Location: Realp, Switzerland
Type: Mountain hiking trail and Alpine hiking trail
Distance: 6km, Duration: 4h30m (ROUTE)
This occurred on our transition day from Samedan (SE Switzerland) to our Airbnb in Leukerbad (West Switzerland). Our original list of hikes were either too long or out of the way to permit adequate driving time across Switzerland. We tried searching online for hikes the previous night that were en route to Leukerbad. Unfortunately, none was the appropriate distance and we had to take matters into our own hands.
My friend created our own route using the outdooractive website. The location was near Furka Pass which coincidentally was on our “must-see” list. The drive westwards from Andermatt to Oberwald took us through various mountain passes including the famous Furka Pass where a Bond movie was shot! Being an ex-avid road cyclist, all the hairpin bends was a dream. What a photo-worthy drive to the starting point! The best part? This hike would take us to our highest elevation (and with snow!) on this vacation! We knew this was our last hike of the trip with summits. We wanted to end it with a BANG!
Immediately out of the parking lot (across from Hotel Furkablick) was a trail sign post. There, sitting by the post, was a box containing beautifully polished local rocks (I believe white and smokey quartz?) with an “honest system” coin slot. There was just something special about this hike.
The hike began on easy but steep single-tracks, zig-zagging up a mountain all the way to the Furkastock cable car station. Not only was the scenery distracting as we were overlooking the Furka Pass, but the ground was even more distracting! Littered everywhere were gorgeous white rocks (white quartz?). We stopped every few steps to pick up yet another rock to examine. Suffice it to say, the walk up was much slower than usual.
Though probably not true, the trail didn’t feel officially discovered and I appreciated that. Several areas were marked with either roughly drawn arrows or cairns in place of the usual red/white mountain trail markers. The first summit near the cable car station didn’t have a cross but had a triangular marking on the ground. Perhaps there would be a cross there in the future? For now, the cross (Furkastock, 2665m) needed improvisation.
The path turned into piles of big boulders. Walking almost became hopping from boulder to boulder. Personally, I preferred this terrain. My mind was so focused on selecting and balancing on the next boulder that I didn’t feel the incline as much. It wasn’t long until we saw the blue/white alpine stripes on the rocks. The exact path wasn’t quite clear as it was an area of rubble most of the time. There were minimal markings painted on the boulders though sometimes the path was a visible narrow path along the mountain. Therefore, we resorted to determining our own line most of the time.
The twists and turns of the Furka Pass was always in sight on our left with snow-capped mountains in the background. Definitely one of our most scenic hikes yet.
The beautiful white quartz got bigger and bigger as we continued up. So big that they became the boulders we were hiking on. All the little quartz we were examining earlier must’ve broken off from these big boys up here!
We eventually reached a flat area with a few gigantic cairns and a summit cross in the background. It looked very far away, calling for a lot more climbing.
In just over 30min, we reached the cross (Chli Furkahorn, 3026m) and stood at the highest elevation of this entire vacation (though not the highest elevation gain).
It was time to head back down where we came from until we reached the flat area with the cairns. We went to a trail leading left. A steep drop brought us to a short snow walk! The snow was on a slant and was quite slippery. Too bad it led us to an advanced hike on the mountain which looked quite dangerous without equipment and it was also getting late.
We decided to turn around and pick another trail on the other side of that mountain. The map indicated a summit point (2874m) shortly later. No cross again.
It could be the elevation or my low iron levels but I felt a bit dizzy at this point. The rest of the way down was zig-zagging on an easy narrow mountain path.
Dinner was definitely noteworthy and highly recommended. It was at a nearby grill restaurant called Baschi. Guests were seated at long wooden tables. Everything had a rustic feel, definitely my vibe! The bread was served in a wooden bowl and came with 2 flavoured butter – the pinkish one (cranberry? blueberry?) was my favourite! Our steak dinner was cooked to perfection over a wood fire and served on a wooden board. Dessert was a massive bowl of fresh picked blueberries with larch ice cream! Now I know what bark tastes like!