A Long Hike

As if watching an eighty-year-old pass me up on any given Wanderweg, with vigor might I add, weren't enough of a blow to my ego, the extreme pain I experienced after a recent all-day hike (four hours up and four hours down, more or less) reminded me that I am not in shape. Loud and clear. The day after our hike, I was whincing with each step I took down the stairs in our building. Although I may look fit, I must be far from it according to Swiss Bergweg standards. (This was my first time seeing signage other than the usual yellow and black. Does anyone know what constitutes a Bergweg versus a Wanderweg? It can't just be a mountain versus valley thing because I've seen the yellow signs up in the mountains too, so where do they draw the line?)

A couple of weeks ago, Isaiah set out to lead us to Hoher Kasten. The most popular way to access the peak is from the Appenzeller side. You can take the cable car up and hike back down. You can also access the peak from the Rhine Valley side, which was more convenient for us. Isaiah used Google maps to locate an access road that could take us up the mountain by car as much as possible, and then we hiked the rest of the way. The way up was indeed tough, but manageable. The way back down is quite another story. The views, however, were spectacular. I have to admit they were worth all the effort.

View of Säntis on our way up to Hoher Kasten

Hoher Kasten - so close, yet still some rather rugged terrain away...

Finally at the top!

After fueling up on pommes frites at the Drehrestaurant, we set back down. It didn't take long for me to realize that it was very likely I might not make it back to the car. I thought my legs were going to fall off. At some point I couldn't feel them any longer and rejected Isaiah's offer to stop for a break.

"If I stop and sit for a minute, there's a good chance I won't get back up, ever. So we should just keep going."

You won't ever hear me say "it hurts so good" in reference to hiking pains. Nope, never.

Luckily, Hoher Kasten is now covered with snow, so it looks like we won't be going back there until springtime, if ever. (As an added bonus, now when I ride my bike to Migros, I can see its snowcapped peak in the distance, beautifully contrasted with the green valley below.) So what's next on the list of physically-trying adventures? Snowboarding, of course! Maybe this year I won't be such a wimp about the ski lifts...

Looking down into the Rhine Valley

The Appenzeller side, with the Sämbtiser-See in the distance


  1. Wow, an 8-hour hike? That's enough to conquer the best of us! Congrats! Usually a red and white sign mean that it's a more challenging, steep, and rocky path (mountain path) so if you did that, whew, I'm impressed!

  2. Thanks - but you shouldn't be too impressed. I imagine that the Swiss who do this sort of hike with more regularity actually get it done in half the time it took me. Also, we didn't take the Bergweg the entire way. We mostly used the paved bike/car access path (smoother surfaces are better for my ankle that is still not 100% better). I am proud of myself for surviving and finishing, though. :)


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