Enjoy the many adventures packed into this issue with its stories that cover the globe, from Asia to Palm Springs. Take a hike around Lake Lucerne, explore the glories of Whidbey Island, cruise exotic Southeast Asia and take an African safari. Wine lovers also have a treat with Ron James' tongue-in-cheek wine enthusiast’s guide and a primer on rose wine by our resident wine expert Robert Whitley.
32 Wine Dine & Travel Winter 2015 A WALK ON THE “WILD” SIDE MY SIX-DAY LAKE LUCERNE CIRCLE HIKE IN SWITZERLAND
| STORY & PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALISON DAROSA | “When I got lost, as I knew I would, could I surmount the Swiss/German language barrier to ask for help getting back on track? Would somebody send out a search party if I failed to show up at the night’s hotel?” Like so many who read the bestseller or have seen the movie, “Wild,” I imagined myself in Cheryl Strayed’s boots. I envisioned hiking alone in exquisite wilderness, savoring silence, solitude. I saw myself conquering the ups and downs of a renowned trail all on my own. However, the “Wild” I envisioned was uniquely my own. It didn’t include Strayed’s horribly blistered feet or “Monster,” her impossibly heavy and overstuffed backpack. It didn’t include sleeping in a tent – especially one I had to carry and set up myself. And forget freeze-dried food. What I wanted was “Wild” for wusses. I decided that a weeklong solo hike would be “Wild” enough for me. I’d do it in Switzerland, a hikers’ Mecca. I signed up for a solo hike with SwissTrails, a company that arranges hiking and biking trips throughout the country. I asked for what the Swiss call “soft” hiking on a relatively flat route. We agreed I’d do the 6-day Lake Lucerne Circle Hike. The company arranges nightly lodging and transfers luggage each day. When I received my itinerary, I was excited – and more than a bit intimidated. Could I really do this alone? Hike 10-plus miles a day, with daily elevation gains of up to 4,500 feet? In addition to hiking, my itinerary had me taking trains, boats, cable cars and buses. Swiss hiking trails wander through bucolic lakeside villages such as Bauen. When I arrived in Zurich and met Swiss Trails founder Ruedi Jaisli for my one-onone pre-hike briefing, he did his best to reassure me: “This is one of the most spectacular tours you can do in Switzerland,” he said. “It’s a hike, not a climb. It’s self-guided; go at your own rhythm.” Wine Dine & Travel Winter 2015 33
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