Switzerland Zernez 2000.08.24 - 08.28

The Swiss National Park

If asked how long to spend in Zernez, we'd recommend a full week. With the Swiss National Park within walking distance and numerous hiking trails up the surrounding mountains, Zernez is a fabulous walking base. We found a private residence that has private rooms and dormitory accommodation at dirt cheap rates. The basement has a full kitchen stocked with pots, dishes, cutlery, oil, spices, tea, etc for guests to use. It's clean, friendly, and convenient; perfect for a weeklong stay in Zernez.

Touristenlager Hummel
Runatsch 148  CH-7530 Zernez
Tel +41 (0)81-856-1874

Our second stop in Zernez was specifically to visit the Swiss National Park. With so much nature within its borders, we were surprised to learn that Switzerland has only one national park. The concept of preserving nature and the natural habitats of wildlife through a national park system originated in the US with the foundation of Yellowstone National Park. Since then, some European countries followed suit, but in very limited quantity.

We heard from a fellow Swiss traveler/hiker that wildlife abounds in the Swiss National Park. During hunting season, animals from surrounding areas take refuge in the park, he explained. At the ranger station, we asked where we could see the most animals. The ranger recommended a particular 6½ hour trek. We walked it.

Compared to the practically nonexistent wildlife in much of Switzerland, the Swiss National Park housed more animals. Compared to our former yard in Shingle Springs, California, where deer, squirrels, raccoons, turkeys, snakes, rabbits, moles, woodpeckers, and humming birds were daily guests, animals in the Swiss National Park were scarce. During our hike, we saw a few deer, ibex, chamois, and marmots scattered about in the distance. Most were too distant to see without binoculars. As humans overpopulate the Earth, how will these creatures survive?

As a bird of prey shrills overhead, marmots across the hillside peak from their holes. We tried to imitate the shrill, but the marmots knew better.

Some chamois in the distance leisurely chew on grass. This is the closest photo we could take at 10x zoom.

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