Monday, August 11, 2008

Die 5-Seen Wanderung

I chose to take the five-lake hike on Pizol because my hiking book said it was an easy-moderate hike with one of the most varying and beautiful changing panoramas in all of Switzerland. On the second point, it was very true, but the “easy-moderate” part is debatable. Maybe for the Swiss, this hike is easy. It’s obviously a very popular hike in Switzerland based on the fact that the entire five hours we hiked it was pretty much wall to wall people on the trail. Some were 75 years old. Some were 4. Some were dogs. And all were passing me up.

Now I consider myself to be in shape by American standards. I jog. I bike. I walk a lot. But this does not mean anything when it comes to ascending and descending mountain after mountain. While I was expecting a nice fairly flat walk along five lakes, what I got was a hike that included a steep and rocky trail that made you ascend and descend for every lake. It was one of the toughest hikes I’ve ever done. Today I am sore all over and have blisters on my feet.

Now I don’t mind being a slow hiker. I like to admire the views and take photos and I hike to relax. But this hike didn’t allow for much relaxing as I was competing against a Swiss clock.

Because the chair lift closed at 5pm and we were in Switzerland we knew there would be no sympathy for showing up after closing time. After we’d been hiking for about 2 hours we came upon a hiking sign that informed us we still had 3 hours of hiking to go before reaching the chair lift. And it was 2pm.

So we raced up the next ascent, panting and dizzy by the top. And we made it in the exact allotted time that the sign said for that section. Great. We continued at a rather crazy (but normal Swiss) pace for the entire remaining 2 hours and am proud to say we made it to the chair lift before 4.30pm so we did not end up sleeping on a mountain top that still had snow in August. But I won’t say it wasn’t without pain.

We were so exhausted that we treated ourselves to a beer in the restaurant car on the train ride home. I've never tasted anything so good.


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