Tuesday, July 28, was to be a layover day, a down day. The hike over Grimselpass was long and a little tough, we needed a day to re-energize. The village of Ulrichen was a perfect place for us to do just that.
We arrived in Ulrichen on July 27th, and as the 10 of us gathered at the dinner table in this picture perfect village, we discussed the hike we would be taking over the Griespass. This trek would take us back into Italy and down to the little village of Riale. The decision was made, for those who wanted, to get up early and hike to the top of Griespass. We would then catch the last bus at 2:00 p.m. back to Ulrichen. The next morning, July 29th, we would all take the bus to the top and start the hike from where we left off. There would be no down day for the seven that decided to go.
The sky was black when we left the hotel at 5:00 a.m. As we quietly walked through Ulrichen, the road ended, and the trek up the mountain began.
The sun began to rise on this chilly, cloud covered morning and I looked back at the village we left less than an hour earlier.
The low-lying clouds began to dissipate and we finally saw our destination. My heart, pounding out of my chest, began to smile.
We were following the river, and somehow got off of the trail. We could see the trail, on the other side of the river, but could not find a safe way to rock hop across the swift flowing waters. This is where I discovered I’m not a fan of the rock hop. I was analyzing each rock that I needed to hop to while the other 6 ladies were just hopping along. I didn’t like it. Not. One. Bit. We ended up scrambling through dense, prickly covered brush until we found the route again.
Higher and higher we climbed. Once we crossed over the stone bridge, and rounded another mountain, we saw our final climb to the top of Griespass.
With one final boulder scramble, we would be at the top. Tasha and I decided to sit this one out as we would be doing the same climb in the morning. It was time for a much-needed nap. Total miles this day, 9.
After the ladies came down from the pass, we meandered down to the bus stop and waited. We napped again.
Back in Ulrichen, I wandered through the village, taking in the simple beauty of a place they were privileged to call home. A flood of memories raced through my mind from a time when I was blessed to call Europe my home. I smiled.
My dinner that evening was a meal I remembered fondly, Wienerschnitzel mit pommes frites.
After dinner, I walked back to our hotel, and as I crawled between the sheets I couldn’t tell which was more full, my tummy or my heart.
Travel tip: Don’t be afraid to venture out on your own. Be mindful of your surroundings and don’t be foolish, but don’t be afraid to go alone. I find when I am alone I take in more of what’s around me, the sights, sounds, the way the air smells, and I completely get lost in my thoughts. It’s a pretty good thing.