And there it is : early morning heading out of Lauenen to Gsteig (pronounced like Gstaad, which is pronounced like knife).
What a glorious morning – delayering pretty darn quick. In fact, I went so far as to roll up my pant legs. Yes, it was that beautiful and warm. And the Krinnon Pass, although done in two hours, seemed a lot more work than the guide had indicated. Either that or I’m getting tired. That said, I’m probably more excited about tomorrow’s crossing than any yet. More of that in a bit.
First, I want to state right here and now that I am incredibly blessed. I tried last night to find a place to stay in Gsteig. Well, it seems that as of the end of August the three hotels in that very tiny village, closed for the season and don’t open again until skiing starts. I mentioned this to yesterday’s hotel owner. She immediately got on the phone and called a friend who owns a big farmhouse in Fleuroey (something like that) which is a little ways out of Gsteig and even tinier that that village. Seems her friend runs a wee B&B in her house on the hill and yes, she had a room for me.
Super. That’s where I was headed then. But first I had to cross this bridge that was so narrow it brushed the sides of my pack:
And then, as usual, I went up. And at the top of the pass I had one of those out-loud “wow” moments.
Yeah – pretty nice. And I got my dog fix on the way down with a beautiful, sweetheart of a cocker spaniel. And then I arrived in Gsteig – after not seeing another person on the trail all day. Yes, Gsteig was cute and I checked out the start of the trail for tomorrow. Good stuff – bus service from Gstaad to Gsteig runs early and I can catch that bus tomorrow. Then I hoofed it to my farm, arriving at about 12.30.
What a beautiful place. It’s decades old, totally typical alpine farmhouse with huge beams and rafters and my room is just the most amazingly beautiful rustic thing ever. I’ve always wondered what one of these chalets was like. Well, even homier and lovelier than I had imagined.
The farmers have 6 rooms (I think) and a huge common room for guests and a kitchen just for guests and a bathroom and, because at this point I appear the be the only guest, I have it all to myself.
And no, there’s no restaurant nearby. This hamlet is so tiny you wouldn’t even notice it driving through. But there is a wee grocery store in the Schoolhouse (!) where I picked up a couple of rolls, some fresh soft just-made cheese and a ton of salad ingredients. That will be dinner. That plus the bowl of apples in the kitchen – from the orchard in the back yard.
Now here’s the good part: I don’t have to take the bus back to Gsteig tomorrow morning to start my hike. All I have to do is step out the door here and I am on the hiking trail going up to Col de Pillon, which joins up with the proper trail. Just like that. I may even be saving a couple of dozen metres of elevation gain.
See what I mean when I say I am blessed?
And the farmer said she would give me breakfast any time I wanted so that I could get an early start and she’s making a sandwich to take with me.
I mean, really, I am being treated like royalty. And I know how lucky I am. And I am grateful for this experience.
Here’s the view from the farmhouse just outside the door. I snapped the pic when I went down to the little shop:
I also finally took the time to take a couple of flower pics. The meadows and fields have been a riot of alpine flowers and I have been incredibly remiss about pics. Know why? When you’ve got a big heavy pack on your back, it’s really hard to crouch down to take the photos. Every time I’ve thought “I should really get a picture here” I’ve had the second thought of, “no way, I’m sure to do a face plant – either that or I’ll never get up again.”
But here: autumn crocuses which have been crazy proliferous all along the way:
And I loved these sunflowers. I’m not kidding when I tell you they were at least 7 feet tall!
Last but not least! State of body and mind. Right foot appears to be better every day. Things are healing. I have whole hours at a time when I don’t even notice it. So that’s truly super. The daily doctoring is making a huge difference. However, my left knee is not happy. I’m also hearing a few clicking noises now and then as I go downhill. I’m pretty sure all it needs is a couple days rest. And that’s coming very soon. Imagine – only two more days! Amazing!
As for my mind: again today, I have had a lot of time to watch its antics. I’ll tell you one of the things my mind does – and I think it’s been doing this forever. ( but I’ll say “I” instead of “my mind” – may as well take full ownership.) I compare myself to others and rarely in a flattering way. In school, I was always comparing my exam and test results. Did I do better or worse that the others? Sports – did I run faster? Life: am I prettier, thinner, sexier? The list is a long one.
And lately – am I more creative? A better writer? Am I a faster, more competent, more fearless hiker?
Sometimes it feels like life is a competition.
I actually feel a bit angry about this. The anger directed inward. And that’s freeing. I don’t want to feel like I have to “keep up.” Its time to drop all of that, mainly my own expectations of myself. It’s time to just feel what I really want out of any activity I do and not care how it compares to anyone else – and not care about how anyone else views what I do. I have to do what feels right for me. It’s not even about what makes my happy in the moment. It’s what feels right: that solid thunk of good feeling you get when you know you’re on the right track.
And I have to fight my demons too. They say that once you have an addiction, you are never truly in the clear – you have to watch and step carefully. I know this is true of my past anorexia. Like all “addictions” it’s a powerful one because it gives a feeling of being in control. And I notice that the sleeping beast wakes up just a tiny bit when I feel I’ve lost control. And, just like 40 years ago, it’s pattern tends to be an increased exercise load rather than not eating. I have to watch it.
At least I’m aware.
And those are some of the thoughts I watched today. But now tomorrow. I am excited. I know that I’m going to walk in the very high places all day tomorrow and it’s giving to be a gorgeous day.