My perfect day hiking the Furstin Gina Weg
globetrotterkyle.com September 13, 2023
Liechtenstein is a country that provides some of the best 360 views in all of Europe. Hard to believe since it’s only a speck on the map, right? Liechtenstein, while small in size, provides plenty to do.
When it comes to central European hiking locations, the big-name countries always take the spotlight: Switzerland, France, Italy, and Austria. And rightfully so. These countries have all kinds of beautiful little towns composing some of the most picturesque landscapes on earth. I mean how can you compete with Oeschinensee Lake in Switzerland or Schrecksee Lake in Germany? Hard, yes. But far from impossible.
“Read on as I recount my journey along the Princess Gina Way, a last-minute hiking decision that led to a totally cheesy-yet-awesome new profile picture on my Facebook account.”
Unlike most hikes through the Alps or hiking through the Rocky Mountains, this trail began with a gradual incline that followed along a road.
The incline slowly started to pick up, commensurate with my heart rate and the amount of lactic acid in my thighs. Though I’m not one to take frequent breaks along a hike, I couldn’t help but stop every 100 yards or so given the fantastic views all around.
Stitched into the sky ahead of me was a jagged ridgeline, gradually rising until its crest at Augstenberg, the mountain that I was bound to summit. Behind me, some 10-12 kilometers away, was the southern face of a mountain range that subtly disappeared into the clouds I began my morning under.
However, the shadows created by all the small huts and houses that comprised the town of Malbun gave the most memorable view of the day.
Weather still cooperating, I pressed on towards the summit in hopes of some magnificent views of the Alps. The houses and huts grew smaller and smaller as I forged along the trail until they became small, almost pixelated icons in the valley below.
At about the three or four-mile mark, I crested a ridge that seemingly dropped off hundreds of feet below me, opening into a magnificent valley. My stomach grew queasy as I stood on the razor-thin ridgeline overlooking the ledge I was to walk along toward the summit.
However, like a true influencer (which I totally am not), I saw a perfect spot to take a brand-new profile picture. The gloomy sky stretched on endlessly until it reached the mountains far off in the distance. A light dusting of snow, likely from a few nights prior, was beginning to stick to the peaks of the surrounding mountains, creating thousands of amazingly intricate shadows.
After my self-indulgent photo op was over, I was happy to pack my camera away for a while and simply enjoy the trail. I was careful to watch my steps along the ridgeline as it felt like a slip in either direction could end badly. Not nearly as bad as climbing Long’s Peak in Colorado but, still a tad scary nonetheless.
The higher I ascended, the easier it was for my breath to be taken away. Not only by the altitude itself but by the incredible mountainous views in every direction. The best part was that everywhere I looked I was peering into a different country!
“To the south, I could see Austria, the north, Switzerland and Liechtenstein below me. ”
It was such a unique experience; one I’ll never forget.
I traced the trail to the summit and knew I only had a few hundred yards until the hardest part of the hike was over. Encroaching the peak, I noticed a massive cross planted at the top, standing strong like a ship’s mast. It seemed like the perfect place to sit and rest my weary legs. So, that’s exactly what I did.
Sitting at the top of a random mountain after a decision to randomly hike in a place I decided to visit on a random weekend, I thought, “This is carpe diem.” I couldn’t help but adore the life I was living, right there in that moment: one of carelessness, security, power, and freedom all at the same time.
I was the only one on the mountain that day. Nobody to struggle to get around, nobody shouting “on your left!” to get around me, just the mountain and me; a match made in heaven.
“Long story short: I had a perfect day.”