Monday, November 15, 2010

Dusting off those hiking boots

Having spent the last week in beautiful Switzerland,  I'm pleased to say I think I have finally remembered what a mountain looks like again!!!! Two good friends of ours made the move to this Alp filled country not long after we moved to Holland. The boys are working on the same project and so a work related trip to Switzerland was called for - and of course, a hike up a mountain! We dusted off our trusty hiking boots and drove up to Champex - a lovely lake surrounded by mountains and started the hike up to to La Belvedere.

Having not played in snow in over a year (the 'snow' at the indoor ski centre doesn't count!) it was SO very exciting to discover these piles of somewhat dirty snow by the side of the road - we happily played in them and threw some snowballs at each other, not at all expecting to see any more snow that day.

The walk up to the chalet wasn't a tough one (although, I have become reasonably unfit and so many rest breaks were required) and there were some lovely views of the surrounding snow topped mountains.

As we were getting closer to the top, our pace slowed down - I'm certainly not as fit as I used to be (I blame stroopwafels. Lots and lots of stroopwafels). Us girls were lagging behind and all of a sudden, the boys yelled out that there was snow ahead. Thinking that this was just a ploy to make us walk faster, we both didn't believe them - that is, until snowballs started raining down on our poor unsuspecting heads!!! There were large patches of snow that were just SO much fun to (carefully) jump in and make snowballs out of!!!!

A couple of minutes later, Mitch tells us - it's SNOWING!!!! Once again, we didn't believe him until we saw it for ourselves - tiny little icy snowflakes falling ever so lightly... It was SO exciting for these 4 Queenslanders!!!!! We made it to the top and ran around eating it and watching it land on our clothes.

As we tried to shelter under the roof of the locked chalet, the snow started to get heavier and heavier - not only covering the ground and trees but making it hard to see.

Seeing as we couldn't get inside the chalet, we found shelter in a nearby wood shed while deciding what to do - wait it out or make our way back down. Figuring that chances were it would only get worse, we msged someone to let them know where we were (didn't want to end up on the Swiss news as the silly Aussies stuck on a mountain) and slowly made our way back down.

We are 4 sensible people and although I felt quite safe despite being unprepared for getting caught out in a snow storm, we certainly learnt an important lesson that day - in Switzerland, be prepared for ANYTHING on a hike! Snow wasn't predicted that day but as we discovered, anything is possible when up the top of a mountain. Next time I'm taking a waterproof jacket even if it's bright and sunny (my sweet husband gave me his and walked back down in only a jumper, not even a scarf - mind you, despite the snow, it actually wasn't at all cold) and plenty of supplies, just in case!!!! I wonder if the novelty of snow will ever wear off for me???

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