Via Alpina: Hohtürli to Kandersteg

Via Alpina, Section 13 – Part 2

Griesalp (1’408 m)  – Bundalp (1’840 m) – Hohtürli (2’774 m) – Blümlisalphütte (2’834 m) – Oeschinensee (1’593 m) – Kandersteg (1’176 m)
16km, 1’550 m up  and 1’750 m down

The path from Blüemlisalp to Kandersteg via Öschinensee is, in my opinion, the most scenic and dramatic part of the entire Via Alpina route… and strenuous.

After a day of hard work hiking up, Caroline and I were happy to arrive at the highest point of the Via Alpina, the famous Blümlisalphütte (2834m), in the middle of an impressive alpine setting.

From the hut, we had a sweeping view of the surrounding area, the snow-capped Blüemlisalp mountain chain just behind it and even the Lake Thun far in the north. Some mountains have interesting names, such as Wildi Frau and Wyssi Frau. We took many photos,  enjoyed superb views, and had leisurely lunch on the pleasant hut terrace with other hikers who all looked happy. But we also had to mentally prepare for the long descent to the valley of Kandersteg – 1’700 m downhill, that is.

The descent was terribly steep and slippery. But the dramatic Blüemlisalp Glacier and nearby mountains kept our eyes hooked.

Dramatic glacier views!

Down, down, down….

Soon the shining, turquoise Öschinensee took our breath away!

After arriving at the lake, we met and had a friendly chat with one of our  American hikers we shared a table with at the Rotstockhütte. Forgetting about time, we suddenly realized that the last gondola down to the valley was scheduled in 10 minutes!  We ran frantically towards the station but soon realized that we wouldn’t make it. So instead of putting our feet up in the gondola, those very feet had to carry us downhill another 500 m of altitude loss. Gosh, we were all ready to call it a day and now we had to convince our legs to continue …

Our unlucky situation made me laugh but somehow still put me in high spirits. I’m not completely sure if my hiking friend, Caroline, felt in the same way.
On the way down a car passed by and was stopped by Caroline. He pointed out the way to the train station, but finally felt sorry for us and gave us a ride to the train station. We were very, very grateful!

After saying goodbye to Caroline who was heading back for Zurich by train, I walked to my hotel in Kandersteg and happily put my feet up, reliving today’s stupendous sceneries in my head. It was an exhausting but phenomenal day!

Tomorrow Philippe will arrive in Kandersteg and be my hiking companion for the next 2 days. I am looking forward to it!

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