Never underestimate how easily small and seemingly insignificant moments could change the trajectory of your life. For me, this blip in time happened when I stumbled across Instagrammer and well-known Matterhorn-trotting photographer Nicole Hunziker (based in Bern, Switzerland) on Instagram well over a year ago. (Unfortunately, since I was only here for a day and a half, I wasn't able to shoot with Nicole, although she gave me amazing recommendations on where to go, which I am forever thankful for. )
Ever since following her on Instagram, her amazing photos followed me everywhere. Day after day was a barrage of stunning postcard perfect snowy white Winder Wonderland pictures with the Matterhorn, and eventually, I found myself seriously craving to go.
Up and up I go. The train from Interlaken through Visp to Zermatt was nothing short of gorgeous with sights full of lush rolling hills, the occasional stream running alongside the train tracks, and forrest covered mountains. Try sleeping your way through a trip like that; it's difficult.
Upon arrival, I forgot to take into account a crucial factor - the weather. I stepped out of the train into Zermatt, a town at greater than 5000 feet elevation, practically in shorts and a t-shirt. And I was only at the base of it. To make things worse, I was only in Zermatt for a day and a half and the town was completely covered in a thick low-hanging fog. Meaning I saw absolutely none of the Matterhorn on my only full day in Zermatt.
Hiking The Swiss Alps
Not being able to see the Matterhorn on the first day didn't deter me from my usual schedule. I zipped up my newly purchased Switzerland sweater, put on some destroyed cheetah print vans that felt ill equipped and almost shameful for this kind of journey, and hiked around even though I could hardly see the Matterhorn (or any other mountains for that matter).
Matterhorn or not, I was still in awe. Here I was, a gal from California who traveled all the way out to Zermatt, Switzerland to hike through gorgeous trails around the Alps on her own with a backpack full of bread and single serving packets of Nutella. Nothing could bust my bubble.
Waking up to the Matterhorn
As breathtaking as it was to hike around the Swiss Alps, I was still waiting to be able to see the Matterhorn. After my first full day, I woke up at the crack of dawn to check if the fog was still there to see if I could manage to squeeze in a morning hike with the Matterhorn before my afternoon trainride back to Venice. And lo and behold - clear, beautiful skies and the Matterhorn staring me straightaway from my window.
I practically ran this entire hiking trail and even got an extra special gift of running into a Japanese tour group that helped me through muddy areas when my cheap shoes couldn't weather the paths.
I can't even begin to describe what it felt like to finally see something that I've only dreamt of or seen in pictures online. All that I can say is that if every fiber of your being is aching to go somewhere, that you should go. I promise it'll be incredible and soul-nourishing.