From My Time in Switzerland

In October 2015, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe. After flying into Germany, I had a couple days to travel to Switzerland before coming back and boarding a place to Norway (which I almost didn't make, but that's a story for another time). 

Knowing nothing about Switzerland, except for the two places I NEEDED to visit, I purchased a ticket for travel within Switzerland and left from Frankfurt on a train. My first stop was Zermatt, which was around a 8 hour train ride. Late in the afternoon, I finally transferred to the last leg of the train ride that would take me to Zermatt.

As we neared the town, I realized that heavy fog and rain were setting in. Without cell phone service or internet, I had no way to check the weather, so this was a surprise to me. I got off the train and of course, I couldn't even see the Matterhorn, the reason I came to Zermatt in the first place, as the town sits at the base of the most iconic mountain in Europe. It also turns out that the weather was too bad for the lifts to be open for the next 24 hours, essentially leaving me with nothing to do in the town.

After grabbing dinner, I made the decision to leave Zermatt and head for Pizol, the next place on my list. This was a tough decision, as I had come so far out of my way to get here, but there was just nothing I could do at that point.

So I guess now I can say I've been as close to the Matterhorn as you can get and not see it. 

I was obviously a little irritated, but as I've learned so much through traveling, you have to be able to roll with the punches and keep a positive attitude. Getting on another long train ride was legitimately the last I wanted that point, but I knew that I had to do it in order to make the most of the little time I had.

Making sacrifices in order to see and do amazing things is what makes traveling not for everyone. Few people can truly see the end goal in sight and be willing to do the difficult things to get them there, whether saving up to travel in the first place, or getting up at an insane hour to see the sunrise, it just isn't for everyone. And that's okay. But it's one of the things I do best and love about traveling, and because I know the work and dedication that I've put in to getting myself in front of amazing places, it makes that moment so much more gratifying.


The train ride to Pizol was around 6 hours, so I wouldn't be getting to the town until well after midnight. I had nowhere to stay, no way to contact anyone, and legitimately had planned on sleeping on the street that night (sorry to my mom and girlfriend) when I got off the train, all to hike high in the Alps the next morning. 

After a grueling train ride, and chatting with an extremely drunk Swiss man, I got off the train in Pizol. Everything was closed and nobody was around. I weighed my options for a few minutes before walking in a random direction, where I'd maybe find a place to stay. Luckily, I happened to stumble upon a cab driver who was able to take me to a hotel within a short bus ride of where I wanted to hike the next morning. Crisis seriously averted. 

So the next morning, I got up to hike the 5 Seen Wunderang, which translates to 5 Lake Hike, as the hike takes you through the Alps past 5 glacial lakes. Ever since my buddy Alex sent me a picture of Wildsee, a lake on this hike, I knew I had to go. 

As I descended up the chair lift, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I'd been to the Canadian Rockies before, but this was surreal. I started hiking, which was difficult as I had to carry all my luggage with me over 11 miles of insane elevation gain. Nevertheless, it was one of the most amazing hiking experiences I've ever had. 

The last lake on the hike was Wildsee, just about the only thing I needed to see in Switzerland before I left. I still remember the moment when I climbed over the hill to see the lake before me, surrounded by epic, snow covered crags. It was the definition of mind blown. 

I made my way back to the chair lift, knowing I had just had the experience of a lifetime.

I then got on a train where I made my way to Lucerne for the night and watched some rugby in an all too crowded pub.

While traveling without a car in a place like Switzerland is certainly something I will never do again, it was a crazy experience. I learned a lot and gained a ton of experience in overcoming things like language barriers and a lack of cell phone service. Believe it or not, its actually a good thing to know how to do. 

One thing that has stuck with me more than the photos was the crazy experiences I had in Switzerland. I'll admit, I wish I had taken a lot more photos and had gotten certain angles of things better and all that, but I've come to the reality that sometimes you just need to drop the mindset of a photographer and just enjoy it all, because that can detract from your experiences in ways you won't even know. While it's awesome to get every shot, its about the experiences you gain. A photo can't capture that as well as you can remember it.