Late November, early December. It’s that time of the year which I always find depressing. In Milan, the sky is gloomy more often than not and seldom brightened by a ray of sunshine. The days are short and I miss the light, which to me is like fuel. As if this weren’t enough, this year we had frequent torrential rains, surely not inviting to go out.
Going to Switzerland to escape a grey and sad late autumn was a hazard, but it soon proved to be a very good decision. I was treated with several bright and sunny days, went off for a few hikes in Gstaad and the Saanenland, enjoying the mild weather and the late colors of autumn.
Regardless of the season, the weather in the mountains can change very quickly and winter made its first appearance in only a couple of hours while I was walking along the pretty path from Saanen to Rougemont across meadows, clearings and woods.
I’ve been there many times in summer, but this year I discovered the beauty of the Saanenland in late autumn.
It was a glorious day when I arrived in Saanen, and as I climbed up the path I stopped from time to time to savour the view on the Saanenland downwards. The white church surrounded by the mountains, standing out over the blue sky made for a picture-perfect sight, a quintessential image of Switzerland.
The moment the trail entered a shady area, the green meadows became white, covered with frost like a thin layer of icing sugar. It was pure magic.
On the ground, green, beige and brown leaves, their shapes and veins highlighted by the tiny ice crystals created beautiful still lives.
After a while, I continued my walk atop the hill, before starting the descent to Rougemont. Below, the clouds covered the valley like a white and grey blanket.
In a matter of minutes, the forest was wrapped in fog, quickly dancing around the trees appearing and disappearing like a shadow play. A first taste of winter, reminding me how beautiful it can be in the mountains.
Do you ever go hiking in late autumn?
Getting to the Saanenland:
Gstaad is well connected to Montreux (1h 20 min), Interlaken (2 hours), Bern (about 2 hours), and the train journey Montreux/Zweisimmen is a lovely panoramic one.