We know many of you followed our blog because it was about the PCT. We are grateful we were able to share our experience with so many of you.
This week we are embarking on a different type of hiking adventure – the Haute Route in Switzerland. It is nowhere near as long or varied as the PCT but we hope it will be similarly beautiful and captivating. And we hope to make our journey entertaining to follow.
We plan to blog each day to share the literal highs and lows of hiking this stunning trail with you.
When we started planning for a trip this summer, we had initially brainstormed a trip to Italy to visit a good friend who was living abroad for a year. We imagined exploring the Italian Dolomites through a series of day hikes and bicycle rides.
But as we researched our options, not surprisingly the appeal of a multi day trek became undeniable.
We both fantasize about sleeping in our tent night after night, witnessing spectacular sunrises and sunsets and living a simple life again. While personal matters keep us from hiking another really long trail, this 120 mile trek seemed feasible and enticing.
However, after a bit of research and a few conversations with friends familiar with these mountains, we learned that ‘wild camping’ (or tent backpacking) in some European countries is illegal (as in Italy) or highly frowned upon (as in Switzerland).
One friend from the PCT who lives in Switzerland referred to tent backpacking as “savage camping” and something they don’t really do in his country.
Andy did find a handful of blogs from people who have successfully tented the Haute Route, but ultimately we decided to embrace the culture and experience the trail the European way.
We also didn’t want to worry about searching for inconspicuous places to camp every night. Instead we can get to the hut, get settled and go explore.
And so it was settled, we chose to stay in cabanes (mountain huts – some with private rooms and others with dormitories).
The planning for this adventure wasn’t as arduous as other thru hikes. The trail is supposed to be very well marked, we can drink directly from streams (no filtration required), eat warm cooked meals for breakfast and dinner and enjoy the luxury of sleeping in a bed after a day’s walk.
From what we have been told, hiking in the Alps is unlike the Sierra in that the trail goes straight up and straight down.
While 8 – 12 mile days don’t feel like a lot after constant 20+ mile days on the PCT, the significant elevation gains and losses of each day will more than make up for the lack of miles.
And so it begins….stay tuned for what we consider a glampacking Swiss adventure.