Nightmare at 8000ft !

So…yesterday was the climax of our walks…our hardest yet ! We did the 8km hike from First to Bussalp via Feld. It takes about 3.5 hours, and our plan was to arrive at Bussalp in time to have some late lunch and then get the bus for the 1/2 hr trip back to Grindelwald.

Well, when the day started with the alarm going off at 6;30am , we knew it wasn’t a good start. We had to motivate each other into getting up in time to make the train across to Grindelwald in order that we could make the gondola trip upto the start of the walk by 10am. We just managed to do this…but had to have breakfast on the move.

Our first stop after leaving the top of the Gondola at First was the wonderful high alpine lake of Bachalpsee. It’s the classic photo you see on all the tourist literature of a blue lake with the snow covered mountain peaks reflected in it. After a brief stop here we started to follow the signs to Bussalp. It was at this point the lovely wide gravel path turned into a thin, boulder ridden and ,at some points , a slippery muddy trail. But this was nothing new when you are used to walking in Scotland !! However, after about 20mins we were faced with a fork in the path and no clear sign as to which way we should go. To the right the path seemed to climb steeply towards the peak of the mountain we were on, and to the left the path seemed to meander around the side of the mountain. When we had read the description of the walk the night before, it indicated that it was a moderate walk that went though a pass in the mountains, so our decision was not to follow the path that seemed to lead to the peak. So off we set again. After another 10mins the meandering path that we were on took a sudden turn to the right with a sharp incline up the side of mountain. Looking back it was now clear that both paths eventually converged halfway up…..the only thing was, the path we were now on climbed up along the ridge…..with a sharp drop of about 1000ft on the left, and a equally sharp drop on the right !! The other path, although steep, at least didn’t have any drops either side. We slowly climbed up the ridge, trying not to look to the left, and we’re desperately hoping that we didn’t have to continue to the peak. 15 mins later the two paths met, and to our relief we saw that the path we needed to take left the ridge and headed down to the valley in the distance.

From there on the path was still initially tricky, but finally became less rocky and more green and woody 😉 It was a great feeling to arrive at the Bussalp Resturant and finally rest the legs and sip on a cold beer. An hour here relaxing and taking in the view, then we hopped on the bus to take us back down to Grindelwald.

J.

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