Anna and Bernd stayed with us over the weekend. We did a 4.5 hour warm up hike on Saturday and had dinner in the most excellent Hiltl. It claims to be the world's first vegetarian restaurant and offers a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet (and I'm a carnivore!). We stuffed ourselves to the point of queasiness. Highly recommended.
Anita had her final service in Horw on Sunday. It was very nice with heartily speeches and lots of presents. Since she had never been on the top of Pilatus, the landmark mountain of Lucerne, visible from her office window, we intended to hike that as farewell. Unfortunately it was raining and the weather forecast had predicted heavy thunderstorms. During the apéro the locals advised us to wait for a better day. Of course we didn't listen and set out from Holderchäppeli.
It turned into a beautiful hike. Windy, with clouds boiling up over the ridges. Very dramatic. While it did rain a little bit occasionally, we stayed mostly dry. Cold, but dry. We even got lucky and the clouds parted to reveal beautiful vistas and rainbows over lake Lucerne just when we reached the summit. Anita wasn't feeling so well and went down the mountain in the cog wheel train. The rest of us hiked back down to our car. Our trusty companion, sheepdog Rappa, had been on her best behaviour for the entire trip. Until we nearly ran into a capricorn that is. We had seen a few before, but for some reason this guy tickled something in her and it led to a furious chase over steep gravel slopes. I was afraid it would end in the death of both of them, but after a while Rappa returned - knowing full well that she overstepped the line.
Anna and Bernd are both foresters and very knowledgeable in botany. They kept exclaiming excited "ahhs" and "ohhs" whenever they discovered a new plant and were constantly quizzing one another for the latin names. Bernd in particular kept running up and down the slopes in search of more botanical marvels. I kept joking that he behaved like a young dog chasing into the bushes at every opportunity, covering twice the distance as everybody else ;-)
The last few minutes back to the car felt like walking into Mordor. Lightning was parting the sky and dark clouds rolled in, dimming the daylight. Perfect timing ;-)~20km, +1250m, -1250m