After my first day of hiking, I woke up incredibly sore, but eager to get started on the next hike! For day two, I went to the other side of the valley to do an easier hike while facing the Swiss alps.
This path was flat and wide, and a lot more populous than the one from the day before; but, my sore legs welcomed the nice change.
(rock stacks made by fellow hikers)
Throughout the hike I had an amazing view of the valley and village below, and the main peaks–Finsteraarhorn, Jungrau, Eiger–in front of me.
(Jungfrau and Eiger behind me)
I walked by a very sweet older couple taking pictures of each other, so I offered to take one of both of them and they returned the favor with one of me.
My plan was to hike towards Jungfrau and then hop onto the train that takes you through the mountain and to the top. After the easy flat walk to one village, I was eager to keep walking so I started another hike up the mountain towards the last stop to get on the train to Jungfrau.
(lake along the path)
This walk to the train station was a lot harder and very steep in some places, but it was fun to have the challenge, not to mention the great views it offered of the valley below.
(valley below Jungfrau)
Once on, the train takes you into the mountain and stops twice along at viewpoints from within the mountain.
(view of glacier field from inside the mountain)
At each stop the train staff would tell everyone that we had five minutes to take pictures, and immediately the entire train would disembark and make a mad dash to the windows. I was too sore to participate in the frenzy if I wanted to, so I walked slowly and made it to the windows after everyone was already back on the train, well in advance of the deadline.
(View of mountain peak from the glacier)
Once at the peak there are a number of activities to do, and I wandered around until I came out on the glacier. There was one hike path up to the top of one of the glacier’s sides, so I started on this journey, hoping for a view to make my hike worth it.
(crack in glacier)
After about ten minutes of walking up the glacier, I was exhausted and ready to turn around. My legs were so incredibly sore I could hardly walk, and going uphill on the glacier was a very slow and painful process; for each step I took, my feet would slide back in the snow and I hardly gained any distance.
(ridge at the top of the hike)
At one point I was so exhausted and ready to quit, and I wasn’t even sure if the other side of the ridge had a view that would make the hike worth the effort. So, I stopped a girl who was on her way down and asked her if the view was worth hiking for, hoping she would say no so I could turn around without feeling bad. Unfortunately, she didn’t give me an easy out, but encouraged me to continue up to the top.
(Photo evidence I made it to the top)
Not long after I finally reached the ridge, and although the view wasn’t amazing–everything here is beautiful, but in comparison to everything else, it wasn’t spectacular–I was happy that I persevered to the top.
(hike down from ridge, valley is visible through the peaks)
Hiking down the glacier certainly is easier than up, but it still was fairly exhausting and I felt like I could barely take another step. My desperation peaked when I tied my rain slicker around my waist and tried to ride it down like a sled; unfortunately, this attempt to cheat the hike only succeeded in making me look ridiculous and I had to walk the rest of the way down.
(view of glacier field)
After hiking the glacier–and getting a horrible sunglasses burn–I went up to the observatory on the peak, and then took the train back down the mountain, making it back just in time for my train to Zurich.
My dad and I spent the night in Zurich and caught a morning flight to Barcelona (we went Barcelona instead of Collioure because it cut out some travel time). I am still recovering from my hikes–I can almost walk without a limp–so we have just been lazing around the hotel and the beach the past few days.
(View of Jungrau mountain from the valley and cows crossing the train tracks)
I am also enjoying walking around with my camera away, not looking at sights, and pretending like I’m not a tourist. So far I’ve actually gotten to use a lot of Spanish which is so much fun! My cab driver today even said the I spoke very well–best moment of my life, next to hiking in the Swiss Alps, of course.