After our lovely stay in the Saastal we needed to move on. We only had a couple of weeks before we needed to get home and had to pick up the pace if we wanted to avoid a mad dash back to Calais. We also had a decision to make; which of the passes at the end of the Rhône valley would we tackle. This would determine the final part of our route through Switzerland.
First of all though we wanted to go back to the Aletsch Arena. We wouldn’t stay in Brig this time, instead we would stop a little further up the valley, taking us some way further on our journey, though admittedly it was only a few kilometres.
Staying at Betten Talstation
We had seen on Park4Night that the sizable car park at Betten Talstation was tolerant of people parking overnight so we thought we’d try it out. It’s the car park for the cablecars that go to the Aletsch Arena villages of Betten and Bettmeralp.
The car park is between the road and the river. It’s just a car park without any services although the cable car station is open until late and has toilets and a small cafe. We drove into the main area where we had to collect our parking ticket and then through the end of the first car park, via a traffic light controlled narrow road to the overflow carpark where a couple of small vans were already parked up. We parked close to the river so that it’s constant noise would drown out any traffic. Then we kitted up for a walk and headed to the cable car.
The machines to validate and pay for your parking are located at the base of the station. We made sure to get out before our initial 24 hours were up. After the first day you have to pay in whole day increments and we didn’t really want to pay for a day we weren’t going to use.
A circular walk from Bettmeralp
During or morning drive Paul decided that his body was still suffering after the bumps and rattles of our cycling yesterday. He asked me to find a shorter walk than the 17 miles I had originally planned which would have taken us right down to the edge of the Glacier.
So I found us a circular route. I know I’ve repeated this a few times, but the maps on the SwitzerlandMoblity app (and website) are amazing and make it so easy to plan your own routes. A change of plan took only minutes to agree.
From the top of the cable car we followed a relatively gentle ascent towards Riederalp (where we had ended our previous walk). To avoid revisiting anywhere we’d been before we stayed to the north of the village and popped into the Alpenmuseum where exhibits gave an insight into living conditions in the high alps. We also passed a small marshy pond where Paul spotted newts clinging onto the grasses submerged in the water.
All along this route we got views of the Valais peaks and occasionally we even saw glimpses of the distinctive peak of the Matterhorn.
When we reached Riederfurka we ascended the ridge onto the Altesch Panoramaweg, walking through pretty pine forests with occasional marvellous views of the Altesch glacier. By now the air had warmed up considerably and we were shedding layers. The forest shade was a blessing and there were a few complaints from Paul when we left the forest to climb higher on the ridge to the vantage point of Moosfluh (which can be reached by a cable car if you’re not feeling energetic).
From Moosfluh we retraced our steps for a while before heading down steep paths off the ridge through the low bushes of bracken and bilberry bushes which were showing their autumn colours.
We skirted the lakes of Blausee and Bettmersee where people were bathing and fishing in the beautifully clear water.
Finally we had a short walk back through the pretty village of Bettmeralp to get the cable car back down to the parking spot.
It hadn’t been the challenging adventure I had planned, but it was still a lovely walk in the beautiful surroundings we have come to expect from Switzerland. The evidence of autumn in the landscape just made it all the more interesting.