Sunrise - Walmendingerhorn | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Oliver Farys

20 May. 2013 · Summer Activities | Recuperation

Finding Your Way

My favourite Kleinwalsertal panoramic view was somewhat overcast first thing in the morning, however, after breakfast the clouds had dispersed, the sun came out and the temperature felt pleasantly mild.

I wanted to seize the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful weather and decided to embark on a pleasant hike aimed at beginners. The Ifen bus took me a short part of the journey and I started my tour at the Fuchsfarm.

Wandern beim Heuberg | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Antje Pabst

I started the hike, which can be easily accomplished in one day, from the Schöntalweg. This path initially takes me uphill which is just what I had hoped because I want to explore the Obere Höhenweg (upper trail) today. It was difficult to move forward at a particularly fast pace because I kept stopping to admire the fabulous views of the towns and villages far below and the panoramic views. Taking lots of photos and video footage also prevented me from forging on ahead to the top, however, I did manage to get there in the end.

I continue past the Parsenn and Heuberg cable car station and try to imagine all the hustle and bustle that takes place here in the winter on what are now lush green meadows which become a family-friendly ski resort during the winter months. It is not easy to imagine a winter scene whilst I am sweating in the sunshine on such a beautiful day. I prefer to shake these thoughts from my mind as I will see for myself in due course. I prefer to enjoy this fabulous summer’s day instead. The Oberer Höhenweg is a delightful hiking trail and, as the name suggests, it runs above and alongside the villages of Riezlern, Mittelberg and Hirschegg. I have to keep stopping to take in the far-reaching panoramic views and I try to identify one or other of the distinctive buildings I can see in the valley below.

At the Zaferna lift I am tempted to stop off for some refreshments at the Sonna Alp, however, my hearty breakfast is continuing to sustain me so I decide against stopping for a glass of Hock at the Sonna Alp even though it is very pleasant here and the name of the alp is very fitting on a day like this. I decide to continue on. This hike can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace as the route is not too strenuous which makes it all the more interesting. Numerous benches are positioned in spots where it is definitely worth stopping to sit for a while to truly assimilate the glorious views. There are also a number of information boards to educate and entertain passing hikers dotted along the Zaferna Bergschau Weg. You can find out interesting facts on subjects such as avalanche protection which detail in a comprehensible way all the measures that are taken in Kleinwalsertal to protect the valley and its inhabitants from avalanches. This prompts me to think again about the winter and Kleinwalsertal in all its snowy glory even though I am standing in a meadow covered in alpine flowers in the glorious sunshine.

Stutzalp Terrasse | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Antje Pabst

There are numerous opportunities to stop off for refreshments. The Max Hütte offers delicious local delicacies; when I walk past the Bühlalpe I am tempted by the delicious aromas of freshly baked Kaiserschmarrn (a  local pancake speciality) and my resistance fails me when I reach the Stutzalpe. I opt for a KäseBrotzeit  (Walser version of a ploughman’s lunch) which includes a genuine good alpine cheese, followed by a home-made yoghurt with fresh fruit. These gourmet delights are simply the best and I could sit here forever surrounded by the fabulous panoramic view.

As I sit enjoying a pleasant glass of Hock at the Stutzalpe, where stunning scenery is combined with a fabulous way of life, I think about my onward journey. Which of the many routes down to the valley should I choose?

Wandern beim Walmendingerhorn | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Antje Pabst

If you have enough energy or motivation, or if a hearty snack has given you a boost of energy and you are not afraid of another climb at the end of the hike, you can choose to climb the path from the Stutzalpe to Walmendingerhorn and then travel directly down to Mittelberg with the cable car. From a loftier height you will cross the path that you walked along a short while ago and you will be able to look down on where you were previously rambling about. Another option is to walk a short way back to the Bühalpe and to take the direct path from here to Mittelberg or to walk via Erlenboden to Baad.

I decided to take the third option. Incidentally, directly next to the Stutzalpe you will find the bike base camp which is a hotspot for mountain bikers. I firstly follow the narrow path across the meadows and then I proceed through a romantic and dream-like fairytale forest. This also takes me to Baad and when I arrive here I feel like I really am definitely in the middle of nowhere and in the most remote corner of heaven. I allow myself plenty of time to enjoy a cup of coffee in the pleasant ambience before I decide to complete my homeward journey by taking the free Walserbus for a stretch and then I walk the remainder of the way.
The bus runs on average every 10 minutes and takes me to Hirschegg where I then pick up the Burmiweg  and intend to make my way by foot back towards Riezlern. I decide to stop for a while at the Leidtobelkapelle and take a moment to pause and reflect. Did you know that the statue of Johannes von Nepomuk, who is known as the Healer of the Bridge, and who watches over the Leidtobel bridge is only a copy? You can see the original at the Walser Heimatmuseum in Riezlern. I then head into the Zwerwald along the Burmiweg, which I am now already familiar with, however, this path along the River Breitach is still as beautiful as ever and is just the right thing to perfectly round off my first day of easy hiking. I notice with some amusement a few children having lots of fun playing on the wobbly wooden bridge and the climbing ropes along the banks of the Breitach. I also watch them practising their stone skimming techniques and building small stone towers called Steinmändle. The delicious aromas of freshly grilled meat drifts across the air. This is a Kleinwalsertal family holiday at its best, providing fun for the children and relaxation for the grown ups. It doesn’t take long for me to reach Riezlern again when I round of the day in a relaxed and cosy manner.
My hiking adventures shall continue and the next time I am going to get the adrenaline pumping on a via ferrata. Why not join me?

Relaxation at the Kneipp Schwandlift | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Oliver Farys

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