With a strenuous route like this, having the right gear is important. Good, sturdy hiking boots, gaiters and hiking poles are essential, as is a strong but lightweight pack. The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, and one must be prepared for snow, rain and high winds, as well as high-altitude sun exposure. The terrain ranges from flower-filled valleys, like in the movie Heidi, to high mountain passes with snow up to your waist. In between are chalets for skiing in winter, and summer homes for the other times of the year. The movie The Sound of Music often came to mind as we strolled through lovely villages in valley areas. Also, along the way, you are likely to encounter herds of contented cows, goats and sheep. They happily eat the rich grasses that spring up after the winter snow. Each animal wears its own bell, so from far away, you can hear a joyous symphony as they munch their way along.
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Photo: Andrew Wilson