Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fog Mountain

It was inevitable. Everyone I know that lives here has experienced this cloud phenomenon. You plan a perfect weekend in the mountains in the spring/summer, and you come away with nothing but a foggy, wet, rainy weekend. We've had a lot of rain on our recent weekend vacations, but our whole goal (or hope) in planning a lot of summer trips was to avoid such weather when we were on mountain peaks. But, Mother Nature had other plans for us, so we reluctantly embraced them, and did our best to make the most out of our trip.

I suppose I should tell you where we actually went to see clouds (in case you want to see them too!!)
Mt. Pilatus is at the northernmost branch of the Alps. The legend is that a dragon with healing powers lived in the rocks among the mountain. It's also said that a ghost of a Roman governor found peace in Lake Pilatus, which meant for years no one was allowed to climb the mountain as not to disturb Pontius Pilate.

Click here to see what the mountain looks like from Lucerne (can't show you my pics, because in two trips, we've never seen it.....)

The route to and from Pilatus is called the Golden Roundtrip. You go up one side of the mountain in a cogwheel train, and down the other side in multiple Aerial Gondolas. You'll have to imagine (like us) that the views are breathtaking.

From our boat ride to the start of the cogwheel train

I was really excited about this part of the trip because this cog wheel train is the steepest railway in the world! At one point, the maximum gradient is at 48%!!

Boarding the train

The start of our trip up, looking over Lake Lucerne

Being very serious about admiring the trees  :o)

The actual cogs on our cogwheel railway

Starting to get sucked into the fog

When we reached the top, you couldn't see more than 10 feet in front of you. So we grabbed some lunch, and tried to patiently wait for something to happen. This is what we saw.....

When we emerged from the restaurant, we were granted a little cloud lift, so we snapped some pics.
Looking north towards Lucerne

Looking South towards what should be lots of Alps

The cogwheel railway

One thing I really wanted to see during our trip was some ibex. As we were embarking on our one little mini hike (I can call it a mini hike because I wasn't the one carrying Ella) we saw these little mini mountain goats. Not ibex, but I was happy.

Looking back at our hotel on the peak of the mountain. How COOL is that!

We figured the best way to end our day was with this  

We had big plans for our Sunday morning. Thoughts of hiking, playgrounds and toboggan runs danced in our heads.
 Then we awoke to this

We decided that we were best off heading down the other side of the mountain on the gondolas. And just shortly after getting on the gondola, Ella says, "Goat!" And in the clouds is one little cliff, sneaking through the fog, with one lonely IBEX watching us glide down the mountain. Thanks to our little girl, we got to see an ibex!
The rest of our trip only went down hill from there. John and Ella dueled with a slippery slide and both came out a little worse for the wear. We got stuck in pouring rain at the park, and got charged an extra (ridiculous and unusual) fee on the train ride home.
Usually, we're a pretty 'go with the flow' kind of family, and try to enjoy whatever our situation may be. But on that Sunday, coming home, getting in pj's, enjoying hot chocolate (in June!) and making a home cooked meal with the family was a perfect end to an unsual weekend.


  1. Kim, what a great post. Mt Pilatus was the first mountain I ever climbed. Seeing your pictures and recaping your memories makes me race through my own.

    I miss you guys and I hope someday we may be able to travel to Lucerne together, with better weather than you had the first two times.


  2. Tice! I had forgotten that you had climbed Pilatus. On our way up the mountain we were thinking about how cool it would be to climb, and if we didn't have Ella with us, that was something we wanted to do. Of course we'd LOVE to travel there with you!