I was taught in school that over millions of years, the collision of the African and European plates has formed the Alps.
So much for the theory. I wanted to see Earth's history up close and personal, so I picked a panoramic hike in the Linth valley near Glarus. This region is under UNESCO World Heritage Protection for the massive tectonic layers which have been exposed like cake.
Braunwald is a car free town which can only be reached by incline. In the town's narrow alleys, horse drawn carriages wait for passengers from one of the hotels. Meanwhile, tiny electric trucks are busy delivering cargo on their equally tiny loading decks. While we are studying the hiking post with dozens of yellow signs pointing in all directions, I remember how we once hiked across blooming meadows on a perfect spring day...
From Grotzenbüel to Gumen
From the station at Grotzenbüel, the hiking path leads steadily uphill and we soon leave the town of Braunwald behind. After a 15 minute ascent through a lush forest with more than 50 shades of green, we take a short break. Here, the trees open up to reveal a perfect view of Braunwald:
For the next hour, the path continues past endless blueberry bushes and varieties of ferns and mosses. Nature is showing her full spectrum up here in Braunwald, and we soak in the good vibes as we continue our climb.
Here is my humble person sporting my favorite Columbia trekking shoes. (For this hike, I decided against proper hiking boots - and I never looked back.) The trail is well maintained and I scale it like a mountain goat thanks to my shoes' perfect grip.
Can you tell that I am loving this hike?
At the top, Mamiko, our friend Eli and I each claim a bench. Pure bliss...
(Photography credits go to Eli who captured my cool Mondaine M-WATCH and the Columbia CONSPIRACY™ TITANIUM OUTDRY™ trail shoes.)
Restaurant Gumen is 100% Swissness
The restaurant at 1910 meters above sea is our midway point, and it is finally within sight. Having only nibbled on nuts, our bellies are definitively hungry for some barley soup and Nussstängel (hazelnut-filled pastry).
One note: I cannot remember how many times we have hiked up to a mountain restaurant when they were closed for business - even in the middle of the season. The good thing about Restaurant Gumen is its daily opening times...
Despite the trail leading through a dripping moist tunnel at one point, this panoramic hike delivers on the drop-dead gorgeous views. The valley below is deep, the waterfalls are National Geographic material, and the geological layers tell the story of how Switzerland's landscape is taking shape.
At the end of the day, what's better than cooling off in a chilled bathtub in the middle of the countryside?
Yupp, Eli did not think twice and jumped right in! Fortunately, there were no cows around who viewed Eli as competition for that refreshing H2O...
- Summer Panorama Hike from Grotzenbüel (3 hours)
- We recommend a day pass which includes all gondolas (36 francs full price, 26 francs half fare)
- Restaurant Gumen (open daily during summer season)
- Don't miss our special post: This Alpine Restaurant is 100% Swissness Overload