A walk in the Maderanertal, a rough valley that has been shaped by glaciers: Sunday

On  Saturday and Sunday, August 17th/18th 2019, we went for a two day photo excursion to the Maderanertal.  It is Sunday now, where we captured impressions from the early morning and from walking around the lake.


Early Sunday morning: The moon is in the west

I get up shortly after six in the morning. The sky is clear. It is almost full moon.

While it is dawning, the fountain in front of the Windgällehütte atrracts me.


The mountain peaks start to be touched by the sun

Some red clouds in the west have appeared above what I think is the Susten. The Galenstock shines fully in the sun.

Also what I think is the Oberalpstock above the Maderanertal starts to glow.


The sun rises

The sun takes its time and I feel cold. Shortly after seven o’clock, the sun appears above the glacier Hüfi Firn, just for a moment, disappears again and reappears in the next gap of the rock to accompany us for the rest of the day.

Now, we enjoy the excellent breakfast of the Windgällen hut, even with fresh yoghurt. By the way, the Windgällenhütte  is not an SAC hut, but it is owned by the AACZ which is the Academic Alpine Club of Zurich, as I have learnt in the meantime.


Saying good-bye to “our” hut and walking down to the Golzeren lake

The family that had slept in the same room with us, is starting for the geology excursion provided by the Windgällenhütte. A documentation hangs around the neck of the husband. He hopes to find some crystals on the way. Back at home I take out my “Die Geologie der Alpen aus der Luft” by Kurt Rüwe and Ruedi Homberger (Weishaupt Verlag 2011) and find a chapter about the Windgällen massif (p. 246/47). The book explains that the top of the Chli Windgälle is made from (older) crystalline basement (kristallines Grundgebirge) and neighbouring Gross Windgälle from (younger) mesozoic sediments. At the Chli Windgälle, the (older) chrystalline basement layer is above the mesozoic (younger) layer. This must be a fascinating excursion.

We say good-bye to the family and to the Windgälllen hut and descend to the Golzeren Lake. It is a pretty walk. While my friend takes photos, I eat blueberries – the first ones I find this year.

We reach the forest and can see the lake Golzeren and the village Seewen below us.

In Seewen we meet many Sunday tourists that have come up by cable car from Golzern Tal. We join them and walk to the lake.


Surrounding the romantic Golzeren lake

A panel explains to the tourists that the Golzeren lake originated by filling the depression, where the retreating glacier left a block of ice that melted later. The village Seewen is located on the end moraine. The lake contains dead wood which provides the habitat for fish and other water creatures. The lake is a paradise for anglers, as young fish are put out regularly, trout and perch, recently also crayfish that eat carrion.

I first focus on mountains and trees reflecting in the lake. This is the Oberalpstock with the stone in the foreground,…

… with the little duck…

… and with some plants. There is a slight wind that changes the image of the reflections.

We reach the eastern shore, amidst swimmers and sunbathers that enjoy the small beach. Great idea to take a swim here. I enjoy the view towards Susten, also reflecting in the lake.

Next I turn to “water games”. There are pebbles,…

… a dead tree (hard to see, yes),…

… a dead wood log that looks like a dog to me (a small rhyme)…

… some water plants and…

… the bear’s breech that is visited by beetles.


Saying good-bye to the Golzeren lake and walking down to Golzern Tal

I take a foto of the Chli Windgälle with its (older) crystalline peak above the (younger) mesozoic layers,…

… look back east to the Maderanertal, where we have been…

… and a look ahead west, where a very steep descent down to Golzern Tal is expecting us… we will be zigzagging down some 500 or 600m.

When we arrive in the valley, I feel my legs – perhaps we should have taken the small red cable car that shuttled up and down above our heads.

While waiting for the bus, I have a bowl of blueberry ice cream, freshly made by the Alpenkiosk. With many other Sunday tourists we take the bus to Flüelen and change trains twice to reach Basel. We have experienced two dry and mostly sunny days with great photo spots and a friendly hut. When back at home, I see a very bright lightning around ten at night – with it two days of rain are ahead of us.

Thank you for having taken me out to this valley that I had not known before!


A walk in the Maderanertal, a rough valley that has been shaped by glaciers: Saturday

A good friend of mine, Swiss with Hawaiian background, proposed a photo excursion to the Maderanertal. I had never been there before and I was impressed by the beauty of this steep valley in the canton Uri.

On Saturday, we started at Golzern Tal (about 800m, lower left hand corner of the map), followed the creek Chärstelenbach to Balmenegg, climbed up to Tritt (1744m, upper right hand corner of the map) and continued to the Windgällenhütte (hut at 2031m), where we stayed overnight. On Sunday, we walked down to the romantic Golzerensee (lake, 1411m) and descended to Golzern Tal. In all we walked about 18km, up and down about 1250m .

Source: Schweiz Mobil

The most impressive places for photos I found, when crossing the waterfalls on the way to Tritt, when staying at the Windgällenhütte (sunset and sunrise) and when surrounding the lake Golzeren.


Starting along the Chärstelenbach

We started our walk in the valley strolling along the Chärstelenbach. I am not sure, whether this wooden gangway really carries two tons…

The wildly churning Chärstelenbach offered the first opportunities for taking photos.

We reach Alp Stössi and see Balmenegg still far away in front of us.

Now I have zoomed in Balmenegg, which is a hotel-restaurant surrounded by trees.


Crossing many, many soothing waterfalls on the way to Tritt

After having reached Balmenegg, we climb up to Tritt. It is very, very noisy from the soothing waterfalls on both sides of the valley. I do like the sound of soothing waterfalls.

We cross one waterfall…

… after the next. Here I stand on a metallic bridge. The rocks are polished above the bridge…

… and below the bridge.

Sometimes the water rests before continuing its way down.

We steeply climb up to Tritt and look back into the Maderanertal. I think of my mum who was a geologist – has she ever seen this valley shaped by glaciers?


Arriving at the Windgällenhütte, with all sorts of animals

The Windgällenhütte is an SAC mountain hut (Swiss Alpine Club). It is a very busy weekend that the hut team manages with a friendly smile in their faces. I had a delicious home-made chocolate ice cream to recover from the ascent.

The hut  is located at the foot of the Windgällen massif and above this swamp. Cows are grazing,…

… accompanied by some joyful alpacas.

Water enters the swamp and creates puddles.

A huge spider has woven its elaborate cobweb in front of the window.

We have dinner – delicious spaghetti with various sauces and the best nut cake that I have ever eaten.


The setting sun illuminates the clouds

After dinner,  we watch the sun set. The sun is hidden by clouds. It illuminates patches of some mountain slopes…

… and makes the clouds glow. I recognize the Galenstock which is the left-most peak in the background. I know it from a ski tour, many years ago.

The clouds appear as stripes above the Chli Windgälle….

… and glow intensely farther west,…

… where the sun is setting.

It is soon dark and we go inside. In the hut library, I find a book about the history of the Gotthard Pass during the Napoleon wars. Well written, with an objective view of the facts. Unfortunately, I have not written down the title. The book describes the historical events adding the viewpoint of the people from the mountains that suffered during the war around 1800. After having been successful in Italy, Suworow crossed the Gotthard in 1799, arrived too late in Altdorf, because Napoleon had already defeated the Austrians near Zurich. Suworow had to evade, crossed the Chinzig, the Pragel and the Panixer Pass and, with part of his army, he succeeded to return to Russia. In the book I found a black and white copy of Surikow’s painting – here is my photo of the original in the Russian Museum of Petersburg. Swiss mobile suggests the Via Suworow, an eleven day hike following the route of Suworow from Airolo to Ilanz. Perhaps this would be an idea for another hike?

Good-night! Until Sunday morning!