charming chamonix & l’aiguille du midi


A few weeks ago, when the fall colors really started turning and I was finally starting to recover from being sick, we spent the weekend in Chamonix, France. Martin and Reese picked me up from work and after a quick dinner stop we headed south. One of Martin’s acquaintances from the world of rugby was staying in Chamonix for a few more days at a place owned by his sister’s family and we were invited to join. I was a little on the fence about the whole weekend as I still wasn’t feeling amazing and didn’t really know what to expect, but Martin drove and we visited and listened to podcasts and the 3.5 hours went by quite quickly.

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on the trail // oeschinensee panorama trail

Last weekend we checked off the first of my summer hiking goals by hiking high above the Oeschinensee near Kandersteg. Apparently it is also one of the top 15 most beautiful hikes in Switzerland (which means I have a few more hikes to add to my list for this year and next.) It is also a Unesco World Heritage site thanks to the gorgeous glacial turquoise waters, alpine meadows, waterfalls, and high peak views.

It was a gorgeous, warm day and the two hour drive from home to base of the gondola was a good opportunity to catch up on podcasts and let Reese nap before hitting the trail. After riding the gondola up in late morning, we set off down the wide path meandering down to the lake past the summer toboggan run along with a number of other hikers and summer lake visitors. A few small hotels and restaurants sit around the lake and quite a few cows were happily munching in the meadows and lakeside (including just at water’s edge). We decided on the panoramic hike and took a few minutes for a quick snack and drink for heading up the trail.

The trail had some steep and rocky points, but otherwise we were too enthralled with the views to complain. After winding our way along the lake and up some steeper switchbacks (as you’ll see in the pictures), we paused for lunch at Oberbärgli, drink, and a mountain cheese plate. Reese especially loved stacking some rocks and splashing in the creek. Then we headed back through the higher meadows and when we joined up with the main path, we turned back down to the water for a very refreshing (though not freezing) swim. The weather was so cool and clear and it was nice to just float while Reese played with sticks and splashed on the edge. Then we slowly made our way back to the gondola.

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on the trail // walensee waterfall walk

I’m happy to say that we’ve gotten an earlier start on our hiking season this year vs. last (though we’ve been stalled a bit in the last few weeks). Our first real hike this year was a beautiful, if a little steep, way to start the summer hiking season. It was the last few days of a visit from Martin’s sister and brother-in-law in late May, the weather was glorious, and we were feeling the pull of being on the water but also wanting to hike in the mountains. So, after a little thought, we headed out to the Walensee where we could combine a couple short small ferry jaunts around the lake with a hike along the shore and panoramic water and mountain views. Read more

on the trail // pizol & the five lakes

It’s been almost two months since we hiked the Five Lakes Classic around Pizol on a warm, August afternoon, but it was such a beautiful day out that it is still worth sharing. Along the 11 km path, we passed 5 lakes, one peak (Pizol at 2,844 m.a.s.l.), numerous sheep, and plenty of steep, rocky switchbacks winding up, down, and around. I’m not sure when we’ll be back to do it again as it was a lot of work for Martin to lug Reese, but next time we’ll leave earlier and pack a picnic to enjoy part-way through. Read more