Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sunday, march 14 -Swiss Mountains!

MOUNTAINS!!!!!!A HHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Ursula was kind beyond reason and drove me an hour away to a place where we could take a cable car about halfway up. One could take another car the rest of the way up and a) ski back down or b) hike/snow show around some packed trails on the top.

She called the mountains Alpstien, since they wernt part of the Alps, but like, just a little away from them,.. An Alp-let!. The mountain I hiked on was in Toggenburg!!! I didn’t hike along more then a few thousand meters up, but my ears still popped on the ride up! We hiked together for the first half, the trails were packed snow, and went parallel to the top, so nothing too too steep. Through pine trees, winding along the side of the mountain. The trail was called, something roughly translated to “Trail of sound” with little noise maker stations. Like, pipes to blow in that increased chromatically, a bunch of cow bells (or goat bells!) dangling that you could run through, and send them all ringing and clanging. For the “kids” this was therapeutic amounts of fun!

We paused at a ski lodge where we bought fries ( I didn’t think I wanted any, until I tasted one! Daaaaang!) I had an apple cider drink…like slightly alcoholic (being fermented) but hardly any. Apparently it’s a common thing around there, because of the copious amounts of apples they have! And rather tasty too!

For the next bit, we decided to meet up after I took the longer loop. Setting out, I confidently went up a hill, following the packed snow trail. There were some pine trees above the trail, and above those the mountain tops disappeared in the low, grey clouds. There was lots of snow everywhere!!! And the sun even made an appearance amidst the clouds. I followed the walker trail, all packed and wide. When all of a sudden, it got very narrow, and a lot less packed. So about every other step I sunk into the snow like, up to my knees. I figured I’d just keep following this and it would open back up into the main trail, or meet up with it soon enough.

Winding through some dips and rises, with snow consistently up to the knees (snow shoes look amazing! Anyone who says otherwise is missing important life experience. I am missing OUT. Mental note for next time!) decided to follow a “bunny trail” or snow shoe trail up a little hill. In the name of adventure!!! 20 plus minutes later, finally hauled up that hill…snow up to thighs…turned around after the final scramble (no significant distance..but non the less…) Turned around, and saw on the other side of the valley, the mountains mirroring the ones I was walking along. It was rather awesome. I finally found that main trail. For walkers! (that’s me! With frosted femurs) And I popped out on this little plateau sort of area, open without any trees! The mountain tops seemed closer, the clouds close enough to practically run up and take a scoop from. The mountains across the deep valley (with the teeny houses clustered at the bottom) were filling my panoramic view. Snow covered and with steep sides of rock. And the sun came out, to make all the snow that stretched out on that flat space around me turned into a glittering, sparkling blanket. I made a snow angel J in the alpstien! Yee J

Following the packed, wide WALKING trail, I made great time. Wandering and weaving along the side of the mountain. I couldn’t get enough of the cool, fresh air. Or the trees. And the snow! I practically succeeded in thinking like a man. By this I mean thinking of absolutely nothing except the moment! I was thinking of songs like “winter wonderland”, and humming to myself. And yes, I busted out a dance move on those trails! Bounded through the paths, realizing there really are no signs that I understand, but I figured out my way back pretty smoothly. It was sad to come off the mountains…but I have absolutely every intent to come back to snow shoe or ski on these mountains. ( And when I say ski….i really mean “snow plow style” the whole way down. Because those hills were extremely steep)

On the drive back, we had crackers and delicious chocolate. Melt in your mouth style! Ended the day, a little pink nosed, and rather tired. We had Fondue with a very strong, flavorful cheese!! First just bread dipped in.. and then we tried (canned) pineapple dipped in it…and it was surprisingly tasty! The sweet made the cheese less extreme. Don’t ask me, I just tried it and liked it.

Spent the rest of the evening curled up with a book sitting next to the wood stove, in a rocking chair, sipping (handmade) sweet Elderberry juice with my water. There is really no other way I would have wanted to spend my day. It was like both restful and adventurous.

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