Hello and Welcome to Summer (right on schedule for Seattle as our summer weather typically doesn’t turn up until after July 4th)!
I recently returned from a beautiful trip over the first part of June to hike with my daughter for eight days through the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. My daughter graduated last month from Arizona State University – a definite proud parent moment! We decided to embark on this trip as a celebratory excursion and it became a mother-daughter trip of a lifetime. We developed a love for hiking over the past four years, as we made it a goal to plan a hike each time we would see each other over summer break. Two of our favorites were visiting Bryce Canyon and hiking Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.
When the opportunity presented itself to visit Switzerland, we knew we had to build out a hiking trip. We used a travel company that coordinated our hotels and planned daily hikes to each new town. We visited various small villages surrounding the Jungfrau Mountain range which soars over 13,000 feet above sea level and is made up of three colossal peaks. This was a self-guided tour, and so it was up to the two of us to navigate our way to each destination. Each day we used our map to travel to our next overnight town. We averaged between 6 to 9 miles a day with ascents and descents around 2,000 to 3,000 feet: we felt the challenge and welcomed every evening meal.
The first day of our journey I enjoyed watching my daughter’s youthful, anticipatory energy. She was determined to set out at a blistering pace. As for me, I’m in decent shape but she had me out of breath on the first ½ mile ascent. I couldn’t help but think, was she was trying to make her mother suffer? I think so! I knew I couldn’t keep the fast pace extended over the course of the day with the type of climbing we’d be encountering. After a few hill climbs, I suggested we set our eyes on a fixed point up the mountain to get to and take a much-deserved break. I needed to get my breathing under control, stretch my calves, and re-hydrate to keep up with miss young and ambitious.
A particular highlight of our adventure was our hike to the town of Murren which sits above the Lauterbrunnen Valley at about 5,400 feet. We came from an overnight stay at Obersteinberg, a farm and hotel built in the 1800s with no heat or electricity. The authentic German built hotel had rooms made floor to ceiling of solid wood. There was no shower and only a commonly shared bathroom. It was meticulously clean, and the rooms had porcelain basins filled with water for a quick wash of your face. This was a stretch for city girls like us. We brought with us for the overnight stay only the essentials that we could carry in our daypacks. After hiking from Wengen though the valley floor and up to Obersteinberg, we were greeted to a dinner of hot soup, garden salad, beef stroganoff and warm apple pie with fresh cream on top. We could have as many helpings as we pleased, and yes, we did have our well-deserved seconds! To keep warm on a drizzly, cool night, we went to bed early and wrapped ourselves in our down comforters wearing the next day’s hiking clothes. We woke the next morning to clearing blues skies and a simple German breakfast of dark bread, butter, cheese, and coffee. As we ate, we read our hiking overview which cautioned us about the steep, gravely climb and equally steep descent into Murren, sometimes causing vertigo due to the trail being very narrow and steep with the view of the valley below and soaring peaks above. It also cautioned us to not take the route in rain or fog. As we looked out the window at blue skies, it appeared that the stars had aligned for us. Checking in with each other, we decided to take on the challenge.
Our hike quickly started with stair stepping up rock and gravel from 5,000 feet to over 7,000 feet over the course of a few miles. Making our way by using our hiking poles for extra balance, we were blessed with enormous views of the surrounding glacier filled mountain range with the sound of gushing waterfalls. It was unnerving at times to see the vast open space between the valley floor and the mountains towering above us. It was a sight we will never forget. While challenging mentally and physically, it was equally as thrilling to see the Alps from this once in a lifetime vantage point. We were grateful that we picked the more challenging route and didn’t let uncertainty get the better of us. While the beauty was not able to be captured by photo or articulated in word, it will be forever stored in our souls as a beautiful, shared memory. It would not have been as rewarding done alone, without the mutual challenge, teamwork, perseverance, oohs and aahs at each turn, and the reward of a fantastic lunch of handmade pizza and beer in the small town of Grindelwald on a sunny afternoon.
After making it back from our amazing trip, my daughter is now starting her first job as a physical therapist with the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix and working her way to a Physician Assistant role. I’m excited for her to see her begin her career journey and the twists and turns it will undoubtedly take.
And while it was certainly a welcome break, I was ready to return home and dive back into the rewarding work of serving clients and curating the client experience at Tschetter Group. I love the relational nature of what we do, bringing optimism in the journey of life and money. Reflecting on this wonderful adventure and shared experience, I hope to encourage you to build out space for meaningful time with the people you love. Time together creates memories and can be as simple as preparing a meal or taking a class together. I learned so much about my daughter by walking for hours with her each day. These moments help us to appreciate the people closest to us and allow us to see people from a new perspective. I met my daughter with fresh eyes, and I have a new love for who she is as a unique individual. I’m glad we both made time to take this journey and to build our relationship. I’m forever grateful!
Wishing you and yours a wonderful summer and looking forward to the next time we’ll connect.