How to follow a river

I was standing overlooking one of the many small rivers that drain the vast flat valley surrounded by mountains still partly covered in snow at 2000 m altitude above the small town of Adelboden in the canton of Berne. The cabin that took me some 400 up above where I had parked my car had been empty and was operational for the summer season since only a couple of days. My plan for this past Wednesday (I take Wednesday each week as my summer vacation) was to hike down along the Engstligen water fall that I partly explored a couple of weeks ago, as far as it was then possible. I had brought my Fuji medium format camera, a couple of lenses and a tripod, so that was bout 10 kg of extra weight to carry in my back pack along the steep slopes leading down towards the valley. I found a small shelf just above the uppermost part of the waterfall and it was kind of scary so I only dared to take a few shots from there before returning to more secure grounds. This is what it looked like. There was really a lot of water this time and a lot of mist creating a rainbow over the steep cliffs.

Once on safe grounds I continued the descent and stopped to get the uppermost part of the cascade from different angles. The sound of the water was deafening and I was almost alone. The few people I met all carried a camera, not surprising since this is considered to be the highest and most beautiful waterfall in Switzerland. Where the snow had retracted the meadows were full of spring flowers.

I turned around some 250 m below where I had started and where I could face this massive amount of water draining the plain above me and originating in a myriad of little streams.

The return up to the lift station was strenuous and I was sweating profusely longing for a cold beer that had to wait till I returned to the parking not far from the Steinbock mountain restaurant. It has a terrace overlooking the entire cascade from where I could take some shots while having lunch.

It was time to explore the lower part of the waterfall that you can reach via a short walk from the parking. The closer I got to the observation areas the more the wind produced by the falling water in the direction of the draining river Engstligen was blowing and with this a dense water mist that soaked me completely and made photographing difficult. I was glad having a water resistant camera system while drying off the lens constantly. The height of the lower part is about 250 m. Compare it to the size of the full-grown fir trees on the upper edge of the river canyon.

It was time to return home but not without having taken a walk through the Choleren canyon, partly formed by the Engstligen river some 10 kilometres down the valley from Adelboden. There was not a massive amount of water. I wanted to show some details of the beautiful cliff walls created by million of years of water running through the canyon that you can observe from an intricate steel gangway system that costs well over 100.000 Swiss francs to maintain each year. So if you come here some time you can always stick some money into the post at the exit gate from the canyon.

I had 2.5 hours of driving in front of me to get home when leaving this beautiful canyon that I had all for myself during a couple of hours. Stay tuned for our next adventure from the Swiss mountains, hopefully coming up soon.

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