An overnight trip to the mind-shattering views of the Swiss Alps panorama deluxe.
Treasures at our Doorstep
Many people in the Swiss lowlands seek to escape the cold and dreary winter months. Some are drawn towards higher elevation, where there is at least snow worth mentioning. Others rather want to get rid of all the slushy matter and long for warmer climes. The strong desire to achieve something unattainable seems to be as sure as the Amen in the church. Yet, by rediscovering these small treasures at our doorstep anew, it allows us to avoid being sucked into this vicious circle without breaking the bank. Sometimes, a life raft is closer than anticipated and this was the escapism that I urgently needed.
If you don’t mind the state of aggregation, you can find a sea and islands in Switzerland too.
Escaping the Winter Blues in the Jura Mountains
My better half and I had been looking for a chance to test our newly acquired winter gear for a while. Whereas I was keen on trying my winter sleeping bag, she was stoked to try the Thermarest X-Therm. At the beginning of January, a window of opportunity arose. Mild temperatures at slightly below freezing convinced us to give it a go. Next stop Jura mountains!
Sunday Afternoon Hike Extended
We started this journey on a Sunday afternoon. After a brief bus ride, we hiked along the frozen paths. The longer we hiked, the less people shared our path. Luck was on our side and the fog boundary stayed a little lower than the hills we crossed. Considering different camping spots, we settled for one further away. Actually, it was the one we tried to reach last year but were caught in a white-out.
Swiss Alps Panorama Deluxe
At our destination, we enjoyed the wonderful views across the landscape. Larissa planned polenta for dinner, yet I was sceptical about its feasibility. The previous time I had attempted to cook polenta outdoors ended in a hungry night and burying a kilogram of dry corn and cheese powder. To my amazement, the polenta turned out perfect and it was delicious.
By the time the last day hikers returned home, we lit up a fire and set up camp. The temperatures plummeted as soon as the sun disappeared behind the hills. The windchill felt far beyond freezing. Therefore, we soon retreated to our cosy – but tight – one-person tent, which provided just enough space for both our sleeping pads.
The following morning, darkness has been lifted off the landscape and gave way to a mind-boggling view. The entire range of the majestic Swiss Alps was visible from our viewpoint. Finally, our gaze met the indescribable grandeur:
Winter Sleeping Gear
Larissa used her Exped Winterlite -6 down sleeping bag paired with the Thermarest X-Therm mattress. I was using the Western Mountaineering Antelope MF (-15°C) in combination with the Thermarest X-Lite. Although, my sleeping bag had a way warmer rating than hers, the cold crept through the three-season X-lite mattress. This clearly showed how crucial the mattress is in every sleeping setup. That is why, I have recently bought the affordable Thermarest Z-Lite foam mattress. Together with the inflatable X-Lite it allows to sleep on frozen ground. Yet, my pack was too heavy to accommodate another item. Henceforth, I had to increase the insulation by stuffing my down jacket below my legs.
Wellness for Body and Soul
After packing everything and leaving no trace but a patch of unfrozen earth, we had breakfast. Then we moved towards our next destination. We decided to round-off this micro-adventure with a treat for body and soul. So, we visited the Sole Uno in Rheinfelden, which is a thermal spa, and enjoyed a wellness experience in manifold sauna and bathing facilities. Perhaps indulging in warmth is not that bad after all.
This trip was a wonderful micro-adventure and a pleasure to share the experience. Escaping daily life with small adventures has proven to be very effective in countering the winter blues. The Swiss Alps panorama was an incredible sight to wake up to. Furthermore, it was a great opportunity to try our gear in order to evaluate on any limitations. The importance of the sleeping pad for warm and comfortable sleep was confirmed yet again. I should have known it by now.
Great sunrise. We really must come to Switzerland (but not for camping in the snow and ice!)
thanks for your comment. Please let me now if any plans come up, I’ll gladly help you with some ideas with indoor sleeping possibilities ;)
I hope Jane has recovered well!
Cheers and all the best,
Twenty-Twenty Rewind - There Are Highlights! - ExpediTom
[…] sleeping bag, I was finally able to stay outside even well into minus degrees Celsius. Friends and my girlfriend joined me on several expeditions chasing wildlife, looking for stunning landscapes and just having […]