Kategorie ‘Cervin’

Rice! This is luxury! I relax against the construction hut and empty by bowl. After last week's diet -- cereal in the morning, ramen in the evening -- a pot of rice warmed over seems like the best meal we have ever had. But weight is a problem, so we dispense with everything that contains lots of water or requires prolonged cooking (and thus a lot of gas).

Tomorrow will be our great day: we will ascend the Haut Glacier d'Arolla to Col Collon, the pass that shall bring us to Italy.

However, we have decided not to travel much farther to the south. The break during our first week has cost us a few days, so Milan is out of the question anyway. Moreover, no-one is really interested in a hike through the plains. Instead, we will turn to the east in Italy, then return to Switzerland.

I take in the Plans de Bertol, a narrow valley between Mont Collon and Douves Blanches. It is a lonely place, and now as the sun is setting, I have a weird feeling: it is almost as if were are the last humans, travelling through a Mad Max-like desert, concrete ruins from a fallen civilisation poking through the ground. In reality, we are simply looking at the visible parts of a vast array of lakes and canals belonging to a hydroelectric plant.

Around here, happiness is a warm sleeping bag, a bowl of rice, and a few square metres of level ground to lie down on.

Les Haudères already seems an eternity away; although it is just 10 km as the crow flies, and 1000 metres vertical, it has been the last bit of civilisation before the great wilderness that is the southern main ridge of the Alps. For the first time since beginning our trek, we are travelling for several days without seeing a small town or at least a large village. The bags of pre-cooked rice that have been weighing in my pack since then are now gone.

Tomorrow, it will be instant noodles again.

There are more pictures at bei Smugmug, and this text has a predecessor.

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The story I would like to write today starts on the 11th of September. It is a simple coincidence that this date has political significance, for my story is not about politics. On the 11th of September, I noticed that my free Flickr account is full. That is, I have uploaded 200 pictures over the course of the last years, so whenever I add a new one, the older photo vanishes. Flickr promises not to delete anything, and indeed I can use any vanished photo within my blog; however, they cannot be found on my Flickr page.

So what should I do? I could just live with it, but I have got very used to being in a photo community. I could spend a few Euros and upgrade to a Pro account. However, I did look for alternative sites and -- after some hesitation -- settled for Smugmug. Smugmug is a bit more expensive than Flickr, and they do not offer a free account. On the other hand, there a quite a few positive remarks to be found on the web; besides, I like their site.

So there it is: my new photo page. I have already added a few pictures from my Hartz hiking tours, but the page is still a bit empty compared to my old page on Flickr. So I look into my local photo album, and after a while I find what I need.

The story I would like to tell start on the 9th of August, 2003. Together with two friends, I am sitting on a camping ground in the Canton of Berne, checking the equipment for the last time. My pack also contains my trusted Rollei, and almost a dozen rolls of film. If everything goes according to plan, we will board a train in Italy in two and a half weeks, and look back on a long hike over the mountains.

The story I would like to tell really starts in 2002. A colleague, and a good friend -- we shall call him Martin -- has just finished his degree. As a reward, his colleagues present him with a hat made out of cardboard, whereas his family has some more useful presents. One of these is a GPS receiver. A few day later, we have already fixed the location of several points on Campus. However, Martin is of the opinion his new gadget needs a real test -- one that has to be done in the Alps.
I do not say anything. It is only during the weekend that I understand I will have to say something; otherwise, nothing will come of this remark.

The next weeks and months see us compiling a schedule. We will be three (Martin, his sister, and me) to cross the Alps. A classic route would be Munich--Venice, but that is quite a distance, and we have neither much time nor a lot of money. We decide to do a less ambitious hike from Interlaken to Milan. In contrast to his sister, Martin has never been on a 4000-meter mountain (and neither have I, of course), so we will visit Mt Bishorn, it being more or less en route.

All of this is now more than five years into the past; memories of the exhaustion has faded, but the beautiful moments are still quite vivid; and I still have a yearning for mountains -- real mountains -- which is stoked rather than quenched by the Harz.

During these years, the Internet has changed quite a bit. Back then, I published my pictures on a static HTML page as a gallery; nowadays, services like Flickr or Smugmug are available, and there is my favourite technique of geotagging. I have already uploaded a few photographs, and I would especially like to recommend the timeline link on the map.

As usual in the context of holiday pictures, there are a few more than the guests did look forward to; I will upload these during the next weeks. And if you look closely at the points on the map, you might notice that these do not quite fit on a line from Interlaken to Milan. But then again, I shall need some future text to go with my future pictures.

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