My first mountain hike

Have I mentioned that hiking is the Swiss national obsession? I was wrong.

Glancing at one’s watch is actually the national obsession. Sorry. Cultural stereotype.

But number two on the list of national obsessions is most likely hiking. People here like to hike. And in a country as beautiful as this it would be sinful not to get outdoors and walk.

On Saturday I took my first mountain hike. By Swiss standards, I know, it wasn’t much. A cable car ride, a walk on a surprisingly well-maintained hiking trail, a stop somewhere for beer, and then talk with with other hikers (and beer drinkers). It’s not a bad life.

I have a new camera (kind of a big step up for me from the point-and-shoot I’ve used for most of my life) and took a few pictures as I walked. I hope you like these…


Our hotel was above Lake Lucerne which was obscured by cloud cover. The trail I took required a cable car ride to an even higher altitude.


That’s the path. As you can see, not exactly a highly technical climb.


Swiss hikers generally know where they’re going and how long it will take to get there. Highly competitive Americans who hike in Switzerland feel superior when they arrive ahead of schedule. (High fives all around!) Note the reminder at the bottom to keep your dog on the leash. Seems cruel to the dog.


The reward for walking a few meters, as I mentioned, is a beer and a few other things.


Apparently the wind on Saturday was just right because one after another of these gliders took off. I don’t know that I would be able to run off the side of a mountain, but the gliding looks like fun.

My next hike is planned for October 25. Meet me at the French Reformed Church in Zurich. Air fares are lower at this time of year, and fall in Switzerland is gorgeous. Join me?

About Doug

I have been a writer ever since fifth grade when I won second prize in a “prose and poetry” contest. I am also a Presbyterian pastor, and for several years toward the end of my career I lived and worked in Zürich, Switzerland. I am now retired and live just north of Holland, Michigan, along the lake.

10 Responses to My first mountain hike

  1. Alan Marcelius September 29, 2014 at 6:43 am #

    I would love to join you. Hiking is one of my great loves, and it is exhilarating.

    • Doug September 29, 2014 at 10:16 am #

      Good to hear from you, Alan.

  2. Bruce Chapman September 29, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Do Swiss differentiate between “hiking” & “climbing”; or, say “Alpine” or “lowland” trails? My Swiss image is Alps – Annapurna, Etc. Will you venture such elevations? I visited Zermatt once, rode cable to a lesser hill below Matterhorn & “hiked” to near snow line in its pyramid-like shadow. A weathered, curvilinear stick of laurel (?) from that excursion hangs in my man-cave shop today, reminding me of that Swiss adventure. My guess is you’re enjoying such, too; blessings!

    • Doug September 29, 2014 at 10:15 am #

      Bruce, I’m guessing that the Swiss make lots of distinctions that I’m not aware of – in hiking and most everything else. I’m also guessing that climbing is a sport all its own, with a unique set of equipment and terminology. Good to hear from you!

      • Toni Eisenhauer September 29, 2014 at 11:45 am #

        I think you’d better get out your paint brush. That first picture is a real winner. Wasn’t your Dad a painter? Maybe it’s in your genes ! Love reading your blog.

        • Doug September 29, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

          Toni, good memory! You can’t grew up in an artist’s home without learning a little about composition and such. We’ll see where this leads. I hope you’re well.

  3. Miriam Hage September 29, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    BEtsy and I ran off the mountain to hang glide in New Zealand. You can do it! It was exhilarating. Micki

    • Doug September 29, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

      Hard to believe, Mick! But all I need, really, is a challenge like that. Next time I’ll jump off the side of a mountain.

  4. Rev. Andrew Gifford September 29, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    Nice pictures…where’s the beer?

    • Doug September 30, 2014 at 12:31 am #

      You’ll have to trust me on that, Andrew. It wasn’t a Bud Lite either.

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