Up on the Schilthorn, you feel like you’re at the top of the world.

The panorama of snow-streaked, craggy granite mountains extends all around, and even the peaks of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau look as if they’re at eye level.

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On our second day in Wengen, we took a cable car up to the top of the ridge — the opposite side of Lauterbrunnen Valley from Murren.

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Trek day from Murren to Wengen, through Lauterbrunnen on the valley floor. Murren and Wengen sit up above the Lauterbrunnen valley on opposite sides, so we spent the morning hiking down, down, down from Murren to Lauterbrunnen.

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We started our Swiss hiking adventure in the little town of Murren, perched above Lauterbrunnen Valley at the base of Schilthorn Alp. Murren can only be reached by train, foot, or cable car gondola. In fact, to get to Murren from Bern, we took three different trains plus a gondola.

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The final day of the West Highland Way combined the hill climbing of the Devil’s Staircase with the mileage of Loch Lomond and the rainy weather and wet trail that had become commonplace in the Highlands. In other words, it was 15 miles up and down a hill in lots of rain. Oh, and with some gorgeous views. Don’t forget about those.

hey, that's where we're going!

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We had a rare treat starting off the day: our shuttle back to the trail was scheduled for 9 am, so we were essentially required to sleep in a bit and have a slower start to the morning. Breakfast was a welcome change from the usual, with pancakes and a lox bagel on the menu.

Hogwarts at Glen Coe

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We got an extra early start for our longest hiking day, which clocked in at 18.5 miles with more than 2,500 feet of elevation gain.

Walking an old military road

The morning started out as a pleasant and easy stroll along an old military road from the 1800s. We hugged the edge of a long, narrow valley, hopscotching with the train tracks for the West Highland Railway.

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Halfway day! The middle of our week of hiking and the day we passed the halfway point of the West Highland Way.

Kinda reminds us of the PNW

The trail was still fairly rocky and hilly, but easier going than around the lake. After a stretch through a wooded area, we came out onto open grazing lands with lots of sheep and cows. We got awfully close to some cows that were hanging out on the sides of the trail — including a baby cow nursing its mother. We were careful to move slowly and be very non-threatening as we walked around the nursing cow.

A cow nursing on the trail

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We had a rough start on our third day. First, the weather — which had been so bright and sunny the first 2 days — finally succumbed to its more typical forecast of drizzle, fog, and gray skies.  More problematic, though, were Rachel’s feet, which had succumbed to blisters.

Ben Lomond

We suffered through the first mile or so before finding a very scenic bench on which to assess feet and apply about five more layers of bandaids. Refortified by the bandaids and the view of Loch Lomond, we got back on the trail.

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After lunch at the bottom of Conic Hill, we set off along the shore of Loch Lomond. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves and expecting an easy walk along the lake to our destination for the day: the Rowardennan Hotel.

And the first part of the afternoon was, in fact, easy walking. The trail hugged the lakeshore and even wandered directly onto the beach in places.

Feet by Loch Lomond

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