Monday, 12 July 2010

Let's Get our Wander Wegging

So last Saturday, Dan and I hiked the Jaunpass. 

The weather was as angry as a pageant mom who's precious little three year old just lost the 'sexy' competition, and I wasn't prepared for it.  Even though Dan told me "today they are predicting sun, clouds, and lightening" I just laughed him off and said, "why don't they predict snow too and get all their weather bases covered."

As he was packing up the backpack, he handed me my raincoat. 

"Aren't you going to put it in the backpack?"

"No room."

"I have to carry it?"

"Yep.  I'm carrying mine."

"Well, I'm not going to bring it then.  We'll be fine.  I mean LOOK at how nice it is outside!"

Then when our train dropped us off, and we were waiting for the bus to take us up to the Jaunpass, I felt totally justified in my no-raincoat decision.

Not a cloud in the sky!

(NOTE: this is where I will interject to say, I at this point had not realized my sensor was full of dust.  All the pictures from this trip are spotty)

So the bus carried us up a mountain that was switch-back after switch-back, and I got very excited for my first hike in the mountains since I'd arrived in Switzerland.

The path that must be followed

Gone fishin'. Be back when the snow flies.

First glimpse of the Alps!

Looks can be deceiving

The first solid two hours of this hike were straight uphill, so naturally I got a little winded after the first hour and fifty-eight minutes.  Okay fine!  I was actually winded after the first two minutes!  So anyhow, as we hiked this mountain field, which is way more of an incline than this picture does justice to, I was breathing pretty hard.  Add to the fact the farmer had just sprayed his field with fresh LIQUID cow shit, and my gag reflex almost choked me. 

I was an utter mess. Stumbling, retching, trying to avoid the glistening brown moisture that taunted me from every blade of grass, trying not to breathe but then running out of oxygen and having to take a HUGE breath of the tainted mountain air.  I almost upchucked my morning yoghurt.  Four times. 

Meanwhile, my mountain goat Swiss is merrily tramping along like he's the most fit person in the world (I do WAY more exercise than him, and I'm always the one flopping around like some fish that can't breathe) calling back to me to suck it up.

"You grew up around cows, you should be used to this smell!" 

"Dan!  The cows didn't get together and take a giant putrid dump at the same time, and then mix it with chemicals! Barnyards have a softer scent than....BLAH!! GAG!! KILL ME NOW!!"

Don't blame us

The Jaunpass is pretty cool because farmers have brought their livestock up into the mountains for summer grazing, and the farmers live up there too in little houses.  We must have passed about seven farmers, who had big tin milk pails in the backs of their vehicles, headed down the mountain to sell their morning milk in the village. 

When we were waiting for the bus to take us up, we saw a couple of farmers at the milk house in the village, getting the milk pumped out of their tins.  Later we found out that that milk house accepts the milk specifically for cheese making.  Really cool!

There be cows in this barn.  I heard them. And smelled them.

Which direction should I choose that will really drive the final nail in Caitie's coffin of unfitness?

As you can see, a couple of fluffy white clouds decided to join the party.  But seriously, they look about as dangerous as baby kittens.  Because even though baby kittens have little weak claws and tiny teeth, the biggest threat they pose to you is the fact you're guaranteed to keel over from the sweetness of just looking at them.

What I'm saying is, I still felt confident that I didn't have my raincoat.

I'd like to sit somewhere with a view, please.

Hello cow.  Thou art beautiful.

We came from down there, and we're only a quarter of the way done.
At this point I may have laughed hysterically, just to keep from crying.

I'm a Swiss.  These mountains are my playground.  I laugh at your weakness, Canadian.

Picture A

So when we got to this hill, Dan was fairly confident it was the final leg of our uphill journey.  I grabbed onto his words like an emotional eater grabs a ding-dong, and I found a burst of energy that had me practically shoving these people out of my way to get to the top.

See that little dot of a human?  The drop off behind her is Picture A, above.

Oh the irony of it all

This cross was at the top of that hill.  So were these heavy clouds.  I started to get a little worried that maybe I should have packed my raincoat.

We ate a couple of nectarines, and decided to get down into the valley before eating lunch.  So we resumed our hike, which was incidentally still uphill.

Yep.  Officially worried.

Why isn't there an intervention team, hanging around to save me from myself!
Raincoat! Raincoat!


This was the last picture I snapped, before the sky released a torrential downpour and the thunder knocked us off the mountain top.  If you want to know how loud thunder can be, hike to the top of the Jaunpass.

And again, the irony of it all, we finally came to a downward slide just as the rain turned the ground underneath our feet into a water slide.  Downward slide indeed.

And though the Swiss may be a mountain goat who will always kick my butt at climbing mountains, he is a chivalrous mountain goat and he gave me his raincoat.  I married a keeper.  He married an idiot.

But, don't forget that this weather was an  angry pageant mom/bipolar.  After about twenty minutes of this downpour, the sun came out and shone like there was no such thing as rain.

At this point we were faced with a decision: Do we take the shortcut off the mountain? Or do we keep with our original hike plan, even though we're still two hours away from being done.

As Dan said, "We're the FAs and we're hiking what we came here to hike."


Water trough

Weathered barn

Cooling off in the creek

But as soon as we got far enough away from the shortcut, and not close enough to be finished, the angry pageant mom that was last Saturday's weather, reared her stormy head and was seriously: "Y'all, my three old daughter Sugar should have won the sexy competition!  I HATE Y'ALL!  Y'ALL ARE STUPID BEEOTCHES WHO DON'T HAVE GOOD TASTE! Look at how high I teased her hair, and how skimpy her outfit is, and how much make-up I loaded on her face! And did y'all even notice the fake tan, and creepy perfect teeth! Y'ALL ARE GONNA PAY FOR THIS!"

And pay we did.

The rain came down, Dan once again gave me his raincoat, and we struggled the last hour towards the gondola station.

Gondola station in the distance!

It's not night. It's actually two o'clock in the afternoon.
Don't make a pageant mom mad.

As Dan and I sat our weary and wet selves down in the gondola, and started frantically shoving our lunch into our hungry maws, we reflected on the walk as lightening pierced the sky and seemed to strike the very paths we'd been walking.

"Would you do this hike again Dan?"

"Yeah, I think so.  What about you?"

"Most definitely.  I might even bring my raincoat next time."


mom said...

Too funny Cait! Just like the Master Card ad in relation to your rain coat, "never leave home without it". You would need your rain coat here is raining, going to have 70km hour winds, thunder, lightening and hail! It is black out and it is 8:30 am. I love your pictures!


Anonymous said...

Caitie - You always leave me laughing with your great posts!! I love the "I married a keeper, He married an idiot" comment! Bet he doesn't think so!! Looks like you are having one great adventure after another!!

T said...

I laughed so much in this post Caitie! I kept thinking the entire time: Dan's going to end up giving up his rain coat..

Caitie said...

Jana-Hello! We are having a pretty great time, and I'm so happy to be here! But I fear my observation that he's a keeper and I'm a dunce, is fairly accurate. I should probably make an effort to change this. Maybe tomorrow.

Thriza--Yep, Dan is a keeper. He could have rubbed it in my face with a whole bunch of 'told you so!' but instead he practically shoved my arms into the jacket when I was all, "but it's my fault I didn't bring mine, you should use your jacket."