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Just how lucky were we? On our final day in Murren, we woke to wonderful, warm sunshine with crystal, clear blue skies. It was difficult to imagine that yesterday's views could get any better, but they did. We were truely blessed. I was speechless most of the morning with the panoramas unfolding before us. Perhaps a little breathless, as we steeply climbed from 1600m to nearly 2000m.
Today's route on the map has the no 5. [Yes, it is day 4] The route commenced beside the terminus
of the cable car above our chalet, on the edge of Murren.
As we passed the buildings on the left, we observed some metal structures being assembled and tried to imagine their purpose. Not long into the morning, we felt we had the answer, as a helicopter flew overhead and up towards the mountain behind the Schilthorn. Summer was over and preparations were being made for the winter skiing season.
The helicopters passed over numerous times with their metal cargoes. Can you spot this one in the 'V' of the photo? The views from the cable car would be sensational on a day like today.
The steep climbing began almost immediately from Murren, [1638m] as the road wound its way up to Gimmeln [1700m] and Schitalp [1946m].
End of a ski run at Gimmeln.
Our progress was delayed for some time, by a thin piece of rope across the road. We could hear the farmer milking his cows and one by one they left the barn and headed up the lane. We weren't sure when was the best time to continue. Growing impatient, we were about to duck under the rope, when a young bull made his way out quite excitedly. Close shave.
Our timing still wasn't right. As we neared where the farmer's wife was directing them into their field for the day, we had to quicken our pace to get passed the entrance. Once in the field the cows were ecstatic.
Soon after we stopped to chat to a woman, who had driven down from Frankfurt the previous day. She kindly took a photo of us.
The reverse view.
And so we continued climbing.
And climbing - Schitalp - 1946m
The views back down to the farm and across the valley were stunning.
Finally the elevation flattened for a short distance, before we entered a snowy forest.
Through a brief gap in the trees, we saw that we were again above Murren. Paragliders were drifting down into the valley.
Next we had to make an icy descent back to the 'bowl' of Suppenalp and Sonnenberg [1836m]. Here the snow of day 2, was nowhere to be seen.
And of course, once you have gone down, you nearly always have to go up again. The 'white diagonal line' across the far ridge, is where we had made our icy descent.
Soon we had reached our turning back point of day 2. Today's panorama was breathtaking.
The red sign is where we dropped down to make our way to Dorenhubel [1839m]. We were amazed to see hikers above this sign, following a zig zag path down the incredibly steep slope of this peak. It was also beyond my comprehension that in winter, it is a busy ski slope on a run down to the valley, starting at the Schilthorn.
View to the left.
View to the right.
The trail here, veered away from the valley views. The landscape developed a wildness. The path narrowed, became rougher, rockier and any step ups and step downs, quite irregular. Concentration was required to negotiate them safely. The green fields gave way to natural grasses and heather. Without being spectacular, there was still much to stop the happiness meter from falling.
Flocks of black birds soaring and diving.
Incredible rock walls.
Heather and flannel flower with their autumn beauty.
Dry creek beds with stone sculptures.
A recent runaway boulder.
But the mountains still had their moments of glory.
From here the trail took us back into the forest, dropping steeply down to trail near Grutsalp. [1486m] This trail would take us back to Murren. Walking back along this now familiar escarpment, we took long, deep breaths of this pure alpine air, to sustain us on the long journey back to Australia.
What a glorious finale today had been, to complete our travels. The icing on the cake so to speak, of all our incredible experiences of the past weeks.
We were unbelievably fortunate to have seen the alps covered in snow. In an e-mail from Kitty and Albert, we learnt that the only snow at Christmas was at the Schilthorn level. A disastrous start to the winter sking season.
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