We spent the first weekend of 2015 in Valais, the region of Switzerland chiefly known for the Matterhorn. However, the canton has so much more to offer than Zermatt and its surroundings: for example, innumerable valleys, each unique in landscape and activities. I already explored Lötschental last autumn, this time, we went for the Goms valley. The main reason was this great little place that we found on AirBnb – a typical Valais house in the quiet, minuscule (as in, 145 inhabitants) village of Gluringen.
On the day that we got to Gluringen, we had a couple hours at our disposal that didn’t really allow for a proper hike, but still wanted to be filled with some snow action – so we more or less randomly set off from Gluringen to Reckingen, about a 20-minute walk on the official winter hiking path. It runs almost in parallel to the cross country skiing piste, which is entertaining to observe.
In Reckingen, we walked around the village a little, and met array of interesting animals: a Very Old goat, a couple adorable donkeys, as well as my new favorite Chow Chow dog.
After these adorable encounters, we settled on another sign to follow: “Staalen Kapelle”. Within a 30-minute up-hill walk through snowy woods, it led us to a tiny chapel in a snowy clearing. The interior is pretty – but as cold as the outside, even the holy water was frozen.
The way back was on a steep path back down on the other side – this part would have definitely been more comfortable with snow shoes. So if you find yourself in the Goms valley, this is a nice mini-hike. Either start in Reckingen directly and follow Staalen Kappelle, or walk to town from any other small village (the official winter hiking path pretty much leads through the whole valley, touching on every village).