Ah – what to say about today and where to even start. First, I am heartened and feel blessed by the kindness of people. Again, another hotel host handed me sandwiches to take with me – no charge. These are kindnesses that are unexpected. Not big but because they are not huge, they are. I hope that makes sense.
It’s these little things that touch the heart and make a difference every day.
So I am grateful for this.
And then the hike: I dressed for rain. The clouds were low and threatening. 10 minutes later, I was de-layering like mad. The sun came out and most of the clouds drifted away. Hurrah! It was still cool but perfect for hiking. And here’s one really amazing thing: I didn’t encounter another hiker all day! None of the trails have been crowded. I’d say I’m encountering half a dozen people a day on average. But today – completely alone for 6 hours.
And because of that, I thought about the entire process of being alone. People consistently seem amazed that I would undertake a trek like this solo. I see nothing unusual about it.
And I realized how very much I like being alone (by the way, hang in there – I promise a lot of photos are coming). I am absolutely an introvert. I like hiking and never saying a word and not having anyone to talk to. This doesn’t mean I don’t love hiking with my buddies (especially Simon – my favourite hiking buddy) but there is something about the peace of being alone – of never having to say a word.
And I looked back and realized that until I was in my early teens and started hanging with a group in high school, I had always been much happier in my own company rather than that of others. I played elaborate make-believe games all by myself. And I was happy about it. My mother called me shy. I wasn’t shy. I just wanted to be alone.
And I like that about me. I think it’s a great strength. I say that not to boast but to affirm something I have often apologized for. I would much rather embrace this part of me, hug it to me and love it.
Okay. That’s one of today’s insights. Now then, the hike: the clouds came and went and the views opened up. This is a very different landscape with its own wild and wonderful beauty. So of course, I took a lot of photos:
The waterfall was wonderful. Scaling the side on steel steps, chains and wooden steps. Gorgeous place.
And I came across a sign explaining about the bears and wolves, lynx and foxes in Switzerland. Really? I looked it up. Yup, bears are making a comeback – a very small one but there are bears in the right habitat. Apparently today I walked up through a forest that was the right habitat.
And then the huge meadows opened up and some incredibly interesting rock formations:
And I kept hiking until I got to the top of the pass:
What was quite wonderful today was lunch in the sun on top of the pass. That has not happened for a while so I was madly pleased. And I’m awfully glad I opted for the Lauenen route rather than Gstaad (madly expensive tourist town). I knew Lauenen was small so I’d emailed the hotel the night before to ask about a room. The owner replied this morning saying she was out all day and would leave a key for me in the slot by the door. Sure enough, there it was – the key to the hotel and my room. Let me tell you about this room. Actually two rooms – huge (all for the price of a single mind you) I have a double bed and a couch and a huge bathroom with a tub so long and deep I was able to lie down in it (bliss) without my knees sticking up out of the water.
It’s got everything! That said, the restaurant does not operate on Monday or Tuesday and the only other place to eat is almost 1 kilometre down the road. I was considering trail mix for dinner with some plums I bought but I think I need to pile on some calories. I have not been doing a good job of that and I still have 3 days of hiking to go. So I shall make the trek and eat a big dinner.
And now – are you ready? Here it is:
Yes! Villars! Probably the best commercial chocolate you can buy in Switzerland. No – it’s not Sprungli Grand Cru, but oh my goodness. Oh joy. Oh happiness. It did not take long for this to happen:
And there we have it – today’s report.
Tomorrow will be a very short hike to Gsteig – maybe not even 3 hours. I am calling it a rest day even though it is stage 16. And then a very big day and then another biggish day and that’s it. Can’t believe I’ve come this far.
Happy to be doing this.
Very happy that when all this is done, I am going home to my love. This is, so far, everything I had hoped it would be. My walking meditation. My learning. And, of course, another f#$&ing learning experience.