It was a long, hot summer. And though we had a great vacation and did manage to get out a bit, the weather wasn’t too conducive to hiking. This is at least the excuse I use. However autumn has finally settled in and though it is hard for me to say what my favorite time of year is, autumn is easily my favorite for hiking. Cool air, vibrant foliage, and that golden slanted afternoon sunlight that you only have late in the year. We had a taste of it when we travelled around with Jeanene and Deavron last month, but I finally got out and did some real exploring this weekend.
One of the things I love about Switzerland is that a person can take public transit to or from nearly any trailhead. Be it tram, train, or bus, with just a bit of planning, the car can stay parked as you discover new vistas on foot. Stepping off a bus in a tiny, remote (by Swiss standards) village only enhances the feeling of being disconnected, which should be inherent to any hike. I have driven through/past a particular valley a number of times, so when I finally decided to explore it on foot this weekend, it was only fitting that the car was left behind.
The Kaltbrunnental is an eight (or so) kilometer-long, narrow karst valley full of waterfalls, springs, caves, and the icy cold Ibach river. At times it is a verdant idyll, cool and silent save the burbling stream next to you. At others white limestone cliffs not only tower above you but also drop dramatically below you. More than once I was reminded of a nature preserve where dad would take my brother and me when we were young, which shared a lot in common with Kaltbrunnental but especially the sense of solitude that only enhances the natural beauty.
And remembering how much we loved going there in the winter as kids, I will need to head back to the Kaltbrunnental once it snows.