It’s been more than two months since the last time I went to the mountains. At that time, landscapes were still white and pristine, lakes were frozen… Since then, spring has arrived, unusually dry and warm. The snow has melted almost everywhere and the green grass covers the idyllic Swiss landscape again. Or at least, that’s what I can see in my little Swiss town!
For the last month, the country has been slowly reopening. As the number of coronavirus cases goes down, more and more businesses are allowed to reopen their doors… But I find myself too comfortable at home and in my little Swiss town. Even if restaurants, cafes and shops in Zurich are welcoming customers again, I have a hard time to find a reason to go to the city. Maybe I have what psychologists now call “cabin syndrome”. I feel safe at home and I prefer not to go out… Well, if the country is opening, I can’t stay forever at home. So last weekend I forced myself to put on my hiking boots, take my backpack and my camera and jump in the car…
As it has been some time since the last hike, I chose an easy trail to a very picturesque and not very known destination: Griesslisee or ” Gletscherseeli” (literally, little glacier lake), a beautiful tiny lake at the end of Clariden glacier in the mountains of Canton Uri. The drive to the start of the path is already an adventure: the road takes you along the eastern shore of the beautiful lake Lucerne (or Vierwaldstättersee) and then it climbs the winding roads of Klausen pass, between the cantons of Uri and Glarus. The trail starts just at the highest point of the mountain pass, in Klausenhöhe, at 1948m above sea level. Even in late May, there is still snow covering the slopes at either side of the road. Up there it felt as if time had not passed and it was again early spring! As we started walking over snow patches, we rapidly arrived to the old glacier bed, a moon-like landscape of grey rocks and snow. As we felt a cold glaciar breeze on our faces, we knew the lake and the glacier weren’t far. Soon, we saw it. The turquoise little lake – sometimes colourless and grey, as clouds were coming and going, changing the light continuously – covered almost completely with floating ice, and the vertical ice wall where the Clariden glacier ends, surrounded by mountains. It is quite a view, as there are not many glaciers in Switzerland like this one! We enjoyed an improvised picnic with views of the lake before we went down to walk around it. After that, we headed back to Klausenhöhe and drove down the mountain pass to the green valley of Linthal, in Glarus.
I’m not sure when I will go back to the mountains again, but doing this little hike has been like having a bit of normality for a while… It’s not that easy to find hiking destinations in Switzerland these days where you can practice social distancing! So now I’m dreaming of the next hike… I hope it comes soon! In the meantime, here are some photos I took in Griesslisee and Klausenpass. I hope you like them!
PD: if you want to do this hike, please, plan it properly! There are parts of the trail that require some advance hiking skills and are not suitable for people with vertigo or fear or heights. Always check the terrain and weather conditions before a hike 🙂