Seealpsee hike; close to the stars
A photo hike around the Seealpsee with overnight stay under the clear starry sky and view of the Milky Way. On the second day I continued at dusk around Seealpsee and later on Ebenalp and Schäfler. From up there you had a wonderful view of the Vorarlberg Alps, Lake Constance and of course the Säntis.
Day 1: A sea of stars above the Seealpsee
In the evening around 8:00 pm I arrived at the parking lot in Wasserauen. Before I set off on foot to Seealpsee, I checked again whether I had everything with me. Still uncertain whether I’ll spend the night up there. I have tied my thick sleeping bag to my backpack just in case.
Then I took the road up to the lake, as it is the most direct way. However, the track is very steep. In any case, I wanted to arrive at the blue hour and have enough time to set up with my camera. On the way up I met a lot of people who were probably on their way back. We greeted each other with a friendly smile. I was full of excitement and curiosity for the night ahead and the next day, and the people I met seemed full of contentment from their trip to the mountains.
At the top I walked along the Seealpsee towards the Säntis and stayed on the shore. After a few test photos, in order to adjust the camera, I sat down on a rock and enjoyed the scenery and the silence of this wonderful place. Since it will take more than an hour to see the many stars, I immediately took the opportunity to do a Falun Gong meditation exercise (More about Falun Gong can be found here).
When I opened my eyes again, refreshed by the meditation, I had a breathtaking view of the sky. Thanks to the darkness up here, one could see many stars from the naked eye. I lay down for a moment to wander into the vastness of the universe, both with my eyes and with my thoughts. I admired this spectacle for a while. I also heard small fish jumping out of the water from time to time and how the bats skilfully performed their tricks over the water.
A little later I dedicated myself to my camera to “capture” a few stars. Especially the Milky Way enchanted the night sky. Only slightly visible to the naked eye, but very impressive and clearly visible with the camera:
After I had seen and photographed my fill in the sky, I looked for a place to roll out my sleeping bag. It was a special situation to lie down and just watch the stars and fall asleep slowly.
It is a pity that the starry sky can no longer be seen anywhere in Switzerland without light pollution. Even in mountain regions, the atmosphere is not completely light-free. The difference how many stars you can see from up here is still huge compared to the lowlands. At www.darksky.ch you can find more information about light pollution and how to avoid or reduce it.
«The preservation of the view of the starry sky is a source of inspiration and heritage of mankind and has an essential share in the quality of life.by a glare-free nocturnal environment (UNESCO definition, not verified. Found at: www.ens.ch ).
Day 2: Hike Wasserauen – Ebenalp – Schäfler – Seealpsee – Wasserauen
After a few hours of sleep and just before dawn, I get up and first enjoy the silence and fresh mountain air of this magical place for a few minutes. The night wasn’t very comfortable, but I didn’t feel tired. After packing up I first went to the lake and washed my face with the cool lake water. Fascinated by the morning mood I unpacked my camera to take some pictures:
Then I went around the lake and stopped a few times to enjoy the landscape and watch the mountain peaks slowly turn red. Following the way I looked again and again to the mountains, because from every angle they looked a little different. When I arrived at the mountain inn, I sat down on the shore to enjoy the warming rays of the sun. It took another hour until the restaurant opened.
Freshly strengthened after breakfast, I set off to Wasserauen. This time I took the path that runs along the creek. This one is a bit longer than the one on the access road, but also much more varied. At first the path is quite flat, but later in the forest it becomes very steep. One follows, so to speak, the course of the creek, which has also partly formed small waterfalls due to the steep terrain. Arrived below I went to the gondola which took me to Ebenalp.
Arrived at the top at 1’640 meters, it continued about 1 hour to the slightly over 1’900 meters high Schäfler. On the way there were many things to discover. The mountain flora showed its summer side and everywhere in the air there were bees, bumblebees, butterflies and many other insects. Arrived at the Schäfler it was time for a lunch break. Several other routes run from this starting point, also up to the Säntis. However, these are alpine hiking routes. Since I wanted to go down to the Seealpsee again, I decided to continue from Schäfler directly over the Altenalp.
The descent of about 800 meters is very steep. The hiking trail is very well paved and some ropes are attached to the mountain side. Nevertheless, I recommend this route only to experienced hikers with good footwear. At the lake below I took a break and a wonderfully refreshing bath in the cool Seealpsee, before I made my way back to the car to Wasserauen.
The Alpstein region is truly a wonderful hiking area. After now some years I was once again in this area. At the Seealpsee, however, I was for the first time. The area offers walks of different difficulty categories and lengths. So everyone can decide on an appropriate route. The infrastructure is good and there are several restaurants where you can eat and drink along the way. Of course, this also means that on most hiking trails you are not completely alone. But I really enjoyed the mix of being alone and meeting other people. So there were some nice chats.
In the following picture gallery you can see some photos of the two days. Have fun clicking through!