Leaving Lenk and cruising over the Trüttlisbergpass
This stage, and the remaining stages, could be more properly classified as “mountain walks” than “alpine hikes.” They’re more relaxing than demanding. More energizing than exhausting. Leaving Lenk is a straightforward ascent of the Trüttlisbergpass. The ascent can be done almost entirely by the Betelberg cable car from Lenk to Leiterli, leaving less than 100 vertical feet of elevation to gain the pass. Once at the pass—another broad grassy expanse—it’s a long, leisurely stroll along the Turbach River to Gstaad. One small highlight you won’t want to miss is the Tube, a small summit just north of the pass. It only requires 226 feet of vertical ascent, but it offers a big panoramic payout with views back to the Eiger and on to Les Diablerets.
Gstaad—Come up, slow down
You can’t help but fall in love with Gstaad. Prada, Louis Vuitton, cows and goats all get equal respect on the car-free Promenade shopping mile. Gstaad is ritzy, touristy, and authentically Alpine charming all at once. It’s true to its roots with 200 farms, 80 working Alpine pastures and around 7,000 cows. Strongly-rooted Alpine traditions are lived and breathed among locals and jet-set transplants alike. Be glad you’re here in summer when you’ll be able to see and smell the Alpine farm life in its peak season. You can expect to pay a bit more for everything in Gstaad from accommodations to groceries, so just accept that up front, relax and enjoy your few hours in heaven.
The Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa) is common, but often overlooked because it’s rather small and close to the ground. It flowers from April to August in both meadows and stony soil up to 2800 meters.
You probably know by now that I love hard mountain cheeses—the sturdier the better. And in these parts, there is none better than Berner Hobelkäse, which means sliced or planed cheese from canton Bern. It’s a raw milk, semi-hard full-fat cow milk cheese that’s normally aged about 2 years. It’s then served shaved, cut with a table-mounted plane-like device. The producers specifically promote Berner Hobelkäse as being ideal for appetizers and hikers—so pack a wedge and off you go.
Via Alpina Stage 17 – Gstaad to L’Etivaz
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