PART 1: TRIFT BRIDGE
On my birthday this year, instead of throwing a party in the city, I planned to spend the day in the Alps. After all, how often does someone get to spend his/her birthday in Switzerland...:). But I didn't feel like visiting the crowded tourist spots and ended up searching for this beautiful bridge in the heart of a glacier.
The Trift Bridge is the longest pedestrian only suspension bridge in the Swiss Alps. It lies in the Grimse lwelt belt. The journey to the bridge from the foothills consist of a cable car ride of 12 minutes followed by a hike through rugged terrain for around 1.5 hours. Alternately, people interested in an extreme hiking experience can avoid the cable ride. The whole trip was planned in a way that instead of taking the same route for the to and fro journeys to the region , we decided to avoid the usual route suggested by SBB and chalked out our own round trip plan to avoid revisiting the same locations.
The most challenging part of the climb was not the boulders on the way but my attire. A medium difficulty level trekking route and a girl all dressed up in skirt and ballerians and a hat !! Most of the fellow passengers were taken by surprise and a few of them even warned me pointing at my shoes. But the happiest moment was when I was the first to reach the destination among my friends.
- Plan the whole journey very well and keep a hard copy of the itinerary as public transport is not very frequent. So, missing one connection can disturb the whole plan.
- Check for the weather forecast. On a bright sunny day , expect a huge turnover. Thus creating long queues at the cable car stations.On a cloudy day, expect freezing temperatures.
- Proper hiking attire and shoes are a must as the road to the bridge is quite a challenge.
- Carry water and food as no cafe is available on the hiking route.
- This is a medium difficult trekking route. So take it up only if your health permits.
Travelling from Zurich:
We took an early morning train from Zurich HB. The route that we planned to reach Trift Bridge was was :
- Zurich ->Arth Goldau->Goschenen : By train, Time taken : 2 hours(depending on the connections)
- Goschenen->Steingletscher, Susten->Nessental,Trifbahn: By Post Bus service(1 hr 15 minutes)
Other route: Zurich ->Luzern->Meringen
The post bus route from Goschenen to Nessental was an amazing one with the meandering road ,snow peaked mountains and the river below.The landscape looked straight out of an wallpaper.On reaching the Nessetal, Trift Bahn which is the lower station of the cable car , we booked the tickets first(Ticket fare: 21 francs).Due to a cloudy weather , the queue wasn't huge. Our turn came in half an hour. On a bright sunny day , expect a waiting time of 1.5 hrs or more.A small cafe is available in the lower station along with a washroom.
The cable car accommodates 8 people at a time.The journey and the view is breathtaking with sound of the river gushing down the mountains deep inside the forest and we moving on top of the ...... trees.
A 12 minutes ride took us to the upper station, UnderiTrift. From there, climb down a fleet of stairs to start the actual hike. The path is a natural one with boulders and gravels and sheep and goats. At regular intervals, marking on the rocks in red and white would guide us. Half way towards the bridge, the path divides into two- a longer easier one and a shorter difficult one.
Due to the time constraint we chose the shorter one which turned out to be quite a challenge. A few parts of the path was too narrow which required a good grip on the ground and a good hold on the rock beside. A simple slip and we would roll down the steep side of the mountain like jack and jill. After around 1.5 hrs we reached our destination.