Alp Camping

On a completely ordinary Saturday afternoon a friend messaged the Canadian Intern Crew™ at work, asking if we wanted to go see the mountains in Quarten – a city in the canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland. The original plan was to take a boat North across the lake Walensee, camp in the mountains, then train back to Zürich in the morning. When Louis and I were waiting for the boat in Quarten, we watched it sail past the dock we stood at. We promptly realized the boat was to be booked in advance. So much for the mountains.

But wait, there’s more.

By the time we inadvertently avoided crossing the lake, the sky was jet black. At least, we thought it was until we looked slightly further up, and realize what we were looking at a seemingly jet black mountain, not the sky. We did what any responsible adults would do, and traveled South instead, having no idea where we were going. We found some trails that seemed to be leading up, so we followed them until about 2am, when it started raining. We scrambled to set up our tents under part of a shed roof near a large pond. In retrospect, we probably scrambled too much. Louis and I mutually thought the other fastened his end of the main tent pole, and by some miracle we simultaneously let go of the pole from both ends. Of course, it sprung right into the freezing cold pond. After dumbfoundedly standing in the rain for a few moments, we discussed what we should do. In the end we decided the best thing to do is drink a Chopfab and set up only one tent.

So we ended up staying in a 2 person tent, that was of course not intended for 2 people. After a sleepless night from the hail and freezing cold, we awoke to a stunning view of the mountains. We couldn’t see anything but the path in front of us the night before, so it was a wondrous surprise! The nighttime rain was a blessing in disguise – the vegetation was extremely vibrant, and it didn’t rain at all the following day.

In the morning, we planned to hike around the area for an hour or two, then head back down the mountain. But one thing led to another, and we ended up hiking to the top of a waterfall instead. That led to yet another thing, and we ended up hiking up to where we saw snow. By this point, we traveled so far, so we decided to hike to the mountain peak. Whoops, that wasn’t the mountain peak. Too late now! So we hiked for another 2 hours or so to the real mountain peak.

As shown above, we ended up hiking about 2.5km up, with completely inappropriate equipment for hiking about 2.5km up. By the time we reached the peak, it was about 6pm. On our way down, we bought some Alpkäse from a local farmer. What an incredible hiking/camping experience!

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