Monday, July 18, 2016

Day 8: Murren

Day 8:  Murren  

Where the hike you see a trail?

Weather:  Clear and cool all day, reaching 65 in afternoon
From last night: alpenglow and a near full moon

Stats of the day: 9 miles hiking, over 5 hours on the trail and some monster number of steps 

QOTD: this chorus should tell you the source of half of the QOTDs

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I´ll sing once more
Today arrives clear and cool, the mountains are majestic outside our window.

Breakfast buffet, and THB has the usual: cereal with yogurt and toast and jam, with some decaf and hot milk, included.

Co-organizer B explaining the day

SC decides to stay behind and take a day off from strenuous hiking; turns out to be a good move on her part!!
Start at 8700' and work our way back to 5300'

Bad shoes

Just shoes

The view west from Birg

N getting ready for group photo atop a steel grate with a long drop off below

Schilthorn, another 1,000' feet up from Birg...we're NOT going there

The ridge we are going to, our first noticeable landmark between Birg and the hut for lunch

Is this the trailhead, asks Trail Head Bob

So, seven of us are doing a local hike, taking a tram from Murren to Birg and then hiking laterally to a hut for lunch and then turning back towards Murren. There’s even discussion of how we will slow down so we’re not at the hut too early for lunch. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, the joys of such early folly.
THB is pretty sure this is not the trail head

Very sure

Two minutes into the hike and THB is five minutes behind

T swears he has the right shoes on for this part of the hike

T may be the only one so stating

The tram is at the far end of Murren, an easy stroll. Our 6 day passes get us a half price discount, so our tickets are only $13 (and we're buying one-way tickets). The tram clerk must be having a bad day: when each of us purchase tickets she advises us that we must have good shoes if we plan to hike from Birg. Before we get on the tram, she has to come out from behind the counter and spies T and his “bad” shoes; this makes for a humorous and ominous start to the hike.
Seems right...what other way can there be?

The reassuring trail marker

That's a trail heading down? A stream? Doesn't matter,  we're heading to the right

Tram to Birg and pretty much the entire tram races to catch the connecting tram to Schilthorn, another monster mountain. We’re getting off at around 8700 feet, and spend quite a bit of time looking for the trail head (or, as TH Bob likes to say: the hardest part of the hike is finding the trai lhead…except today it turns out that no matter how hard finding the trail head is, the trail is even tougher).

How hard was finding the trail head? JW and G had a hell of a time: Pic repeated for emphasis
They appear to have forgotten their rope and carabiners 

THB is going to show a pic from where the ridge pictured above (we got there after about 2 hours) back to where we started…can you see the trail? It’s not obvious.
The tram stop is atop the rocks at top
It wasn’t all hardship! JW and G took a break after about 30 minutes (THB is no longer up to jumping in every body of water when on the road):

JW in the pond, G getting ready to join him, B taking pic

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (outside temp is a balmy 50, sunny with no wind) and T appears to trying to get a wifi connection

However, it wasn’t easy with much of the footing insecure, and there were even a few sections that had cable running alongside or required some skirting of large boulders. Interspersed were some terrific prime-time wildflowers (we’re very high and the recent snows have brought out the best in these meadows and hillsides).

At 12:20, we’ve traversed the lateral portion of the hike and headed down to the point at which we can go slightly upwards and away from Murren to a hut for lunch or turn towards Murren and survive on the food we’ve been carrying. THB is outvoted and we head 20 minutes to Rotstockhutte.
Welcome cable

Decision point: lunch at the hut or on the trail

The hut it is

Lunch is off to a great start: two rhubarb tart wedges and one of apple (yes, we started lunch with dessert!) that are fabulous (a bit like Betty’s soufflé pancakes)…argghhhh, they are gone before THB can get pics. THB and DB have pork sausages mit bread and share beer and water. Several others order roesti with egg (and thus THB gets some roesti as well), salads, and goulash. B&G graciously treat today.

Tight quarters for overnight guests

What should every self-respecting hut offer?
A stamp!!!!!!!!! (THB put his on the back of the tram ticket)

A little over an hour and we’re re-traversing the last 20 minutes of the hike before lunch and heading towards Murren. In this direction we’re getting the awesome views like yesterday: the Jungfrau followed by Monch and the Eiger appear above deep green meadows. Plus a ton of cows grazing (with cow bells a’ringing), sometimes impeding our progress.

It’s a long haul back, and by 4pm (and still on the trail) THB and DB have decided we will eat in our room (with the shabby view of the Eiger and Monch) for dinner rather than join the group in another slow (and pleasant) Swiss food (iffy) indoor (no view) meal.  The day has been long, treacherous in a  few spots, and full of the beauty of the region, very full on the second half of the hike when we didn't need to focus on our feet quite so much! Even staring at your feet has it rewards in a chance glance at a spectacular wildflower. Or, in T's case, a pair of bad shoes.

Back at 5pm to shower and veg out for a while; around 6, the hotel  delivers a half carafe of wine, a half-liter of draft beer (can anyone really drink a liter?), and make a dent on the cheese and chocolate we bought in Zurich along with the crackers from Murren and almonds from E-ville. Price for this meal will be supplied upon check-out. 







A non-Connery Bond film to place here

Another shot: where is the trail?


  1. Simply incredible! Thank you for such great pics!

  2. Beautiful photos. Loved the mountains. . Did you go hang gliding ?

    1. So, there was a discussion about facing one's fears...and one way to do that was go on a tandem jump. THB decided he was totally comfortable with his fears, no need to push them away (that far away)

    2. So, there was a discussion about facing one's fears...and one way to do that was go on a tandem jump. THB decided he was totally comfortable with his fears, no need to push them away (that far away)