Isenfluh - Schynige Platte
Via Berna Trail No. 14
Many metres in altitude, but it's worth it
Early in the morning we share the train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen with many excursionists. Still a little sleepy, we board the small PostBus in Lauterbrunnen. All the seats are taken, so some passengers have to stand during the 20-minute ride. "Why don't they have a bigger PostBus," I ask myself. But it soon becomes clear to me why. The road up to Isenfluh is narrow and winding - there are hardly any possibilities for oncoming traffic to take evasive action. A large part of the route runs through a tunnel. We get off at the terminus and marvel at the view, while all the other passengers make their way to the cable car in the direction of Sulwald. For us, instead of going up, it's a steep descent on foot. As soon as we reach the forest, we experience our first surprise. A rustling can be heard and shortly afterwards a chamois jumps through the bushes close to the edge of the path. Unfortunately a bit too fast for our still sleepy reflexes to pull out the cameras. After about an hour we reach Zweilütschinen and enjoy the first - and last - flat metres to Gündlischwand. From here on it's a steady climb. We have to overcome a whole 1300 metres of altitude, without even a single flat section. We are not quite aware of this as we tackle the first metres in altitude. Our pace is high, also because we are trying to escape the many flies and brambles. After the first metres in altitude - and unfortunately also the first stings - we have made it and slow down our pace slightly.
Two thirds of the ascent is in the forest. Unfavourable because of the beautiful views one misses, but very advantageous in fighting the heat that prevails on this day. We enjoy the view all the more between the mighty tree trunks and at the few small clearings. Or are we just looking for a reason to catch our breath a little? We leave the forest behind us and reach a small plateau from which we can see the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau behind the Männlichen. Another good reason for a drink and photo break. The closer we get to our destination, the more mystical the triumvirate appears. We hike past cows and leave the last few metres of altitude behind us before we spy the Schynige Platte railway station behind the next rock. The long-awaited sweet drink and the summit beer come closer with every step. We only notice on the last few metres how popular the Schynige Platte is as an excursion destination. People are everywhere, whipping out their cameras for souvenir photos. It's quite different during the ascent, only one family crossed our path. After the longed-for drink and a short break, we also take our souvenir photos and, exhausted but happy, join the excursionists on the Schynige Platte Railway. On the way to Wilderswil we enjoy the last great views - and treat ourselves to a little nap in between.
On the way for you: Mara Kurz and Christoph Bill