The letter of the day is “A” for Appenzell.
This is the first location for the advanced party: Dad and Mom, and the last location for the large party. This place seems amazing! awesome! and definitely deserves more than one email blast! Hiking trails are abundant here. There are houses and chapels built into rock faces on the sides of the mountains. Swiss folk music and traditional dancing are enjoyed in Appenzell. Cows are paraded down the streets in the Fall. How about crossing Europe’s highest suspension bridge? And here in Appenzell we will be enjoying the yodeling: wordless calls originally sung by farmers and shepherds to communicate messages across deep valleys
Below, are quite a few links on Appenzell if you want to do a little exploring yourself. I will be doing some further research of my own and will post a more in depth review of this destination sometime this week. I’ll keep you updated! I, for one, am completely excited about visiting Appenzell, hearing the yodels echo off the cliffs, and walking on narrow ledges to otherwise unreachable huts.
The following picture is from Rick Steves and this doesn’t look so scary, right?!?!?
Mom says: this is one of the places dad and I are going to hike to. And we may, or should I say I may, cross that bridge. dad would no problem. i am definitely not crazy about heights but can you imagine on a bridge with slats you can see through below your feet. and i am pretty sure it will move when people walk on it. anyone else getting excited? anybody packed yet?
Anyway, beyond Schaefler things got much quieter but more difficult. You MUST have good hiking shoes with good soles and be in reasonably good shape. It is also necessary to be free of vertigo, since some spots along the trail are right at the edge of the cliffs. The most difficult spots have cable ropes to use as a handhold, but there are still other spots where you have to climb over rocks, walk over loose gravel and over packed snow (even in late summer). You can ask at one of the alms (Schaefler?) for a safety rope. I believe this is a harness with two clips so you can clip in at the cable ropes (and use two clips – one before each post and one after, etc.). On the other hand, if you need a harness and ropes for this hike it may be better to take the cable car from Schwaengeralm or to choose a mountain that is not as demanding. The most difficult piece comes at the end, just before the summit. You have to climb up through some rocks and then a very steep area where there is a cable rope and iron or rock steps – not for the faint hearted! Although the route is at times strenuous (e.g., going steeply uphill over gravel fields), it is a gorgeous hike where every few feet you get to see new vistas of the four countries (Switzerland, Italy, Germany & Austria). We took a huge amount of pictures of the mountains and vistas as well as the many flowers. We even saw some ‘Steinbock’ (mountain goats), which were extinct in this area until the 1950s (I believe). The hike from Ebenalp took us about six hours with two longer breaks. We did not rush, otherwise the hike might have been closer to five hours. We did not want to hike down, so we took the cable car from Saentis to Schwaegalp (at $34 per person for a one way fare). We also managed to miss the last bus to Umaesch (the time table had a bus at6:22PM listed but I did not notice that it only runs on Weekends. So we ended up begging someone at the parking lot for a ride. In usual nice Swiss fashion the lady agreed to take us to Umaesch.