Evolène and hiking to Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges

Like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, our days hiking in the high elevation mountains are numbered. Winter is coming! So we are trying to hike as much as possible before we trade our hiking boots for skis 🙂

Friday night we had dinner at an awesome new South Indian style restaurant around the corner from our apartment, Suku’s Restaurant. Saturday morning we did some errands then hit the road right before 3, headed for the village of Evolène, in the valley Val d’Hérens.  We picked this spot since it’s a new region that we haven’t seen yet and it was further east. This was important since it was supposed to rain in Lausanne and in the mountains nearer to where we live, but farther east it was looking like a better chance of sun. As storms in our region move west to east (from Lausanne toward Evolène) the mountains block the weather and often prevent weaker storms from moving into the depths of the Alps.

Accommodation & Dinner: We stayed at the Pension d’Evolène right in the center of the village. This is a simple hotel. We got a room with a shared bathroom on the top floor with the balcony pictured, with a view of the mountains and village. It was only CHF 78 for one night, including breakfast, which was a pretty fantastic deal!

View of the Pension d’Evolène. Our room was the top floor with the balcony, on the right. Isn’t it cute?!
A simple room, but it was comfortable and had the balcony out front. Perfect for a short stay on a low budget!
View from our balcony of the Dents de Veisivi. Don’t you love the flower boxes and slate roofs? So quaint!
Walking through the village
Some of the houses in the village. I mean seriously, so cute! And the FLOWERS! I swear the Swiss are born with green thumbs and skis on their feet.
After we checked in and walked around the village, we stopped to hang out at a restaurant on the terrace for a while, chatting and reading our books. So relaxing 🙂
We had dinner at the Pension on Saturday night. It was downstairs, so super easy for us, but to their credit also had good reviews online. There were a bunch of locals at the bar and hanging out, so we felt like we picked the right spot! Pictured above is my dinner, which is a deer stew topped with some chanterelle mushrooms (in season in Switzerland right now and you find them on most menus!) with sides of cabbage and spätzli. So so good!

The menu included popular items for the region, such  as cerf (deer) and chamois, which is a type of mountain goat (see wiki here). We even saw a herd of chamois while hiking on Sunday!

We had been watching the weather closely before our trip to this valley, and on Sunday we woke up to grey skies and clouds. As we drove the 20 minutes to the trailhead in the next village up the valley, it started to rain a bit and were inside the clouds. Nevertheless, we hit the trail with optimism, to hike up the mountains with a destination of the Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges. We chose this hike because we were hoping to have lunch at the Cabane and the view sounded like it would be nice (pending said clouds clearing).

Complete white out when we parked the car. You’re looking at what normally is a valley a couple thousand feet below.
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After about an hour of hiking up the mountainside, the light rain switched to ice and then to snow. Our first snow of the season!  At this point we had no idea if the weather was going to clear, and instead just enjoyed the peacefulness of the snow falling around us and having the trail to ourselves.
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How our trail looked. Kind of eery but still a bit cool to never know what’s around the corner because of the low clouds.

So, after two hours of hiking and getting closer to the top, the clouds started to come and go, clearing in areas and giving us fleeting glimpses to the peaks above and across the valley. We arrived at the Cabane, still in the clouds, and decided to sit down and wait to see what would happen. After not even ten minutes, the clouds completely cleared!

Absolutely stunning once the clouds cleared. That’s me right below the flag. It’s so crazy to have been surrounded in clouds and then to look outside after a few minutes and realize THIS is where we were!

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On our hike back down. This valley felt very different from others we have hiked recently. The rocks came in all different colors (dark purple/grey, rusty red, green with lichen), and there were boulders everywhere. There were even a couple lakes, which is unusual for our region of the Alps.
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A herd of Chamois. Sorry for the poor iPhone photo quality! We really need a real camera.
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There are not many deciduous trees in the area, so it is hard to find much Fall color. Luckily, on this hike we got a bit of it as the ground bushes are changing into a firey red. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was pretty!
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On our hike down. Glaciers everywhere on the peaks. Such an amazing day in the mountains!

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