Lots of new hikes this summer

Old Aug 25th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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Lots of new hikes this summer

Hi everyone, we did a lot of hiking this summer...some great trails in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, NC, Tenn,SC,Virginia, and Georgia. I have trip reports and pictures from each one on our website www.naturalbornhikers.com to find the most recent hikes click this link http://www.naturalbornhikers.com/Mos...ecenthikes.htm
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Old Aug 25th, 2006, 11:33 AM
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Nice site, good pics. We love hiking, too, and had an awesome two weeks hiking Switzerland. Haven't seen that on your page, I strongly recommend it!
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Old Aug 26th, 2006, 07:10 PM
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Hi, thanks! Yeah, Switzerland will be a dream come true! It is on the list for sure! What was your favorite route?
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Old Aug 27th, 2006, 06:42 AM
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Velo, here's my trip report from June.
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2

We contacted the Val D'Anniviers tourism office, they provided the luggage transport, lodging, transfers and maps. It was awesome and the people were so nice. We went in mid June; I highly recommend that, though some of the ultra high routes may have snow. Still, it's quiet. Now, we are looking at Scotland and France for next year. We also like hiking in N California.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 11:10 AM
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Wow! Loved your slide show! I have printed out your report for future reference...looked like an incredible trip. Thanks for sharing
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 11:14 AM
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What did I do wrong, Linda? (it's the kind of day I'm having!) When I click on your link, I go to the current Europe forum.

Great site, Velodurt. We're going to Yellowstone in a few weeks. Really enjoying your trail coverage.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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I don't know Bayou Girl. Must be Fodors??? GASP! Here, I'll post it again.

Last year, we visited Switzerland and based our trip in medium sized towns. This time, we wanted to experience the real people and culture, and to see the amazing country by foot as much as possible. We designed a trip that included many villages in the Engadine and took advantage of an offer from the Val D'Anniviers tourism office in which we paid one price to hike to the villages with luggage transfers, staying in three star hotels with full board. We were given hiking maps and suggestions for trails as well. All the hotels I mention in this report have been individually reviewed by me on www.tripadvisor.com under the screen name LLindaC. Our pictures from the trip are available at:

http://llindac.myphotoalbum.com/slid...umName=album01
Be sure to place cursor on picture to get the description.

The Upper Engadine is a beautiful area unspoiled by hordes of tourists in June. It is also devoid of the graffiti on buildings and the traffic that you experience in larger towns. There were many languages spoken here; German Swiss, Italian, and two kinds of Romansch. On trails you were greeted with "Gruetzi, Bonjourno, Allegra, Gutentag" but never "hello". English was not spoken in many places, but everyone was warm and helpful and we had few problems. There are beautiful houses in all colors with Sgrafitti decorations, much different than the dark chalets of the Valais, etc.

We flew Continental from Newark to Zurich with no delays. We both carried carryon size bags and packed lightweight hiking clothes which we washed frequently. Almost everyone dressed that way and carried backpacks, we felt comfortable everywhere. Women in Swiss villages don't wear heels or carry designer purses! We bought Swiss Saver passes which allowed us to travel on trains and buses frequently with no hassle. Since we often took a trail on a whim then caught a bus home, this was a great option.
Day:
1) June 11 Guarda
Took the train from Zurich to train station. When you arrive, get on the bus that's waiting. Otherwise, you pull your luggage straight uphill for 40 minutes. We learned the hard way, and arrived at the Hotel Piz Buin totally soaked. After a cold beer and nap, we hiked from the back of the hotel through the wild Val Tuoi within a few minutes of the Tuoi hut, about three hours total. Pretty easy hike, good way to start your legs and adjust to the altitude. We had delicious dinner at Piz Buin and enjoyed strolling through the OC (from here on OOZING CHARM) village of Guarda. The World Cup games were going on and we enjoyed watching with the locals at Parsepan Bar, part of Hotel Meisser.

2) Missed the bus in Guarda once again, ran down hill and missed train by 2 minutes.Waited one hour, took train to Pontresina, enjoying the sights. One exception is the town of Zernez, very dull place. Pontresina was lively and had some nice shops and hotels. This would be a good base for those who want a little more to do in a town. We hiked to Pont Muragl, then took a lift to Muottas Muragl and hiked the trail to Alp Languard. It was easy and the views over St. Moritz were awesome. Many old people hiking. I'm 51 now, I use this term to describe those at least 20+ years older. We were impressed.Had cheese and beer at lovely spot at the end and took the lift back to the city. We hopped on train and rode it till the end at Scuol. The ride was beautiful, with the Tarasp Castle appearing like magic in the distance. We had good pizza at the lively terrace at Hotel Astras in Scuol. Train back to Guarda, missed the last bus, hiked uphill again. Watched Switzerland tie France in World Cup. Very festive!

3) Missed bus again.Train to Scuol, bus to Vulpera, hike to Tarasp castle through tiny hamlets, wildflowers, meadows with cows and up a forested path by rushing waters to the OC towns of Fontana and Sparsels. Hiked to the hillside cross and enjoyed gorgeous views of the castle and valley. Opting out of the castle tour (local's advice) we hiked back to the road and my husband thought we should hike to Ftan, which was higher than Tarasp castle. The trail was straight up, no switchbacks, covered in thistles, very tough and at the end, we were totally exhausted and could barely move. Ftan is an OC village, but for me it's a new four letter F word. We limp to the OC town of Ardez and find a place to flop.Turned out to be an exceptional meal at Hotel Aurora where I try my first delicious Rosti and Rick has the "best pizza of his life." Konrad Muller is running this hotel, and the food and views from the terrace are incredible. We make sure to get back to Guarda in time to catch the bus- yea!

Soglio

4) Caught bus to station, the train to Pontresina, where we take the spectacular white-knuckle bus trip across the Maloja Pass to Promotogono, then take another bus straight up the steep hill to Soglio. Pictures don't do justice to this town. It's very old and I felt like I was walking through the Monty Python "Holy Grail" film.Narrow streets, roofs almost touching. Goats on first floors of houses. Mountains everywhere.We were glad we splurged and stayed at the Hotel Palazzo Salis. It felt like an old castle- art work and antiques everywhere.We slept in the wooden canape bed of the original builder, Jean Baptiste Salis, it was built in the 1600's and was incredibly detailed with his name etched in the wood.. Best of all, the gardens were lovely and shady and they served great Italian style fare.Later, we hiked the steep path across the mountain and down past chestnut groves into Promotogogno, then took bus back. Great hike!

5) Took bus to Casaccia and hiked the 5 hour Sentiero Panoramico trail across the beautiful Val Bregaglia. Many gorgeous views and waterfalls. We saw a group of about 30 seniors on this trip who we didn't think would make it, but showed up in Soglio about three hours after us, lol! (A note to older people- you can stay in shape, and it's not too late!) About two thirds of the way, there is a tiny hillside cafe under a tent where we stop for fresh local goat cheese, dark bread and cold beer with owner Josef Bader, probably the happiest person in the valley! The hike down to Soglio isn't nearly as steep as we expected but it was great to relax in the cool garden and watch the goats parade downhill while soaking our feet in some cold mountain water. Another delicious dinner at hotel tops the day. No TVs, radios or anything in sight around here.

6) Bus to Pontresina, train to Filisur. This stop is meant as only as a place to stay before heading across the country on train, but we had fun here! First, we stopped at Hotel Grischuna for a delicious steamy fondue and cold beer- my birthday treat! Took the steep walk down into town, checked in at Hotel Schontal and then hiked to the Landwasser Viaduct. Pretty, wooded trail with rushing cool water alongside, birds chirping, big ferns and moss everywhere. We crossed over and took a steep trail to the OC village of Schmitten, where we caught a bus to somewhere. Honestly, we got lost, but figured we better get off soon. Thankfully, we were 5.5 km outside of Tiefencastle, so we hiked down to the village and caught the train back. At our hotel, there was accordian music and a festive crowd, but almost all were smoking and it was awful. We chose to eat across the street on the vine covered garden patio at Hotel Ratia, which was a good choice.

7) Caught the Glacier Express at 10 am. Luckily, our hotel was by a COOP market, so we bought some salads, bread and wine for the trip. The food on the train looked okay, but was overpriced. We were in a new train, and the second class coach had panaramic windows and comfy seats. We had even number seats, and though we traveled backwards to Chur, after that they faced forward. The ride was slow and boring till we reached the Oberalp Pass, which was spectacular. The fun part was that the train was filled with tourists from all over the world, and it was really festive! We shared a table with a Thai couple who were lovely and had a great time. We departed at Brig and took train to Sierre for the start of our Val D'Anniviers tour. Sierre was too big and loud, but we arrived late at the Hotel Atlantic, had an okay meal and received our hiking maps and literature plus our order form for the next day's picnic. We got to watch the World Cup again and met another couple from Belgium who were doing the hike as well.

Val D'Anniviers

8) Bus from Sierre across the Rhone then UP into the spectacular Val D'Anniviers. This is a white knuckle bus trip, but oh, so beautiful! We start hike at Le Pontis onto a path that leads straight uphill for two hours to Chandolin. I can't imagine starting a trip this way, our legs couldn't have handled it without a week under our belts! Plus, we had been working out at home in preparation. In OC Chandolin, we stop for a beer, which by now we have discovered is the only remedy for sore legs. Along the path, we find a perch for lunch and remind ourselves to pack fruit in Ziplocs. Rick has poached pear all over the backpack. After that, it's another two hours straight uphill to Tignousa and the observatory above St Luc. WOW. From here we see the Matterhorn and all the mountains around it that form the breathtaking "Imperial Crown". To the south perched on a mountain is the Hotel Weisshorn which looks like a yellow sore thumb and so imposing. We are hiking there tomorrow and already groaning about it. We take the surprisingly fast cable car down to OC St. Luc and walk the village a bit before checking in to the lovely Hotel Le Beausite where we're greeted warmly and taken to a room with great views and thankfully, our luggage. Dinner was very good, we passed out watching World Cup, exhausted.

9) Plan:Hike to Zinal, 5 hours. Cable car to Tignousa, then followed the "Planetary Path" up to Weisshorn. Stunning views, never did understand the planet thing, though. We looked inside the hotel a bit- has to be the best hotel scenery in Europe! It wasn't as bad a hike as expected, luckily there were switchbacks, which help the uphills. The mountain path was amazing and we encountered some snow, but never deep or imposing. We had to hike a steep path down at some point- we chose Ayers, then across to Zinal. This was very steep and wild! We saw some deer on the trail- very cute! Both of us had near falls on the trail- heavily forested but beautiful. In the OC town of Ayers, we had a beer for the sore knees, then hiked to Zinal, a tiny but lovely OC village. Stayed at Hotel Europe, another lovely typical Swiss Hotel. Views, pine rooms, double beds with comforters, cheery wood dining rooms, flowers everywhere, owners who welcome you and shake your hand, no soap in bathrooms, etc. Another great dinner by owner/chef Remy.

10) Zinal to Grimentz. Our guide says to take the lift to Sorebois, but it opens the next weekend, so we hike straight up, two hours. Sorebois, translated, mean sore butts. Cute fuzzy little marmuts skimper everywhere. Our goal is the Corne de Sorebois, another 2 hours up, then over to Moiry Dam and to trail. We make it to within 20 feet of the top and reach a huge snow bank which is above our heads. Now, we have to go down the steep path back to Sorebois and decide to take a trail across the mountain. There are two marked trail rocks, but after half an hour we have to scale a huge mudslide and lose the trail. We persist and then scale a huge rock slide. I'm now crawling on my belly and rump and praying to Godt. The "trail" stops at a mountain valley and we have to go back to Zinal! We're painfully limping down a mountain, thankfully we have some wine to chug. In the distance, we watch a dog herding cows and farmers in the field. We've walked 9 grueling hours. Bus to OC Grimentz, arriving mud-covered at Hotel Alpina at 7:30. The nice man asked in French if I wanted a douche before dinner. Before my husband hit him, I translated "shower". One note here: before the trip, we made an agreement. Rick steers and reads maps, I talk. Period. Great dinner and we limp to room, too tired to explore.

11) Sore, but explore incredibly beautiful Grimentz with it's weathered chalets built on raconds. A million geraniums. Our guide says to hike to Vercorin, but I'm not game. Instead, we take a beautiful cow/wildflower path across the mountain into the OC towns of Mayoux and St Jean, then Vissoie where we have lunch in town because our picnic was two energy bars and 2 pieces of chocolate, lol. The church here was beautiful.My husband gets the idea to go to Fang (another 4 letter F word) which was pretty, but steep and a very tough at this point.Before arriving, we encounter 5 of those black "testy" cows on the path. They might as well have been bears! We managed to hike through mud and manure around them. Caught the bus above upper Fang, then had to go to Sierre and catch another bus back to the valley to other side in Vercorin. Arrived at the Hostellerie D'Orzival (two star) via a scary bus ride. All in all our "short" hike was 5 hours. Had delicious fondue and had a short stroll around village, where we met two ex-Brits watching World Cup at lively La Brentaz Restaurant. We have rules explained to us tonight and are feeling quite cocky now. We meet owner and arrange to have a raclette here the next night, not that we didn't like Orzival, but it was almost empty and this sounded like fun.

12) We skip the Val de Rechy and take lift down to Chalais then hike the wine trail to St Leonard, just 10 k shy of Sion. At times, we are right in the vines, other times the path goes through villages and wineries.At times, it leads to a busy, dusty road along the Rhone river. An easy walk, but not nearly as pretty as Lac Leman wine trail, as the traffic and industry below are ever present. 5 minute train to Sion where we hike to the old town and visit churches and tour the museum and the Valere Castle. The chapel is beautiful here as well. The castle's being renovated even more and should be done in a year or two. Gorgeous views from here! Train/bus back to Chalais, we take lift up to Vercorin and our fun raclette dinner with Gerard. He explains the tradition to us and we admire the local cheese used in the dish. Yum! Then, a bit more World Cup before bed. Glad it's going on, else there's little to do at night!

13) Check out, take lift down and train to Brig, then Kandersteg for day trip before heading to Zurich. Great choice! We put luggage in lockers at train station, then hike to the lift that takes us to trails leading to the Oeschinensee glacier lake. The trail to the left leads to the sculpture path and picnic area near the waterfalls. Very pretty and festive with tourists enjoying the sunny, breezy day and turquoise water. Beautiful, serene place. Later, we walk the forest path to the hotel and have a great lunch on the patio of the hotel. Loved the food! We watched as cows mingled with tourists down on the lake's beach, very funny.Before taking the lift down, we HAD to try the tobaggen once. It really was fun, and not fast or scary at all. We strolled through the cute town of Kandersteg before taking the very boring train ride to Zurich airport, where we caught free shuttle to Renaissance airport hotel. This was my 80 dollar Priceline deal, but the kind desk agent gave us an upgrade to the Luxury Suite with 2 baths, robes, sitting area, etc. What a treat! And a king bed with no valley in the middle, lol! (how do the Swiss make love, my side or yours?) We ate in the Asian restaurant which was pricey but very good, and a nice change from all the cheese! It took one smoker to spoil the atmosphere, but that's Switzerland for you. Tonight, we sat in bar and watched Switzerland advance tio finals in World Cup- GO SWISS- over France and people go nuts. Thank God we're at airport, because we hear that downtown Zurich has parades, people dressed as cows, and parties going all night and nobody sleeps! Our room was quiet, luxurious and great.

14) Easy shuttle to airport and home via Continental, no snags until we get to Newark and are delayed by storms 6 hours.

Final Thoughts: Switzerland is very expensive, but worth it. Transportation is perfectly on time, crime isn't a problem (where we were), food is yummy, people are friendly and helpful, scenery is amazing, hiking trails are well marked and there's cold drinking water everywhere! Cow manure and wildflowers smell equally sweet. Flowers cover everything.Cowbells make the best music. There is a huge problem with tobacco here. The young people smoke heavily and they buy cigs from machines readily. The grandparents hike the trails, the young are getting heavier and out of shape. Most restaurants have no areas for nonsmokers, you must sit outside. Swiss wine and beer are great and a good price. Mid to late June is a perfect time to go to avoid tourists, but weather can be tricky. Lucky for us, it was perfect, no rain! Snow may be present on some trails, though.If you want to experience the best of this country, go off the beaten path and see how the authentic Swiss live in the villages. Many wear traditional clothes. Cities are pretty much the same all over, but with the non-tourist areas, every turn is an adventure and a post card. Little villages pop up like Brigadoon on footpaths through the mountains and valleys. The stars are incredible in the mountain towns at night. I need to stop. Any questions, etc, you can also write to me at this screen name at aol.com



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Author: LLindaC
Date: 06/27/2006, 01:45 pm
OOps- forgot to mention that my hotel reviews may not show up on tripadvisor till tomorrow, they always review them first.




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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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Thanks, Linda! I got really excited when I saw the red background and the cute little building. Can't wait to check out the website and read this trip report.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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Linda, your photos are beautiful - I'm sold. Hiking in Switzerland moves up on the list! You are such a cutie, and you and DH make a nice looking couple! ;-)
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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I'll be hiking up bar stools in Italy and Kauai soon.
Film at 11:00.
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