I don't kick the ball, volley the serve, ride the wave, tip-toe to the Nutcracker, play for Love, or have ambitions of making Lance Armstrong my bitch.
Until Switzerland, I didn't have an activity I was devoted to.
I used to play softball, and turned out to be a surprisingly good pitcher. I say surprisingly because it was a position I was never too keen on playing, for fear of being in the way of some vicious line drives.
But one day both our pitchers were unavailable and the coach put me on the mound. Then lo it was discovered I could pitch strikes. No one was more shocked by this than myself.
The pinnacle of that athletic feat came the next season when I pitched three no-hit innings in a row. Then I was hit in the thigh by a line drive.
Even the stitching on the ball left a mark.
Can you say 'hematoma'.
I also have dallied with swimming for years. I used to be in a club, but have really just pursued the sport for fun. It is not uncommon for me to go through phases where I will swim five or six days a week for months and months and months, then abruptly stop. For months and months and months.
Yes, I love swimming but it's not a constant companion.
My mom is my exact opposite; in fact, I believe she is currently working on making Lance Armstrong her bitch. She is totally into sports, and I think my lack of physical drive might sometimes cause her worry.
I believe this is why she at one point tried to enlist me to be her gym buddy. She set me up on the stationary bike, the timer clocked in at twenty minutes, and off I went. About seven minutes in, I called out nervously:
"This is getting difficult. I haven't touched anything, and there's resistance in my pedaling."
"Don't worry, for about one and half minutes you are going to be climbing, then it will even out. This happens about every five minutes."
"What!....%#$@grumblegrumblegrumble$%@#" Was my response.
Then about nine minutes in to this little experiment I put my hand to my forehead and cried: I'M SWEATING!
I don't think I went back after that. Sorry Mom.
But I now have an activity I love to do, and it's all thanks to how accessible the Swiss have made this activity: hiking.
Hiking. Hiking. Hiking. Hiking. I love hiking. I really love it.
I complain, I still struggle to make it up, but god damn there's nothing more satisfying than staring into the valley below you and knowing you climbed from there.
This is why a week hiking in Adelboden was the perfect birthday gift for me. It didn't matter that we only had two days of sun and the rest of the week was cloudy and rainy, it was only important that I was in the mountains and I was climbing, I was exploring, and I was challenging myself.
The intermediate trails are probably as far as I will advance this season, but my goal is that next summer I will complete one of those elusive white and blue marked trails.
Here are some pictures from our first sunny day hike.
Day One: Hike to the Falls
Everywhere in Adelboden you can see this one giant waterfall cascading down a distant mountain. This became our first destination. This hike wasn't physically challenging, but it was beautiful and you cover a lot of ground. It is a satisfying day hike from the outskirts of Adelboden.
Crossing the Creek
Destination in the distance!
This creek was where I iced my knees in the evenings.
As we hiked along, we passed a family who were raking in their hay harvest...by hand. Their field was right on the side of a mountain, and the family was in the field wielding huge rakes and piling that sweet grass into mounds. Then the father slowly drove beside the mounds while his young son pitched the hay into the back of the truck. Then the father would drive the load of hay to the front of the barn and dump it, where his father (or maybe father-in-law) would shovel the feed up a chute that sucked every last straw into the hay loft of the barn.
You thought your job was hard.
Little hay truck.
Grandpa shoveling the hay...
...into the chute.
I felt like asking them if I could help. It was one in the afternoon at this point, and half the field still had to be raked, never mind pitched then funneled into the chute.
But I was a chicken and was lame and didn't. Instead we kept hiking to our destination of Switzerland's second tallest waterfall. I don't know where the tallest one is located, and I'm too lazy to Google it.
We came from down in that valley, around the bend.
Who needs Bounce when you have mountain air?
And then finally, finally, we reached the falls. Well, the bottom half of the falls anyhow. To see the top of the falls you need to (a) take a gondola up--which we did the next day; or (b) be a rock climber, complete with rope, helmets, and a buddy system. Not for me.
Falling for waterfalls
Safety for rock climbers
Nature's washing machine
As we hiked out, I took my favourite shot of the day.
A man and his poodles.
Next up, Day Two.
Otherwise known as That Time Dan and Caitie got Schooled by a Mountain.