Fall may be coming soon but summer’s still clinging on, and on this hot day with temps in the upper 20s (around 80F), we opted for a hike on the western side of the Mattertal valley above the village of Embd.

The very magical and useful Gold Card from Graechen had an intriguing option: free cable car rides from St Niklaus to Jungen, and from Kapletran to Embd to Schalb. Even better, it was promoted as the “Alpine Flower Way”, and after reading a few online reviews of the Jungtal valley, we decided we must go.

But, to make things interesting, we decided to go up one cableway, walk along the edge of the valley, then down the other. So we took the train to St Niklaus, picked up a very handy flower guide, and caught the first gondola up to Jungen, a four person car.

After realizing it was still a 400m climb up to the Jungtal valley, we decided nah, let’s skip it and just walk over to Embd and see some wildflowers along the way.

The fall colors were really turning on, as were the berries. I tried several, but they all were bland, sniff.

We did find a trail sign mentioning the Randweg, which goes up the Jungtal valley then drops down into this valley. That’d be fun to do in June when the flowers are really out.

We did see an awful lot of flowers that shouldn’t quite be blooming, and heaps of butterflies too.

We passed by a yak farm, Then it was down the tiny little open-air gondola and back to the valley floor and the train back to Zermatt.

In Zermatt, we rinsed out our sweaty hiking clothes, took a few pictures at the marmot fountain, and then walked up to the Ricola herb garden, where Chris demanded that I plant hyssop. Oh yeah, and Chris got new shoes; his old ones were really failing.

And then back down to Zermatt for... beer and dinner.