It rained late yesterday and today we woke to a mist-shrouded valley. But by lunchtime the mist had dispersed leaving areas of low lying cloud wreathing the high peaks, and blue sky has progressively replaced the cloud cover. So today has been a pottering about day as our holiday comes towards an end.
One thing you can rely on in the Alps is accurate signposting on paths and trails. And Zermatt, with an abundance of routes, is excellently marked.
Maps for walkers will often provide information on the likely time required for an average walker to complete sections of walks. Signposts at the start of trails will provide average times to reach the available destinations and an indication of the ‘grade’ of the walk (using the markings shown below).
In addition along the trails (as well as signposts) the walker will find markers that assist with route finding and also act as reminders of the ‘grade’ of the walk that they are on.
More difficult trails, requiring proper hiking shoes, (and which may be narrow, steep or exposed) are marked with a white-red-white set of stripes – often painted onto boulders and arrowed to aid navigation.
In all the time I have been walking in the Alps I have never got lost. Many countries could learn a lot from the way walking in the Alps is made safer for its visitors.