Monday, July 27, 2009
The Bürgenstock Felsenweg Hike. So easy, you could do it in flip flops!
To justify buying expensive Salomon hiking boots this weekend, I had to go on a hike. So I read Lonely Planet's Walking in Switzerland book in order to find a hike rated "easy".
No, I'm not a wimp. Only an experienced judge of my ability as it relates to the author's. Based on my last experience with this book, I wasn't going to choose anything rated even "easy-medium". Because the 5 Lakes Hike, rated "easy-medium" by the book, turned out to be so challenging, that I almost didn't make it back to the cable car before it closed at 5.30 p.m.
Now I consider myself in good shape. I jog. I bike. I hike. I climb 500 stairs just to get to the path of one of my favorite jogging paths above Wettington. But all of this doesn't matter; every time I go to the Alps, they kick my butt.
This time was no exception. I chose the Bürgenstock Felsenweg hike, which is an "easy" and scenic hike along the side of a ridge overlooking Lake Lucerne. The first 30 minutes of the hike was easy and flat. But then my husband and I of course had to take a detour to ride the overpriced but facinating Hammetschwand-Lift (a crazy elevator that literally takes you 160 m further up the side of the mountain).
This lift cost 500 million Francs to build in 1905 and only the Swiss would spend that much for the novelty of proving they could do it.
But I digress. Since my husband and I paid a grand total of CHF 18 to ride for two minutes in this Swiss mountain elevator, we decided to hike down to Ennetbürgen from there instead of riding the elevator back down again. Either way, we'd end up in the same place--the Ennetbürgen Post bus stop.
This part of the hike was not easy. The terrain was steep. We walked through mud, wooded paths with lots of rocks and roots, and through steep grassy mountain fields that only resembled a path because of the red and white painted hiking sign and the narrow line of trampled grass. But once again, I was shown up by the Swiss, who found the hike so "easy" that they were doing it wearing flip flops, leather dress shoes, and ballet flats.
I almost felt foolish for wearing my new fancy hiking boots until I finally saw someone else wearing a similar pair. About to point her out to my husband, I looked up and realized this women must have been at least 80 years old. But still. It felt good to see I wasn't the only one who felt the trail warranted something other than what I would wear to the office.