Sunday, October 14, 2007

trailside grilling

what's better than a perfectly roasted marshmellow?

A fun part of Swiss hiking is the trailside grilling. We tried it the first time last week and now we're hooked. Since you can't really camp in CH (well, you can if you want to pitch your tent next an RV, next to a busy road and eat at the camp restaurant), this is the next best thing.

typical camp site ... grilling station wood hut in Davos

We first saw a trailside grilling station in Davos, with a huge mountain hut full of wood (see above) and 12yr olds trying to chop wood with the provided axe. So Swiss. The typical station will include a hut of wood, picnic tables, and a fire pit with a grill. We decided to try it at Atzmänning. We had a few problems. First, the trail with the grilling station we wanted to go to was closed, due to Schiessgefahr - danger of stray bullets from nearby shooting range (later we realized we read the sign wrong and there was only shooting danger M-F).

who cares about dripping fog, wet wood, and cold wind?
a true boy scout can start a fire in any conditions

So we hiked farther, straight into a cloud, to a different station. We arrived at the supposed spot and wandered in the fog for 10 mins (could only see a few feet in any direction) before asking at the mountain hut where to go. They looked at us (ok, we sent Ty in to do the reconnaissance) like we were crazy (who grills in a cloud?), but said we could take some wood from the nearby farm and pointed in the general direction of the grill pit. There was no picnic table, the wood was wet, litter in the fire pit, and the cloud was all but raining on us. But that only made us more determined. Ty made a great fire and our steak, bratwurst, and s'mores were delicious, especially after our exhausting up and down hike.

third time's a charm - sunny, dry wood, an actual picnic table

We tried grilling again this weekend, this time in Arosa. We had much better weather, but that meant more people out grilling. The first grill station was packed with several families so we hiked on. At the next spot, the previous party was just leaving, so got the whole picnic table to ourselves and Ty got to tend the fire, unemcumbered - his favorite part. Ty was even able to cook our steak perfectly medium-rare - yay! Four other families stopped in while we were there to grill sausages. They were delighted to borrow our equipment, as we always come well prepared, with tongs, fire-proof gloves, billow, etc. We look forward to many more trailside grilling sessions next summer.

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