Pleasure Hiking around Zermatt

A beautiful Sunday with sunshine and clear air. This awakens a desire to go for a hike. Not too many kilometres, simply for relaxation and to immerse oneself in the landscape. The hike leads through fall’s mountain world, naturally along and past lakes and includes a pleasant stop in a mountain restaurant. 

by  Janine Imesch

Grab the leash and off to the mountains. This was my plan on today’s Sunday morning after I looked out the window. Steel-blue autumn sky, not a cloud to be seen, Sunday’s free. What more could I want? Penny, my 3-year old Standard Schnauzer girl, looks at me full of expectation and watches as I pack the small backpack: warm jacket, water bottle, apple, wallet, sun cream. Nothing else in there, because I look forward to stopping at one of the mountain restaurants.

By funicular from Zermatt up to Sunnegga. The name is fully in honour of the day on the viewing terrace – the sun is shining, still not a cloud in the sky, I enjoy the view. There is our diva, the Matterhorn. It is only a little more than 7 kilometres to this peak as the crow flies. But the view is always new and always magical as if the Matterhorn possesses mystical powers.

Then I continue by gondola to Blauherd. Penny is impatient – now it is her turn to run, run, run. But she behaves by staying close to me and sniffs every tuft of grass. Actually, I could have started from the Rothorn station since that is included in the ticket price. But I decided to take the shorter tour and so we set out for Fluhalp along the hiking trail. The blowing wind quickly clears my head of its everyday concerns. Penny is happy sniffing the surroundings. I deeply breathe in the autumn scent of dry grass and hard-packed glacier snow. 

Stellisee with the Matterhorn

We take our time. But we are still at Stellisee in no time. Here the Matterhorn is mirrored on the surface of the lake which has the effect of a doubled mountain. Pyramid in the sky and reversed pyramid on the water. The Hore – as we call the Matterhorn – time and again lures us to look at it. I make use of my camera. Also, time and again. Even though I already have many pictures of this mountain. But it is simply not possible to just be different.

Then the path goes slightly upwards – my first goal becomes visible. Fluhalp. The dark wooden façade and the windows with the red shutters are visible from a long way off. I wait patiently on the sunny, wind-protected terrace for the fresh mountain trout and Rösti, those wonderful Swiss shredded potatoes. The trout live behind the building in the crystal-clear mountain water. And they are served on a plate just a few minutes after being caught. Enjoy the view, eat well, relax, tank up on the sun. What more could one want?

After a good rest, the leisurely path goes down along the bed of the former Findel Glacier, the little brother of the Gorner Glacier. I am impressed, and the moonscape of the unvegetated soil and scree fascinates me. 

The Secretive Grindjisee

The next goal for lingering is Grindjisee. This small, somewhat hidden moorland lake is my favourite. It seems like I have arrived in a mysterious and magical territory. On one side, the water gurgles quietly in the marshy upland moor. On the other side, larch trees line the shore of the lake. We are completely alone and protected from the wind.

With a curious look, Penny follows a fat bumblebee. But she is respectful and does not get too close to her buzzing friend. I watch her and then we continue slowly down the mountain towards Findeln. The chapel with the white façade can be seen from very far away. I am not hungry but dessert would certainly hit the spot. In the Findlerhof one finds the famous warm, soft chocolate cake with cream on top. I decide not to resist it and sit down in the comfortable dining room. An entire group of Zermatt locals troops in with the same idea. Later, full, satisfied and relaxed, I wander gradually back towards the Winkelmatten quarter as the sun sets. The wind is almost still, the larches in the woods are just barely moving. A spotted nutcracker caws. It is warm in my heart – the dog is satisfied, the little lady in me is satisfied, the world is in order.