As long as I can remember I've wanted to plan and complete a long distance hike. My first goal was the Appalachian trail. I had planned to do this directly after university, but that didn't happen because I had too much debt and needed to work. Fast forward 11 years, now I live in Switzerland, no longer in debt and earning 5 weeks of vacation a year! Here I have enjoyed many day hikes in the Swiss Alps plus 2 over night hikes. Now I have the opportunity to take two weeks for a hiking trip this coming May. It's not as long as the AT but realistically it's a great trial run for longer hikes.
Since there is still plenty of snow in the Alps in late April early May I have chosen to do the quintessential Swiss thru hike, the national trail #5 Jura-Höhenweg. This trail, as the name implies and those non-German speakers, runs along the crest of the Jura Mountain range.
This mountain range is in between the Alps and the Black Forest providing great panoramic views. It's also not as high as the Alps so it's great for someone who is not in the greatest physical shape. With that though, the whole trail does have quite some elevation changes so by no means is it a flat walk across Switzerland. Right now I'm at the point where all my adrenaline is pumping at the idea of the hike. Planning is half the fun! So far I've only determined that it is possible to do this in two weeks. Fortunately the Swiss organize well! The Wanderland website is a great tool of inspiration and a good start for planning.
What is left to do in the next two weeks...
- Checking my gear is in order
- Perhaps take a day to 'practice' one of the closer legs.
- Buy a new pair of boots - not mandatory for this hike, I could probably do the whole thing in running sneakers.
- Purchase a small cook stove - the one I had in the US was not compatible with the fuel tanks here.
- Plan tentative places to sleep - whether on a farm or off the trail.
- Plan food stops
The best part about this trip is I'm completely in Switzerland and the furthest away from home is 4 hours by train. For me that is a kind of security blanket. If I'm injured, if I decide my body is done, I can hop on the next train and come home. This also allows my boyfriend to join me on the weekends as well. As much as I would love to just go and not look back I realize I'm not in perfect shape and I have never done this type of hike before.
Other things I'm thinking about:
- How heavy I'd like to pack
- This is a well traveled trail so wild camping may require some finesse.
- Do I want to rely completely on paper or electronic or a combination of both
- What types of food do I want to bring
- Water sources - not usually an issue in Switzerland
I'm so excited about this little adventure! The success of this trip may mean more Swiss thru hikes
I also will be trying out 2 different travel journal websites. As I stated above, I'm not sure yet if I will keep my phone off and only for emergencies. I love reading through my old journals and thought this might be a good way to get back into physical journalling. I'm glad you've started reading my blog about this hike and would love to know how it reads.