Via Alpina – stage 9

I’ll explain the photo first: these are the Reichenbach Falls, made famous by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle because this is where Sherlock Holmes and his archenemy Moriarty fell to their deaths. The village of Meiringen, very close to the falls, has made hay out of it. There is a Sherlock Holmes museum and a Sherlock Holmes hotel and even a Conan Doyle hotel. And yes, there is a bronze statue of Holmes in the city park. I declined to take a photo of it. Sorry.

So, I spent the first hour of today’s rather large hike, climbing up to the falls. Large: 28k and 1500 metres.

My poor feet.

But let’s go back. To a large extent today was again, a bit surreal because I was walking into the alps I have been hiking since I was 30 years old. And I was approaching them from the other side. It was beautiful and odd and a whole bunch of other things I can’t quite identify. Something that felt like coming back to a familiar home. And at the same time, not home because the key elements of home were missing – my family.

Nice weather today with mostly blue skies but frigidly cold for about an hour while I hiked through a narrow draw (no sun) beside a glacial creek. Hoody on and gloves on and then off again and at the top of the pass on again and then off again. That kind of day.

For the most part, I had the Wetterhorn to my left, including its north face, reminiscent of the Eiger north face and, if you ask me, just as intimidating.

It took just over 5 hours to get to the pass. My fault it took more than 5 because at one point I got off track and I suppose I could have gone back down the 10 metres but I saw the top just above me and hell, why retrace your steps if you don’t have to? So I bushwhacked up and Ta da! Made it! Except I overshot the pass by almost 100 metres and had to go back down along the ridge.

Oh well. At least I didn’t have to retrace my steps.

And then the long walk down with great views, especially of my beloved Eiger:

And this creature. It actually took me a moment to identify it as a goat. So there you are: your livestock photo of the day:

And on down, staring up at what remains of the great glaciers. I remember 40 years ago when they reached almost to the valley floor.

The trail down surprised me. Much steeper than I would have expected and even one tiny semi-scary bit.

And then, finally, with my feet burning up and toes screaming in pain, I stumbled (limped) into town. I walked into the first pharmacy I found and spent a small fortune on every known foot remedy, all of which I have applied – and I am still hurting. Darn! But what was nice was having a tub for the first time and soaking my feet and my body.

And now the bad news: the Laderach store I was anticipating all day – the one I had been drooling over, almost tasting the monster amounts of chocolate I would reward myself with at the end of this big trek – closed. Shut down! Disappeared! No more there! Kaput!

To say that I am heartbroken would be an understatement. All I could do after my bath and further surgery on my foot, and daily laundry, was walk across to the Coop Store (its really quite magnificent!) and buy a takeout salad and sandwich and peaches for dinner plus a Coop chocolate bar and trail mix for tomorrow’s lunch.

The Coop chocolate is good – organic and fair trade and all that. But damn – I still have not had one bite of the really, really good stuff and don’t know when I will. Maybe not until Gstaad.

Thoughts for today: every time I look in the mirror these days I wonder who the hell this person is. I have bags under my eyes, my skin is all dry and scratchy and I see more lines. I’m not worried about my age – it’s just hard not to think that I want to look younger and more vibrant when I have a husband who is so much younger. That’s been going through my mind. I feel incredibly vulnerable writing about this, but it’s there. Can’t be walking by myself alone every day and not have a ton of thoughts expose themselves. And if I’m going to be honest, I’m going to write about them.

So here I am, an hour from Grindelwald, in all my aged glory:

About goodyniosi

Writer, avid(!!!) hiker - living life to the fullest. Love, life, bliss - getting high on getting high (in the alpine that is)
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4 Responses to Via Alpina – stage 9

  1. You are young and beautiful and far more spry than your chubby hubby. You earned every line and each one of them suits you perfectly and is as magical as your Elvanian pirouettes. And, by the way, I’m the ‘senior’ in the family. Keep in mind one aspect of your waking day as you traverse your heavenly European home – you’re trekking across the Swiss Alps… solo!!! Most 40-yr.olds I know wouldn’t even think of it! Age is relative, beauty is not external, and wonder for life is the greatest wisdom. The essence of who you are, your intentions, and what you do – not the digits or mugshot that accompany your driver’s license – define you.
    Take care of those feet. Maybe you just need to buy some new colour-coordinated hiking boots for each day of the week, a new pair in a different colour for each day. I can’t wait to see hiking boots added to your wardrobe rotation!

    • goodyniosi says:

      You. You make me feel young and beautiful. Being loved by you is such a gift. Thank you. I have decided to wait until the end of the trek to buy new boots. I don’t dare do brand new with the state my feet are in – but that is only the sensible explanation. The “real” reason (confession) is that I don’t want to buy beautiful purple (or red or teal or yellow) boots and then immediately walk them through cow patties.

  2. Eric Martens says:

    We haven’t met yet, but your beauty shines through in your writing, your sharing and your smiles. Now, can we have a day off tomorrow or next day? Even my feet are sore..

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