From Koch’s ecological farm the next destination was the highest mountain of the two half cantons Appenzell (AI + AR).
Thanks to the bikes from the Velothek in Bütschwil we made good progress and visited the React HQ in Wattwil. Thanks to solar technology, React produces the fastest sunglasses in the world, i.e. the glasses adapt to light conditions in fractions of a second. This is especially helpful for the various outdoor activities on the TOPtoTOP expedition. People accompanying Swiss TOPtoTOP 2.0 have the opportunity to test the glasses.
From Wattwil we went to Schwägalp, where we bivouacked in an empty barn after a big plate of spaghetti.
During the climb over the Himmelsleiter to the Säntis at 2502 meters above sea level, our 6-year-old Vital told a story for 3 hours and was then amazed that he was suddenly on the TOP of the two Appenzell half cantons. On the summit we embraced a fantastic panoramic view.
20 years ago, the climb was more difficult from an mountaineering point of view: Because of the danger of avalanches, Dario & Sabine had to choose sharp ridges to avoid the avalanches. With rope, crampons and ice axes in stormy conditions, they reached the summit. Here is the link to the blog 20 years ago, where we explored the most advanced ecological sewage system of whole Switzerland.
In the building, there was a very instructive exhibition about metrology, climatology and snow and glacier science. A top example and top opportunity to sensitize the many visitors for nature-scientific topics.
We bivouacked on the Säntis and got as a reward a beautiful sunset and sunrise with a fantastic view.
Early Thursday morning we descended again from the summit to the bikes at Schwägalp.
We stopped in Wil to say thank you to Heimgartner Fahnen for the famous TOPtoTOP banner. Since the start of TOPtoTOP Heimgartner is supporting the expedition with flags. Considering that we have been in more than 100 countries, we are very thankful for their help. We reached Jakobstal the same day, where we stayed overnight with Sabine’s parents Rosi & Ernst.
We continued cycling to the Hagenturm, the highest elevation in the canton of Schaffhausen. Besides Jeremy and Alex, Sven and Marielene joined our group. After the TOP Alex and Jeremy took a bath in the Rhein river.
On the way to our next overnight stay with family Quesada in Reutlingen, we discovered a Victorinox knife made of pumpkins. It was already dark and we enjoyed the Indian dish Dal from Jeremy very much after this long ride.
On Friday we got completely soaked three times. It was windy and rainy. Andri caught up with us again in Schilznach and accompanied us for the next few days.
Thanks to Alex and Ursula in Schinznach we were able to dry our clothes again on the way and reached tired and hungry Rickenbach near Olten in the evening. We said goodbye to Alex, who works in the environmental program of the United Nations in Geneva and accompanied us since Tuesday. We spent the night with Joëlle, whom we met in Norway and who also helped us in the TOPtoTOP Arctic Base project. Her mother and she were already waiting for us with a cheese raclette.
Today, Saturday, 3 TOP’s were on the program in one day: The TOP of Aargau is the Geissflue ridge, the highest peak of Basel city is the Grischona and the highest peak of Baselland is the Hintere Egg.