A Long Weekend in the Berner Oberland: Hiking to the summit of Niederhorn

After waking up from our first night camping in Beatenberg, we set off for Niederhorn. A funicular railway runs from the Thunersee at Beatenbucht all the way up to Niederhorn with stops in Beatenberg and Vorsass, but we wanted the experience of starting at the bottom and climbing our own way up 1963 meters. Hiking through the grassy hillsides was a bit bizarre at first.  The well-marked trails run through private property, often right past windows of private houses. Though soon it was evident that no one minded, because the locals continuously greeted or sent a smile to us. The grassy hillsides interchanged with lush green forests until finally reaching Vorsass. There the terrain shifted to cooler colors and cooler temperatures. Everything seemed more gray and snow patches slowly emerging.  These cold grassy fields then turned into a mossy landscape with solely evergreens.  Eventually the pine trees also disappeared and snow and clouds became dominant in the landscape.  Approaching the Niederhorn funicular station, the massive steel supports were barely visible in the direction down to the Thunersee.  However, to the north into the Justistal the greens were incredibly bright covering the entire bottom of the valley. Tiny brown specks for houses were visible and thin winding lines connected them. We took photos at Niederhorn  and then visited the restaurant.  All of the tourists from the funicular flocked here for warmth after realizing the temperatures that come with such high altitudes.  We ate our packed lunches and I ordered a celebratory beer.  Gleb thought it was too cold for beer and stuck to tea. For a minute we considered taking the funicular down, but at 30 francs a person, it was an easy decision to simply hike back down the mountain to camp.

SONY DSC
starting the hike up grassy hillsides

SONY DSC

SONY DSC
hiking through the hillsides
SONY DSC
lush forests
SONY DSC
mosses, ivy and pines
SONY DSC
rocky trails
SONY DSC
ferns
SONY DSC
bright forests shifting to colder high altitude grasslands
SONY DSC
grasslands shifting to pine forests with patches of snow still present in May
SONY DSC
a snowy tundra landscape nearing the summit
SONY DSC
hiking up a pebble path
SONY DSC
up into the clouds
SONY DSC
the funicular railway lost in the clouds
SONY DSC
Niederhorn
SONY DSC
Justistal
SONY DSC
looking down into Justistal
SONY DSC
lust forests
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s