Hello Forum folks,
Day 13: Well, first things first. No, not breakfast, but out to see the sunrise. The peacefulness at 7000 feet at 0645 is hard to describe. Cool, quiet, just simply awesome. Seeing the sunrise, with a little bit of haziness, was as good as it gets. Climbing up to the high point, about a 7-10 minute climb, was well worth getting up early for. The lakes below, the silhouettes of the surrounding mountains, just before the sun comes over the horizon, again just awesome. Seeing the folks from the night before, many people having the same intentions of seeing the sun come up over towards Mt. Rigi was absolutely beautiful. On the other side of one of the thick, cobblestone wall was an antelope, (or whatever animal that lives in the mountains, not sure) just hanging out at 7000 feet looking for something to eat, grazing, or maybe just enjoying the cool early morning weather that we were. That too, was pretty neat to see. After the red rubber ball came over the horizon, and many pictures later, I decided to have some breakfast in the magnificent building that was my palace in the sky for a night.
After which, I checked-out, and then a brand-new adventure took place. What is said to be a half hour walk on the Flower Trail, took me probably over two and a quarter-hours. Lots to see on this rugged trail through, around and up, higher and higher I want to get to the summit. I didn’t think there was this much left up there. After a while, the paved part ends and then one is walking over/on rock. No two steps are the same. There is a railing to mark the trail and that is it. Very interesting. I’m glad I continued to the end and have some good pictures on the top of this side of Pilatus. The final ascent is going up a ridge, with a path and railing on one side of it and just air on the other side, that one doesn’t realize until on the top. Great photo op. Once again, the weather was phenomenal. With Luzern, the different parts of the lake, Mt. Rigi, all in the distance. I was able to see the Stanserhorn in all its glory, which I tried to do twice, to no avail. Going down was a bit more difficult, since I wanted to be careful not to turn an ankle and ruin a great trip. So, I took my time returning the Kulm, and just didn’t expect to be on the mountain for this long, but it was a lot of fun. I guess I made my way back down the cog railway to Alpnachtstad about 1400 hrs. or so, where I had a hot dog at a little café across from the Pilatusbahn. Then, back to Luzern, where I did some last-minute walking around before collecting my big bag from the locker and heading to Zurich for my last night in Switzerland. I was amazed how much café’s and such there were in Zurich when I walked around in the area across from the train station. Wow. What choices one has there. After a few cocktails and some food, I called it a night.
Day 14: Homeward bound. What a fantastic trip!!!
If anyone out there does stay on the Pilatus, I strongly recommend putting your bags in a locker at the train station. Take a nap-sack, as I did, and it gave me so much more freedom to hike after I checked-out. I wasn’t saddled with the burden of the big bag and could do other things if I wanted to.
The highlights of my trip were the Gornergrat, and the night spent on the Pilatus. Again, highly recommended for anyone who has the time or desire to include in their itinerary. The panoramic trains were also nice, and I’m glad I did them, but the regular trains are on the same tracks and the scenery will be the same. I’m glad I did the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, but I also wished I’d spent more time in some places like Lugano, and Montreux. But I can do this on my next trip. I just have to plan an itinerary for that which has already started in Zermatt. I will fill in the rest over the next year and take it from there. It is amazing to me how much I wanted to see while making my plans, and how much I just ran out of time for. Just so much to see. Have fun folks!