Trail: Fürstin-Gina-Weg (Furstin Gina Path)
Location: Malbun, Liechtenstein
Type: Mountain hiking trail
Distance: 15km, Duration: 7:09:31 (ROUTE)
This was the only rainy (and chilly) day on the trip – my one chance to deck out in my snazzy waterproof gear! Before hitting this trail in Malbun (pronounced “Mal-boon”), I already battled an unnecessary obstacle – a construction tape got caught in my bag zipper near the parking lot. 5 minute wasted.
We set out on the hike around 12:40pm. Terrain was very easy at the beginning – wide pathways with gradual inclines. The best part, COWS! And lots of them on this trail – left, right, all around, and blocking the path! Where there were cows, there were poop – and gigantic ones! Each cow wore a cowbell and together, they created a beautiful symphony. The cows were super laid-back, posing no concerns when we were forced to walk closely around them to continue on our way.
The rain eventually started as the path narrowed and the gradient increased, transforming the trail into a true mountain hike. We were walking into the clouds, and visibility reduced to only a few feet ahead.
About 1hr20min into the hike, we reached the first summit cross (2071m) of the trip .
Another 40min later, we came across a fixed cable on a rock face which got me excited for some hand-pulling climb! It was rather anti-climatic when I realized it was only to hoist yourself a few meters up the rocks to continue with the trail.
We crossed some mountain ridges, followed by a rocky uphill climb. It was past 3pm and lunch was calling. We plopped down on the rocks to enjoy our sandwiches.
It quickly got cold sitting still and we were on the move again. After trudging up the rocky incline, we reached the second summit cross (Augstenberg, 2359m). I smiled for the camera and immediately stepped on a wet and slippery rock that was angled the wrong way. In no time, I managed a comedic fall on my back with both legs flailing in the air.
We soldiered on mountain ridge after ridge in the clouds. The wind sometimes carried the clouds away, revealing just how high up we were. Soon after saying hello to a little black salamander that crossed our path, we walked down a steep decline on rocks which was secured with railing.Shortly later around 5pm, we finally reached the mountain hut, Pfälzerhütte (2108m) for a much needed warm-up. I had my heart set on a hot chocolate. To my surprise, they didn’t serve it! Maybe it was the sadness on my face but a few minutes later, the ladies at the counter presented me with a glorious cup of steaming chocolatey goodness. They told me they don’t typically serve it to the public because the milk for the hot chocolate has to be retrieved from the village down the valley. I definitely felt special! We also got a bottle of Appenzeller Alpenbitter AG – a liqueur made from all natural herbs, flowers, roots, and spices. It is highly recommended!!
Near the hut was a summit cross (2108m). Though it was a little detour from the hiking trail, we had our eyes on the prize.
It was mainly downhill from here on out. On the way down, we bumped into 2 hikers who were looking for the Pfälzerhütte. I proudly told them to get some divine hot chocolate, knowing deep down the ladies there would curse me forever.With all the free-roaming farm animals in the alps, the trail had numerous electrical cables blocking the path, forcing us to play limbo. Not a game I appreciated repetitively when I could be zapped. It wasn’t until a few days later did we find out from locals that the electrical wires could be unhooked when crossing the path.
In about 40min, we hit an unexpected summit cross (1936m) which appeared to be worshiped by cows. Approaching the cross required self-convincing that the brown soggy mess all over the wet grass was just mud and not poop. I was slightly startled when the cows abruptly scattered away as I approached the cross for the signature photo.
Another 40min later (around 7:10pm), we bumped into a group of horses. Having been to Iceland, home to friendly and calm Icelandic horses, I was stuck in that line of thinking …. they were nice horses! That held true until for whatever reason, they started galloping towards me after my friend went through a turnstile to continue on the path. I starred at the situation for a safe moment and went through the turnstile. As we continued down the trail, we looked up behind us only to see one of the horses still starring at us with an evil eye. What did we do??
It was around 8pm when we finished the trail. The last part involved climbing over a tall stone wall into someone’s private yard to return to the parking lot due to construction on the actual pathway.
Overall a fantastic 1st hike. It set the stage for the rest of the trip, offering a variety of terrain while maintaining a medium technical level. Famished and completely filthy, we proudly walked into a fancy restaurant for dinner to end the day.