gornergrat, which we wouldn't have seen had Blauhard been open. We saw 3 of the 5 lakes on our hike and they were all truly a sight to see, I can't describe the colors in words seriously. We'll have to plan to go back and see the 2 lakes we left off!!




























Donna is in much better shape than me, however once I saw the finish line in the distance and I knew there may be BEER there, my steps grew strong and steady and I passed her like the wind!! I think I have one photo that actually has me ahead of her, rare occurrence! Once at Sunnegga I asked an older couple walking by where the nearest beer was, they laughed and said in a thick German accent "three minutes away!" In a huff I said Danke! I could hear the wife laughing about my question as we made our final ascent! There were no facilities since we started our hike 5 hours prior, so we were so happy to see a beautiful restaurant at the top of the stairs where we rewarded ourselves with cold beer and some sort of strudel. Ahhh, we accomplished something today! We were so fortunate to experience perfect weather, however this southern part of the Swiss Alps has consistently clear dry weather most of the time! From Sunnegga we gladly climbed aboard a funicular for our final 1800 foot descent back to the valley in Zermatt. This was most certainly a day hike to remember, forever!!!











To be continued....Cheers!


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TomB
Traveler


Joined: 04/02/02
Posts: 2457
Loc: Virginia wishing STJ
Re: Bella Vita-Das gute Leben Part 2 [Re: BEERMAN]
      #1751063 - 11/04/17 08:59 AM (74.214.39.192)

Sunrises are so much prettier than sunsets for me. Love the mountain shots at sunrise.

Are you carrying a tripod, finding folks to snap the shots, or using a rock or fence and your timer to capture the shots of both of you?

Drunk Bay rock statue a Beerman creation, or a trail marker?

So many questions...

Really like the last B/W photos for the ending in the posts - nice touch.

--------------------
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” - Emerson


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LBI2SXM
Traveler


Joined: 06/02/08
Posts: 2129
Re: Bella Vita-Das gute Leben Part 2 [Re: TomB]
      #1751095 - 11/04/17 02:56 PM (73.112.165.173)

Beautiful sunrises!!!

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BEERMAN
Traveler


Joined: 06/02/11
Posts: 2529
Loc: VIRGINIA
Re: Bella Vita-Das gute Leben Part 2 [Re: TomB]
      #1751164 - 11/05/17 03:59 PM (108.45.108.124)

Tom, I bought a sturdy light weight Monfrotto tripod 2.5lbs for this trip, nice to have there. Rock stacking is Donna's thing!

Thanks LBI2SXM, and yes they were!



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