• Appenzell
  • Alpinwanderweg Marwees – A Mental Exercise

    Tiina Kivelä

    From a movie I watched recently I picked up the sentence go beyond your body’s complaints. In there it was said by a person with not so good intentions, but for me, it pretty much sums up most of my exercises and mountain endeavours, in a good way. And for me, it’s going beyond both the body’s and mind’s complaints, especially when doing things by myself.

    I did the season’s first alpine hike on this Saturday, on a mountain called Marwees in the Alpstein massif in Appenzell, which offers a nice ridge and about an hour of demanding alpine hiking route, alpinwanderweg (further explanations in here), with excellent views (if you manage your nerves well enough to pay attention to them). And it was definitely a tour which brought me beyond my body’s and mind’s complaints.

    It was steep, it was narrow and it was challenging, and it was more than once I thought why did I come up here, head all dizzy and legs a bit shaky. But in the end, I did it, and even though the legs were mashed especially after the final downhill (total 17,5km, 1199m up and 1199m down, 6h) it was again one of those things which brought me forward, mentally and physically and trained my nerves.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    For the same tour (note that it’s demanding and only for the very experienced hikers) go from Wasserauen (in Appenzell region in Eastern Switzerland) to Seaalpsee and head up to Meglisalp from there. Then, turn left and up from the tiny settlement and in the crossroad of paths on the shoulder choose the blue-white path leading to Marwees (or well the exact mountaintop stays in the left while you continue the path on the right side to the ridge) and eventually to Bogartenlücke and back to Wasserauen.

    On this tour, many were passing me another way round, so I guess it’s good (might be even better) the other way round. That way, you also have the excellent chance to continue the bluewhite path to and over Hundstein and from there down to Fälensee.

    This time, as it was a very hot day, I did a little detour in the last section, to dip sweaty myself into the Seealpsee, which that time of the day around 6 pm had gotten rid of most of the day tour and picnic crowds and was just enough cool to give a brief remedy to the aching muscles and joints.

    Extra tip: Alpine routes aka the alpinwanderweg are extremely good for the skilled ones during the high season since the easily reachable sights like the Seaalpsee normally have almost (just almost though) too many people on the paths leading to there and back. This time lack of funds also kept me away from the cable cars, which is another good way to avoid time wasted in lines and crowded paths (and save money and get extremely good exercise). 

    And if you wonder, that wagon over there is the station bar in Wasserauen. One of the cutest I’ve seen in my adventures. 

     

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    The trip was easy. It was no more dangerous than crossing the street, or driving to the beach, or eating peanuts. The two important things that I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavor is taking the first step, making the first decision. And I knew even then that I would forget them time and time again and would have to go back and repeat those words that had become meaningless and try to remember.

    © Robyn Davidson – Tracks


    Where: Wasseruaren – Seealpsee – Meglisalp – Marwees – Wasserauen, Alpstein massif, Appenzell, Switzerland (map)

  • BLOG
  • Love Letter For Swiss Trail Signalization

    Tiina Kivelä

    I miss you, Switzerland. I’ve been in Finland for three weeks now and even though it’s quite nice here too, I can’t help thinking of you every other minute. You had me at hello last year, and I can’t wait to get back to you. You keep me focused, and your quality of life is just awesome. No-one is perfect but for me, you are good enough. You keep me on track, you keep me fit and you make me happy. And you make exploring, a thing which makes me extra happy, so easy. 

    Up here in Lapland, I feel a bit lost without you. In a matter of fact, I’ve been literally lost a few times, missing your trail signalization. Not in a boring way, there’s still the excitement and challenges left. But you have the base set so that I can concentrate on the other things rather than keeping myself on track. You make sure I find my mountains and my way home in the evenings, without needing to think about it so much. Up here, too many times it’s all about finding the start, the middle and the way home. Views come second when I need to translate the bizarre logic of Finnish trail signalization.

    In Switzerland, all I have to do it jump off the train or my house and find the first signs of by you at the corner of the station/street/condo. Compared to most of the countries, you understand that the trip starts with one’s mind and you don’t let me in trouble searching for the start point already. No, you put the sign pointing to nearest peak right there in the train station. And off I can go, conveniently and excited.

    Some times I have been a bit confused, even with you. When you haven’t been there at every crossroads and when you haven’t pointed to the destination I’ve been initially looking for. But in most cases, an additional map with all the trails (like this – you may click and view the hiking trails from the menu on the left-hand side) would have helped me to solve that little puzzle. After all, it’s good that you also remind me to trust myself and be comfortable with my insecurities. And many times, getting lost ends up being the best part of the trip. As long as it doesn’t end badly.

    I really hope you don’t forget me while I’m away. I’m more than fine sharing you with others but I can’t wait to meet you again next week and let you guide me higher.

    And I will follow you, always.

    Yours, Tiina.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Short Guide To Swiss Trail Signalization and Scales

    • Hiking trails (Wanderwege) are generally accessible trails and usually determined for foot traffic. They generally lead aside from roads carrying motorized traffic and are usually not surfaced with asphalt or concrete. Steep sections are negotiated with steps and areas with the danger of falling are protected by hand rails. Streams are crossed by catwalks or bridges. Hiking trails make no special demands upon the users. Signalization for hiking trails is yellow.

     

    • Mountain trails (Bergwanderwege) are hiking trails, which partly access difficult terrain. They are mostly steep, narrow and exposed in places. Particularly difficult sections are secured with ropes or chains. In certain circumstances streams can only be crossed via fords. Users must be surefooted, have a head for heights, be physically fit and have knowledge of dangers in the mountains (rock falls, danger of slipping/falling, sudden changes in the weather). Solid boots with good sole profiles, equipment appropriate to weather conditions and topographical maps are preconditions. Signalization of mountain trails is a yellow signpost with white-red-white tip. White-red-white painted stripes confirm the route.

     

    • Alpine routes (Alpinwanderwege) are challenging mountain trails. They sometimes lead across glaciers and scree, through rockfall areas and through rocks with short climbing sections. It can not be assumed that any structural provisions have been undertaken and these would in any case be limited to securing particularly exposed sections with a danger of falling. Users of Alpine routes must be surefooted, have a head for heights, be physically very fit and know how to use ropes and pick axe as well as being able to negotiate climbing sections with the aid of their hands. They must have knowledge of dangers in the mountains. In addition to the equipment for mountain trails, an altimeter, compass, rope and pick axe for crossing glaciers are essential. Signalization of Alpine routes is a blue signpost with white-blue-white tip, white-blue-white painted stripes confirm the route. The information panels at the beginning of Alpine routes indicate special requirements (more info here).

     

    • The signalization of SwitzerlandMobility routes (Die Wegweisung der Routen von SchweizMobil – you’re welcomeis standard throughout Switzerland. It is based on Swiss norms for signalization of non-motorized traffic (SN 640 829). It was revised for the realization of SwitzerlandMobility and today is the only international norm for standard signalization of non-motorized traffic. The yellow signs for hiking trails, white signs for the barrier-free routes and red for cycling, mountain biking and skating routes were supplemented for SwitzerlandMobility with the addition of route information panels including route names and numbers. One-digit numbers indicate national routes, two-digit numbers indicate regional routes and three-digit numbers indicate local routes. The route information panels are green for hikers and barrier-free routes, light blue for cyclists, ochre for mountain bikers, violet for skaters and turquoise for canoeists. These colours are also used by SwitzerlandMobility to illustrate the various routes e.g. on maps, information signs and the Internet. 

    Source & more information: Wanderland.ch / Difficulty scales by Sac.ch


    Tiina Kivelä


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