The Gornergrat

Like many, I’ve been reminiscing on past travels and favourite places. My mind lingered on Zermat and the hike down the Gornergrat.. in Crocs, with a looming rain storm. Yup! Not well thought out, but since it turned out okay in the end, it is now a fond memory.

The Gornergrat is a rocky ridge that belongs to the Swiss Alps and rises 3,089 m above sea level. It is accessible by foot and electric cog railway. The rail system is the highest open-air train in Europe. We boarded the train in Zermatt, which is currently 88 Euros per person, but well worth the exclusive experience.

Once at the top, we found a hotel, restaurant and gift shop. The outdoor viewing platform offers a vista of the Alp’s second largest glacier, the Gorner Glacier; Switzerland’s tallest mountain, Monte Rosa (4,634m); and the iconic Matterhorn.

It was quite overcast when we got to the summit. This pretty much meant we could see pretty much everything, but the Matterhorn. We learned that given it’s 4,478m peak and situation within the range, the Matterhorn is rather bashful and prefers to live among the clouds.

We noticed there were many casually attired people choosing to take one of the many hiking trails down the mountain. When we inquired, we were given a map and instructed to follow an easy route back to Zermat. Did I mention I was wearing Crocs?! They weren’t the classic clog style of Crocs, but still!

The terrain was pretty easy for the most part and what can I say the views were stunning. We came across the cutest mountain sheep that didn’t mind munching grass on the edge of sheer cliff that dropped off to the glacier below. All was going well until we were walking along a narrow dirty trail. The clouds became very dark and it felt like rain. If anyone knows about mountain rainstorms… you don’t want to find yourself on a fully exposed, narrow, muddy, slippery trail in a torrential downpour.

This being said it was during this time when we picked up the pace that the clouds moved and we saw the star of the show – the Matterhorn.

Not too long after this we made it to the first train stop, Riffelalp Resort. While we stopped to admire our surroundings and decide whether to take the train the remainder of the way, a backpacker strode by us and went straight through the front doors of the resort. It turns out there are a number of resorts along this vast network of alpine hiking trails. This means you can hike and live in luxury at the same time. All you need to carry is a medium pack with a change of clothes and your personal necessities. Good food and nice accommodations are taken care of. Europeans have the right idea. It was then and there I knew staying here for a time to enjoy the alpine is on my bucket list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s