Since my train back to Amsterdam after the photography workshop did not leave until 1:00 pm, I had a morning in Interlaken to do something outdoors. With the Hardergrat rising some 800 metres just north of the city centre, hiking to its western summit, the Harderkulm, was an easy choice.
The weather continued to be less than stellar as I awoke to the sound of rain. I set out in the dark, rain gear on and my cameras packed safely away in my weatherproof backpack.
The climbing started immediately after passing the funicular station (which of course is the easy way up). About half way up the rain finally tapered off and I continued to walk through intermittent clouds. The trail broke out of the trees a couple of times: once to cut across a picturesque Swiss farm; another time for a lookout view over Interlaken. After a lot of uphill walking, there was a nice stretch of relatively flat hiking as the trail headed the west end of the Hardergrat ridge. A short climb later, I reached the Harderkulm station. I was definitely the first person up for the day and had the whole observation deck to myself.
And what a view awaited me! The clouds were moving quickly through the valley and the sun was in the right position for some terrific Jacob’s Ladders. I spent some time trying to find the best photograph in the quickly changing conditions; the one above is my favourite.
All too soon, it was time to head back down. I quickly saw that this was a popular fitness hike with the locals as I must have passed 10 to 15 people hiking up as I descended. I retraced my steps back to the hotel, and celebrated the end of a great long weekend in the Alps with a hot shower and a good breakfast.