Aug 22, 2017 - 11:24 AM
We left Bellinzona for Kandersteg via Goshenen, Andermatt, and Brig. We felt like we had come home again to the swiss part of Switzerland. Our stay at the Bernerhof Swiss Hotel was a delight...tea at 4, room with a balcony view toward the mountains. Gerhard and Claudia love their hotel and work incredibly well as a team.
We took off on a 10 minute walk to the foot of the Oeschinensee gondola. It became mistier and mistier as we drew closer to the lake (about a 1/2 hour walk down from the top of the gondola). LARGE cows. Waterfalls all around. Due to the rain, at least that was my excuse, we opted to take the bus back up to the gondola (10CH) and headed back down to Kandersteg.
We explored the town and found the Klettersteg that a friend would be doing a month later. Also found another pizza place. In Pontresina we found a pizza that we liked and tried to see if we could replicate the exact ingredients in other villages. It made for an enjoyable and affordable dinner with a glass of swiss wine.
Next morning we were up early for our longest day of hiking. We took the train to Brig, another train to Leuk, then a bus up the hill to Leukerbad. We walked through the old town to the Gemmi Pass Gondola. As we rose up the mountain we could see the old path (where they had to blindfold people in order to get them over the pass it was so steep); the famous Klettersteg/via ferrata...with vertical ladders, horizontal rope climbs and just a load of fun; and the top of the pass where you may see the Matterhorn and Mt. Blanc. There were large clouds playing hide and seek with the mountain peaks so we are not sure if we saw them or not.
We hiked down from the pass to the Daubensee (very low gradient down, lots of wildflowers, and gorgeous views of the mountains). We heard many, many cow bells, saw sheep and goats. And truly didn't see hardly any other people. About 2/3 of the way down is the hotel/restaurant Schwarenbach...we had a raspberry torte. We reached the Sunnbuhl gondola down to Kandersteg after about 4 hours of walking. On the way down the gondola ride we looked to the right and saw an incredibly green valley with water pouring right out of the rock walls. Gasterntal - we decided we would see if we could get to it.
At the base of the Sunnbuhl, across the back parking lot, is a sign for a "Wanderweg". The path goes up alongside a powerful waterfall. We hoped the top of it would connect to that gorgeous valley. Across a stone bridge and along a dusty narrow "road" that at some times of the day goes one-way up, and other times of the day, one-way down, we found the valley. It was so beautiful we just kept walking along the gravel road deeper in..."just a little further, please..." A post bus passed us every 1/2 hour or so, so we thought if we got tired we would just beg a ride. When we finally decided to head back, the bus came and it was full....so our little Gemmi Pass hike turned into a grand adventure...jogging down the one-way road to catch a bus back to the center of Kandersteg to our hotel. It felt so good to sit down and eat a nice dinner at the hotel.