Transitional Hiking

Well, it's been long gone for weeks now, but the summer (and early autumn) hiking season is officially over. Many mountain taverns closed shop at the end of October, tucked away in areas that will soon be buried in several feet of snow and possibly attacked by avalanches.

Starting in December, some of them will reopen during the ski season, while others won't welcome guests back until next spring. Luckily, there remain many opportunities for winter hiking, and some mountain Gasthäuser will continue to offer warm drinks and meals, especially those at the more prominent summits with cable cars (e.g. Säntis in Appenzellerland).

For now, in this transitional period, we can still go hiking among falling leaves and melting patches of snow, but the paths are deserted. The landscape appears to be in between seasons and so do our clothes. It's too warm to hike in our winter coats, but too cold to wear just a fleece. Also, we can't count on re-energizing with pommes frites, so we pack snacks and a picnic lunch. We head out late morning on a Saturday and take our time up the mountain, relishing the stillness. Once at the top, we find a wooden bench to enjoy our meal. It's never been so quiet.

We're back home with enough time to stop at the supermarket before it closes. We gather all the necesities for a lazy evening: ingredients for a pizza, Paprika chips, ice cream, and Coke. Just another quiet weekend at home near the Alps.

Here's my favorite subject posing in Malbun, Liechtenstein.

The snowy peak in the distance is Säntis.

I was too late capturing a funny Isaiah moment. In this shot, he's just slid down "the perfect hill for sledding" minus a sled. We didn't think to bring ours, but that didn't stop Isaiah from sliding down in his jeans.


  1. I know what you mean about the clothing problem. At least the leaves are beautiful right now! I hope to hike among them over the weekend.

  2. WInter hiking? Don't you get bogged down with all the layers you have to wear?

  3. Hiking is good fun almost any time of the year. Yes, layers help, but they don't need to be very thick as long as you wear the right material. I say get out there!

  4. Chantal - Agreed! The leaves are gorgeous. The bright yellow ones seem to glow!

    Fly Girl - Oh, yes. People here hike all year long. In designated winter hiking areas, they pack and groom the snow so that it's easy to walk on. Otherwise people tour the land wearing snowshoes. As for feeling bogged down, it's very similar to wearing ski gear. You get warm from all the moving around - I end up removing layers very quickly.

    Sight Seer - I tend to wear just two layers under my ski jacket: cotton undershirt and fleece. Is there a particular material that you recommend?


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