Feeling twice blest, I made two very different trips through the Swiss Alps last year. My husband and I drove through both the French and Swiss Alps after spending time with friends near Grasse. However, later in the year I put my backpack on and walked part of The Haute Route that runs from Mt. Blanc to the Matterhorn. Though I only did the last half of the 12-day trek it was spectacularly beautiful and sufficiently difficult that I felt I earned a notch on my walking sticks. Most of the friends who climbed Kilimanjaro with me journeyed through the Alps, too, so there was a lot of laughter and renewed camaraderie. This time we also got to add wine to the meals at the end of the day: a definite benefit after some of the tough, rocky passages.
There was great variety in the terrain. Some mornings we started in a heavily wooded area and watched as the vegetation gradually dwindled until we were in high meadows with lakes and occasional herds of sheep or cattle with their huge bells. Other times we trekked across piles of boulders and loose rocks. We spent more time looking down than out in those situations. Typically we slept in a valley, hiked 3000 to 3500 feet up each day, went through a pass and hiked 3000 or so feet down again. One reward was seeing the magnificent Matterhorn as the end goal of the trip. A few of us took the train to Lucerne and added a few more memories together.