Pragelpass to Silberen

Pragelpass (1550m) – Alp Älpli (1746m)- Silbernalp (1892m) – Silberen (2319m) – Butzenalp (1780m) – Pragelpass
5.5 h (walking time), 13.5 km, 900m ascent & descent

During my last hike, I saw another pass behind the Klöntalersee leading to a valley called Muoatatal which connects the Canton Glarus with the Canton Schwyz. I knew where I would hike next.

We drove up a narrow, winding road to the tranquil Klöntalersee and then continued up to the Pragelpass. The imposing Glärnish mountain peaks tower over the lake and it is at first difficult to imagine that there is a car road-going beyond this wild mountain area. This road leading to the pass is so narrow that two cars cannot cross each other. At 10am, the top parking is already full, to our surprise.

With a mental note that the farm next to the parking lot offers milkshakes, we started walking. One hour later we passed the alp Älpli and soon came to a fantastic viewpoint which we had all to ourselves. For about 15 minutes that is. Then three parties with kids joined. We suddenly were about 20 people with the noise level of a kindergarten. We walked on…

The first part of the hike is a gravel path, originally made for agricultural purposes. We walked past numerous cows, sheep and goats while enjoying fantastic views of rugged Glarnerland peaks.

After Silberenalp, the green pastureland ended soon and a distinctive karst terrain appeared. The large karst plateau of Silberen looks rather unfriendly yet strangely beautiful. The rocks are deformed and cracked by the sheer power of nature.

The hiking path is meticulously marked with white-red signs. The splitting rock surface is tricky to walk on. It would be terribly painful if we slip and get trapped in a crack. I felt reassured to have my first-aid kit at the bottom of my backpack,  just in case. 

Occasionally using hands to climb up, we finally get to the top of Silberen (2319m) and are rewarded with impressive panoramic views. From here, we see six lakes at a time: Zürichsee, Greifensee, Pfäffikersee, Sihlsee, Wägitalersee und Vierwaldstättersee. Absolutely magnificent!

On the way back this karst terrain continued for quite a while so that we had to watch our steps carefully.

Back at the farm we enjoyed a refreshing milkshake made by a friendly farm owner and bought some local cheese to bring along.  We drove down the narrow Muotathal towards Schwyz for the first time; it was another discovery in Switzerland!

It was a strenuous but marvellous hike.  The day ended with a swim in the lake of Zurich and a nice meal with Philippe’s cousin David, Joëlle and their two kids.

The route details

Hike around Mürtschenstock

6h, 17 km, 900 m ascent, 1’400 m descent ; Filzbach – Berghaus Habergschwänd 1’278 m – Talalpsee 1’086 m – Spaneggsee 1’425 m – Mürtschenfurggel 1’840 m – Obstalden 685 m

We drove by the imposing Mürtschenstock next to the Walensee probably more than 100 times on the way to Graubünden. This time it was the destination. Read More

Eating on board

A great boat, good weather, tasty food, wine, and pleasant company are perfect ingredients for a very enjoyable time… Read More

Gothenburg

We spent the night at the small port of Kullavik and enjoyed a nice sunset and a quiet evening, despite blasting music and other festivities on the traditional Midsommardagen, the longest day of the year. Read More

Kerteminde to Grenå (DK)

Day 8: Kerteminde – Grenå, 11 hours, 61 nm, departure: 9:10am

Our two stops in Denmark were probably not completely legal. Denmark has just opened its borders and a limited number of ports in a few areas of northern Germany only. We decided to take the risk and see what happens. Nothing happened. Except for a surprised Danish lady on a sailing boat, there was no questioning, neither from port authorities nor from the coast guard. They could have seen us on the automated identification system which sends Maraneas’ identity and its location in real-time.

But then we stayed just a few hours overnight anyway, took a shower and sailed on. Read More

Great Belt – Storebæl DK

Day 7: Kiel – Kerteminde, 14.5 hours, 82 nm, departure: 7:30am

Today’s sailing was phenomenal – absolutely beautiful and tranquil.  Such a day gives me the sheer joy of being on the water.

Except for about an hour of sailing, we had to use the motor to sail up to Denmark. That, in return, allowed us to just sit and enjoy the incomparable beauty of nature and one of those wonders of human engineering. Read More

Crossing the North Baltic Sea Canal

Day 4: Heligoland – Brunsbüttel, 9.5 hours, 55 nm, departure: 9:40am
Day 5: Brunsbüttel – Giselau Kanal, 4.5 hours, 40 nm, departure: 9:45am
Day 6: Giselau Kanal – Kiel, 8 hours, 60 nm, departure: 9:30am

Leaving Germany’s only offshore island Heligoland, we head for Kiel. Given the roughly 100 km landmass in-between, boats have two choices. Either making a detour of about 240 nm (440 km) passing the northern tip of Denmark, or crossing the NOK (Nord- Ostkanal or Kiel Kanal). Rather strong winds made us go for the latter. Read More

Norderney to Heligoland

Day 3, 12 hours, 54 nm, departure: 5am

We left the mildly interesting island of Norderney at 5 am, so we would have a better chance to get to Cuxhaven by the end of the day. We soon figured out that our plan was not realistic due to the lack of wind and unfavorable direction. So we changed the destination to Heligoland, a small island closer than Cuxhaven. In fact, every day, we make a plan and then end up changing it. That’s a part of the fun! Read More

Makkum to Norderney

Day 1 & 2, 22 hours, 116 nm, Departure: 9am

Sailing is driven by wind strength and direction,  the state of the sea (i.e. waves, currents), the characteristics of the sailing boat and the crew. Shortly after my arrival, Marius and I sat down to discuss the options for the first day. We decided then to sail as much eastwards as possible because the forecast indicated rather strong winds, actually close to gale force, which often results in rough seas.

Our first intended destination was Borkum. But after only a couple of hours of efficient sailing under motor, we covered more miles and arrived in Norderney. It took a bit longer but brought us closer to the North Baltic Sea canal.

Read More