The top of the Augstbordpass was very misty and we headed quickly down the other side into an avalanche of rocks. The hike down was ridiculously hard and crazy. I imagine the views on a clear day are spectacular, but hiking through these impossible rock paths in the mist was somewhat awesome. The trail was really quite amazing. Definitely don't want to fall off the side of this mountain. Eventually, after quite a long hike on the rocks, we made it to a little town up in the mountains. We came into a courtyard area with fountains and a pond. It reminded me of a scene from Legend of Zelda. We looked for treasure chests, but there were none that we found. It was starting to rain and we headed over to the cable car….which was closed. We deciphered the timetable and it seemed that at 1:00 PM it would open back up. Since everything in Europe closes during lunch, this seemed like a safe bet. Some other hikers passed through and were inpatient and started the 1.5-hour steep hike down to St Niklaus. We waited and were rewarded with an easy ride down the mountain to St Niklaus. The guy from Portland was in the cable car with us. It was so great not to have to hike down the steep trail (and it was ridiculously steep). We figured that one of the girls in the group that didn’t wait probably pushed the guy off the mountain during the hike down because he didn’t want to wait. Wrong move for sure. Plus, we got to see the drunken fat French guy running the gondola. He was one drink away from death. Good to know we were in his tender care as we moved down the mountain over impossibly steep cliffs.
In St Niklaus, we looked around the town for a few minutes and then caught the train up to Zermatt. The train ride up to Zermatt is so amazing. The German conductor guy wouldn't accept our transfer tickets, so we had to pay, but it was just so great to be on a train. We arrived in Zermatt and it was rainy. Zermatt is a big tourist town, so it was full of people from all over the world with their luggage and stuff. We were back in civilization. Just a few hours earlier, we were in one of the quietest places on the planet and now we were back in civilization with credit card machines, trinkets, and train schedules. Although it is great to be pampered, there is something wonderful about being alone in the mountains. We hiked over to the Hotel Ginabelle and plopped down onto our luxurious beds. It was definitely nice to be back in comfy beds compared to the Hotel Schwarzhorn.
Dinner was phenomenal and over the top. The Swiss take food seriously, and it was wonderful to have a great meal after hiking in the mist and the rain. Every hike we did on this trip was fairly strenuous. Wonderful food is a great reward for hiking over the steep passes between the valleys.