Merlen (1099m) – Gspon – Unter Mürtschen – Ober Mürtschen – Murgseefurggel (1985m) – Murgsee – Mornen Alp – Mornen
5.5 h, 900 m up and down, 15 km
There are many ways to reach Murgsee. The circular hiking trail around the Mürtschenstock towards those three lakes was on my hiking wish list for a while. Given that my wonderful husband and occasional hiking buddy was willing to join in and drive to the trailhead, we packed our gear…
The road to the trailhead up from Murg (Wallensee) is an impressively narrow, winding road with an “off the beaten track” appeal. But that feeling changes at the rather big and busy parking space at the trailhead.
We laced up our shoes and started to walk steep uphill in a dense and beautifully wild forest. After about an hour we took our first break on some inviting riverside rocks.
Then we saddled our backpack again and kept passing by waterfalls. Soon our path lead to the open meadow with a pretty stream flowing across and the grey Mürtchenstock towering above it all.
It was quite hot and we were exposed to the sun. We walked on relatively flat terrain for a while, looking for a suitable lunch place and found a pretty spot at the riverside to settle down for the picnic; Philippe’s home-made cheesecake, sandwiches, and dessert. After lunch, I put my feet in the cold refreshing water, while Philippe lay down on the grass for a nap.
Then we had to tackle the 300m ascent to the pass, Murgseefurggel. Six weeks ago we walked the Mürtschenstock round-tour and could see that hiking path on the south flank of the mountain. The rugged surface looked much greener this time and we could recognise the moorland at the foot and the farmhouse we walked then. I like walking on different paths in the same area. It helps me to create something like a mental 3-D map and have a better understanding of the area.
After a steep uphill trail, we reached today’s highest point, Murgseefurggel with sweeping views of picturesque Murgsee nestled in the mountains. Next to the lake, there is a mountain restaurant. Philippe looked forward to a well deserved ice-cold beer.
The Murgsee is also popular for fishing. Newborn fish is brought in a tank by helicopter and released to grow and be fished. But the dairy farming on the slopes all around the lakes leads to a nitrate excess in the lakes. That kills fish and makes the water unfit for human consumption. That pretty mountain hut restaurant located in a wonderful setting between lakes has to fly in potable water. That’s the crazy dark side of picture-perfect mountain farming and tourism.
The path to go down to Merlen was well-maintained and relatively easy. While walking down we enjoyed the views of yet another waterfall and the third lake. But we looked at the transparent water with a mixed feeling and were not any longer tempted to drink it directly from the stream, despite our close-to-empty water bottles.
This hike is full of highlights: streams, numerous waterfalls, meadows, moorland, forests, lakes and the fabulous view of the majestic Mürtschenstock make it a very attractive day out in the mountains.