Hiking with kids: Niesen

Quite unusually in the middle of the week went on a trip to the Bernese Alps, to be more precise the direction of Niesen. The 2,362 m high mountain, which overlooks Lake Thun, is for its shape rightly called the Swiss Pyramid.

Mülenen – Schwandegg

The starting point is the station Mülenen. Here you can easily arrive by train, and of course by car (adjacent car park – payd of  course – has sufficient capacity). The funicular train then takes you to top of Niesen – in summer it leaves every half an hour (for more info check www.niesen.ch). We took the ride only to the middle station Schwandegg with a plan that descend from mid-mountain will be for our feet (and especially children´s feet) more than enough.

 

Schwandegg – Mülenen on foot

What we counted on was that we would fight the descent of about 1,000 meters. What we did not expect was the quality of the trail. Unfortunately, the map in the informational leaflet was not quite detailed, and therefore did not know, after what paths will lead our steps.

When we – after leaving the funicular train – had enjoyed a nice view of Lake Thun, we had to look under our feet a lot, because the first third of our journey led mainly in the eroded ditches from the spring thaw. Then the trail led also through the cow pastures where we had the cows literally within arms reach.
The middle part of our descent led on the tarmac road, where our attention not to slip, could ease up a little and we were once again able to enjoy views of the surrounding hills, which were alternately shrouded in white clouds.

Perhaps the greatest experience for us adults was when we met with the selfless help from two local people. It was quite a small thing, but judge for yourself: about half way we stopped to have a snack. Unfortunately, we left the “crime scene” without anyone noticing that the son of our friends with whom we were on this trip, had left his sweatshirt on the spot. After marching about two hundred meters down the road we met a jeep, which was heading towards where we were before. After a few minutes we heard the engine again, we thought the car goes back. It went, but to our great surprise pulled up and one of the men inside was handing us the forgotten sweatshirt. Then they turned and went back in the direction they were heading before. And for a while we could not believe what had just happened – another proof of the Swiss kindliness and courtesy.

After this experience, about two kilometers walk on the tarmac was ahead of us and the final stage of descent through the forest over roots and rocks when our knee ligaments cried under the unexpected effort. To brighten up our mood did certainly not help either that on our way we met two seniors with Nordic walking sticks in their hands and smiles on their faces heading upwards and also two runners (certainly no juniors anymore, age 55+) who ran in the same direction.

 

Finally, after three hours of wandering, we arrived back at the parking lot in Mülenen and then back home we found out that our route measured “only” 6.5 km, which is actually one of the shortest, that we have completed here on our trips to the mountains. But we have sore legs until up today 🙂

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