Saturday, September 1, 2012 (Day 15)
weather: cool, cloudy
This morning was yet another cloudy day in Appenzell, threatening rain, so we can certainly say we’ve seen the town in the rain. It did give us a chance to visit the museums and cultural areas that we might have skipped to go hiking, so that was good. We had our breakfast at the hotel, stealing some bread to make sandwiches for lunch on our later train and spent the morning packing up. We took the 11am train towards Chur and had an easy trip there with a transfer or two thrown in there for fun.
From Chur, we had to catch the bus to the tiny, tiny town of Trin where we are staying in a B&B. It turns out there were 2 bus companies with two different stops. Once we figured out we had to climb above the train station to find the Post busses, it was easy to hop on the bus. We were also happy to note that our Swiss Pass works on the Post buses, which just makes things easier!
In Trin, we had a small uphill walk to the B&B La Val, but it was easy to find and our host was amazingly helpful. Once we dropped our bags, she gave us books and maps and even a recommendation for an afternoon hike. We were skeptical because of all the low hanging clouds, but it was easy to pack all our rain gear and immediately head out for the hike.
The hike turned out to be quite awesome. The clouds were low in the pine trees going up the sides of the mountains creating a very spooky, but also photogenic effect. We could see down to the valley on our left where the Rheine River flows and then could tell there were mountains on the other side of the valley, though we couldn’t see much beyond the low clouds. We also really couldn’t see much higher up our side of the mountain due to the clouds. However, our hike ended up working out perfectly. It was neither too cold or too hot, though we did stay in our fleeces for most of the hike.
Our basic path started at our B&B in Trin and we walked down the mountain towards Trin Mulin. From here, we followed the yellow signs pointing us towards Lake Crestasee, then the signs towards Lake Caumasee. Finally we followed the signs towards Flims, which is 7km up the road from Trin. Trin is really a purely residential town with shops consisting of a post office, a bank, and a grocery store. There was a restaurant, though we never saw it open. Flims has more restaurants, so it will make a good stop at the end of the hike to find a place for dinner.
We started hiking about 3:30pm and hiked all the way until after 7pm (12.4 km, total). Lake Crestasee was completely deserted, but amazing with it’s turquoise coloring and boardwalk that only held us about an inch above the water level as we walked out. The lake is popular as a swimming destination as we could see a diving platform in the middle of the lake, however, no one was out swimming on a day like today. We were most amused by the one duck on the lake who was just quacking up a storm! He was here and wanted the whole world to know it. =) When he saw us, he immediately swam our way looking for bread crusts, though when we didn’t toss him any food, he swam away, though staying close. We even walked around to a different part of the lake and he quacked his way over to us again. =)
While at Lake Crestasee, we had a misty rain start up, so we put on our raingear for the rest of our hike. Luckily, the rain didn’t stick around very long at all, and we soon had pulled off the rain jackets. While it was rainy, though, we were interested to see that a passenger van was ferrying people back and forth along the same back road we were hiking on. When a fancy car carrying a bride and groom and sporting a wreath of flowers on the front drove by, we realized someone’s wedding was getting rained out. I’m sure it is a beautiful area to get married. Too bad it’s cloudy and wet.
After more walking, more or less the only people out walking along, we came across an observation point recommended by our B&B host. Wow, and what a viewing platform it was! It was a pretty amazing sculpture with a triangular platform a couple levels up. The platform was suspended out over the edge of the cliff edge for amazing views of the gorge below. The artist took all kinds of things into consideration from using steel cables to hold the structure up to the light wood pattern of the platform, all so that the platform would blend with nature as much as possible. We were impressed.
Finally, our hike made it to Lake Caumasee around 6:30pm and we were surprised to find that the whole lake was surrounded by metal fencing. At first we were annoyed because it really detracted from the photos, but we learned that they actually charge admittance for this lake and it’s facilities. Luckily, as we were the only people around, the fence gate was open and we went in and were able to view the lake for free. I also had fun sitting with the ducks as they ate the grass around my feet. This lake is also an awesome turquoise color and very still with great reflections in it. We didn’t spend much time here as it was getting late.
Our walk to the town of Flims was mostly uphill, but we still reached Flims before daylight ended. We pretty much ate at the first restaurant we found, the Pomodoro, an Italian restaurant, obviously. We are very close to the Italian part of Switzerland actually. I was happy with my gnocchi and Mark enjoyed his lasagne and we both were happy with the ice cream dessert.
At this point all that was left was to grab a bus back to Trin where we were happy to note that the dirt path towards our hotel actually was lined with streetlights all the way up. Tomorrow we are going river rafting on the Rheine down below, so tonight we are getting ready for that. It’ll be an early morning for us.