Meitschligen to Gotthard Pass
The stream of cars continued throughout the night. Yet, I get a good night's sleep, without paying the noise too much attention.
After a somewhat late start I continue my climb up to Gotthard Pass. Initially, the trail follows the highway. Not very enjoyable with all the traffic. I pass the time looking at the number plates. Mostly Dutch, German and Belgians, who probably drove through the night. In Wassen, I buy breakfast and lunch. I overhear two locals complaining about the traffic, which makes it hard for them to sleep. Completely understandable in my opinion.
Once past Göschenen, I enter the Schöllenen Gorge. A stunning stretch of walk. One of the, if not the most interesting walk on E1 so far as the trail is making its way up, past the Devil's Bridge and military defense bunkers towards Andermatt.
Andermatt is well known to me as I spent several weeks in the village during my time in the air force. So I skip sightseeing and only do a quick resupply for tomorrow. Soon I am on my way again. Shortly after leaving town, I notice two hikers sitting in front of a shed. They look familiar. Might it be... No, it can't be. So I continue. But I look again. They stand up, looking back at me. Then I clearly recognize Gisela. And Klaus! Two very good friends and hiking companions from South Tyrol. They were following my hike and decided to surprise me. Well, they sure were successful. It's an absolutely wonderful surprise. It feels so good to see them!
After a long hug and a beer, we continue to Hospental together, where they have parked their car. We agree to meet later on top of the Gotthard pass and camp up there together.
The following three hours to the top are special walk. Not only because of the sparse, rocky landscape but also because I am looking forward to meeting Gisela and Klaus on the pass again. My motivation for the last 500 vertical meters is high. Obviously...
Gotthard pass is super windy and busy. People from all over Europe are enjoying the views on their way to Italy, where they will spend a week or two on the beach.
At 16:00 I meet Gisela and Klaus again. After a drink we start looking for a place to camp. The wind is limiting the options. Yet, compared to Germany, there's an abundance of great spots. We settle in near Lago dei Morti. A bit more than 2000 meters above sea level. By far the highest point I have camped on E1 so far. Great views. A tranquil place away from the hustle and bustle.
What a wonderful day it has been with this unexpected surprise. Trail magic!