Morning in Zermatt. After my group hikes in Sulden and Vent, I hopped a train to Zermatt for a week-and-a-half on my own.
The street-level tunnel leading to the long elevator to my hilltop hotel. A cross between the Bat Cave and something out of The Wizard of Oz.
My first destination, the Edelweiss, on its perch about 350 meters above the village. Beyond, the Trifttal.
Zermatt seen from the café terrace at Edelweiss.
Looking down the valley from Edelweiss.
Above Edelweiss, the trail follows a mountain stream for a bit. Steep, but easier than it looks.
Above the stream, the trail enters a high valley with good views of the mountains beyond.
Wildflower and visitor.
Nearing the head of the Trifttal, the glaciers appear in the distance.
Tiny butterflies, no bigger than a U.S. nickel.
The final stretch of the trail.
The head of the Trifttal. Above here, the climbing gets more serious, and requires proper gear.
Anyone who gets lost hiking around Zermatt has no one to blame but himself.
At the head of the Trifttal, an oasis.
I've found my lunch spot in the sun, foreground. I climbed 700 meters, so I've earned it.
The walk back down to the village isn't difficult to follow.
The following day, the Trifttal would have been less inviting, being socked in. Alpine weather tends to be very localized.
The village. The throngs of tourists are a constant feature.
More of the hustle and bustle of the village. No internal combustion engines allowed - only little electric cabs and delivery vehicles.
Even on a relatively gloomy day, there are nice trails.
In the Findelntal, the Lunch of Champions - rösti with tomatoes, cheese, and a fried egg.
The weather in the village looked gloomy, but the webcams told the real story - the cloud layer was low. A glorious view of the Matterhorn from the Gornergratbahn.
Can't face the climb? No problem - take the Gornergratbahn.
I was joined by others who had figured out that the overcast in town was misleading.
The Gornergletscher spills down from the Liskamm, Castor, Pollux, and the Breithorn.
The Breithorn (the snow cone at center) and the Klein Matterhorn (the snow-free tooth to its right).
View north from the Gornergrat.
View northwest from the Gornergrat.
The Breithorn and Klein Matterhorn.
Along the trail near Riffelsee.
The Gornergletscher, capped by Dufourspitze (a.k.a. Monte Rosa), the Liskamm, Castor, Pollux, and the Breithorn, seen from Riffelsee.
Clouds dance around the Matterhorn, from the trail to Riffelberg.
The view from the terrace of the Hotel Riffelberg, a perfect lunch stop.
Another light lunch, this time käseschnitte - toasted bread, a layer of chopped pickles, cheese, dried meat, and a fried egg, accompanied by roasted onions, a tomato, and a pickle. Only the hours of hiking every day kept me from putting on weight.
By the time I got down to within sight of the village (here, seen from Riffelalp), the morning's clouds had departed.
The cable car from Sunnegga to Blauherd. I walked, however.
The peak of the Matterhorn, left, disappears in the clouds above the Findelntal.
The western side of the valley, seen from Blauherd.
The high, gentle trail from Blauherd to Fluhalp.
The Stellisee, with the Fluhalp restaurant visible below the Adlerhorn.
Fluhalp below the Adlerhorn.
Along the trail from Fluhalp to Blauherd.
A gloomy day on the flanks of the Matterhorn, seen from Schwarzsee.
Despite the mobs of tourists in town, once you get more than a 15-minute walk away from the nearest cable car, you often have the place pretty much to yourself, as I did on this walk from Schwarzsee down to Stafel.
Looking southwest from the trail to Stafel.
An unusual industrial cable car, part of Zermatt's hydroelectric system, tucked into some of the surrounding valleys.