Hiking from the Uetliberg to Hirzel
Canton Zürich, Switzerland  (August, 2007)
Thus far, this summer has been typical for Canton Zürich, with a week or ten days of warm sunshine inevitably followed
by three or four cool, rainy days.  So, when the weather turns nice, we try to spend as much time as possible outdoors.
One warm Saturday, we five good friends (Irmi, me, Ernst, Maya, and Doris) hiked from the top of the Uetliberg (a small
mountain overlooking Zürich) along a generally north to south route across a high plateau overlooking Lake Zürich, all the
way to the village of Hirzel in the Sihl Valley where Ernst and Maya own a small farm, covering a distance of twenty-four
kilometers (sixteen miles) in eight hours, including breaks for coffee and lunch and several water stops in the cool shade.
That morning, at home in Thalwil, Irmi and I boarded an Intercity Express bound for the Main Train Station in downtown
Zürich.  There, we met the others and rode an escalator to the lower level where the local commuter train to Uetliberg
sat on the tracks.  Twenty minutes later, having arrived at Uetliberg Station at the end of the line, we disembarked and
walked five hundred meters up a winding asphalt road to the summit.  At the top, we continued past the exclusive hotel
UTO KULM to a three-hundred-foot high steel observation tower.  Behind the tower, a gap in the wooden fence rail led
to a stairway down the back side of the mountain.  The five of us poured through the opening and began our odyssey.
Descending steep stairs leading from the Uetliberg summit to a forest below.
Looking back, we descended directly below the observation tower (left of the antenna).
Passing through open farmland, this house caught Irmi's eye, especially the corner tower.
Farmland to the right, Lake Zürich far below to the left.
  (We hiked far beyond the communications tower in the distance.)
Maya, Ernst, and Doris pausing at a bend in the forest path.
Back in open terrain, we passed around the left of the hill ahead.
Passing through forests, rolling hills and open farmland; and the sun is rising steadily higher.
At a bend on a steep trail in the forest: ice cold natural spring water.
Overlooking Lake Zürich.  Downtown Zürich lies at the far left (north) end of the lake.
Left to Right:  Doris, Irmi, Ernst, Maya (with camera), and some guy who wouldn't get out of the way.
Same terrace as previous photo, having pivoted and now looking south toward the Alps.
Out in the open again, looking toward Lake Zug.  Lake Zürich lies a similar distance to the left.
Small cluster of homes and barns, expanding with each generation.
Coming in through the back door (of an old house/barn complex).
. . . to an informal, family-run, lunch-only, weekends-only restaurant.
Genuine Swiss Farm Food.  The golden liquid in the glass is a "Radler" (half beer, half lemonade).
After lunch, back on the road again.  The electrified fence keeps cows in the pasture. 
We're not climbing up into those hills, are we?  Please tell me we're not going up there!
Somebody's vegetable and flower garden. 
Okay, it's hot, we've walked a long way, and we're getting a little tired here.
Hirzel, our goal, lies beyond the ridge.  The clouds bring no rain; only humidity. 
Typical of many farm houses we passed. 
He (or she) who enters the intersection first has the right-of-way.
Those of us caught behind are forced to follow . . . slowly.
Farm House Front Yard Art   (A rolling bike would gather no such moss!)
We're getting close to the end!  I know this house; it's only a kilometer from Ernst and Maya's place.
Ah!  Finally made it.  Ernst and Maya's back terrace.  Break out the iced tea!

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