From Grächen to Zermatt via the longest suspension bridge: part two
When you wake up in the Europahütte and look down you can see the span of the longest suspension bridge in the morning shade of the mountains. It’s at this moment that people like me think “shame, not ideal for pictures”. My advice is to plan the day of hiking so that you arrive at the bridge when it’s lit by the sun to get good images. Plan to arrive in the afternoon. I’d be tempted to start from Zermatt if I did this hike again.
Six minutes to cross
When I crossed the bridge it took about six minutes slowing down occasionally to look at the view. It’s stable and hardly swings. I was able to walk with a camera in one hand without holding on to the cable. It’s nothing like via ferrata monkey bridges and others. If you’re used to via ferrata bridges then this one is tame. The Ladders of Death and other via ferrata are more impressive. I’d compare it to the bridge above Saillon but much bigger.
You can see that the bridge is solidly anchored into the mountain on both ends. It’s a mere 86 meters off the ground and when you walk out and look down you can see the tops of trees like a paraglider would see them. It’s a nice taste of the world as seen from a paraglider.
A Walk in the woods
Most of the hike on the other side is through pine forest with some exposed bits where you can look up and see a glacier and streams flowing as well as waterfalls. At one point you pass above a nice gorge before heading back into the trees. This part of the hike is comfortable compared to the previous day. It undulates less. There is one moment where the trail is covered by reinforced concrete to protect hikers from rock fall. There are two tunnels through which to walk. Between the two tunnels, you can see damage created by large boulders. In one case the reinforced concrete is buckled. at another section the concrete has been pushed down vertically. For a brief moment you go back into the trees and head upwards again. Saplings have had time to grow in this section, implying that rockfalls have not occurred for a few years.
There is a prairie with warnings of active rockfall and at this segment of the hike bunkers have been dug into the side of the mountain. If you hear or see rocks falling you can shelter here until the danger has passed.
I feel that Zermatt should have many more solar panels on roof buildings than it has. After decades of electric cars and horse drawn carriages you’d expect them to seize the opportunity to generate and use their own power.