Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mica View Short Walk

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#33: North Country Trail Maintenance, November 2013

On a crisp overcast late autumn morning I joined many others to help do some trail maintenance on the North Country Trail. The Spirit of the Woods had a big morning planned and since our Great Lakes Hikes annual gathering was happening nearby some of us decided to join them on their project. They also had volunteers from the Ferris State Outdoor Club helping out. The project was to rebuild boardwalk that had been wrecked in a massive treefall and to improve nearby trail making it accessible to people in wheelchairs too. That meant widening existing trail in some places and smoothing it out everywhere. For 3 hours, which seeemed to be the length of the entire project, everyone worked at various tasks and quite a bit seemed to get done. I'm sure the organizers were happy with the results. I know we felt good about the work. That's one big reason why people do this type of thing. To help improve something that others will use and know you have had a tangible effect on the thing in question: that you made a difference. This little video should give you an idea of what it can be like to help in such a project and perhaps you will want to take part in similar projects in your local (or not so local) area.

You can find the photos you saw in the video (along with captions) in this photo album.

You can learn more about the North Country Trail at the trail's Official web site.

A version of this video can also be found on YouTube.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

15th annual Great Lakes Hikes Gathering

Thursday, November 7, 2013

#32: NCT Overnight: Prairieville to Middle, November 2013

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Over the last few years I've joined John Lawton and Andy Mytys and we've hiked portioned of the North Country Tail, the NCT, in Michigan. The NCT in Michigan runs for about 1,100 miles using paved roads, dirts roads, rails to trails, two-tracks, and actual hiking trails. For this hike, the first weekend of November, we didn't have anyone to help us so we had to use 2 cars. This meant setting up a car shuttle and hiking leapfrog style between the cars. Doing this we were able to hike the 28-29 miles from just south of Prairieville to Middleville. We weren't quite sure why type of weather we would get. It seemed that we might actually have to cancel the hike due to severe storms but the weather report moderated to showers with highs in the mid-upper 40s and a low around freezing. For a variety of reasons I did not do much recording during the hike though I do have several thoughts I want to share.

More photos can be found in the Flickr Photo Album here. or if you prefer the Google photo album here.Captions associated with the photos in this podcast

Ken near Prairieville Municipal Park
It is a crisp overcast autumn morning at the Prairieville Municipal Park. The temperature is probably in the low 40s with little wind to bother us. The threat of rain, we think, is past. It promises to be a fine day for hiking even with the first several miles being a road walk (two line paned and dirt roads).

Photo by Andy Mytys
Prairieville Township Parker Road Park
At the start of our overnight hiking trip along the North Country Trail. The road walk will cover probably close on 8 miles of paved and dirt roads. They're fairly quiet roads with farms and other homes on each side. But what I think we noticed most at first were the large numbers of sandhill cranes that flew on by during the morning.

Photo by Andy Mytys
Deep Lake
Deep Lake not long after sunrise. The campground is rather large with campsites that are big in their own right. The night until around 04:45 or so was actually quite warm. But then the temperature plunged to about 30°F. Before then it stayed fairly warm in the low 40s even when a bit of rain came through around 03:00.
Hall Lake
The clouds let the sunlight break through now and then providing us with brilliant splashes of fall color (OK, maybe I pumped it just a tad). Andy stands on the shore of Hall Lake not far from our car and the end of the first day of hiking. We set up camp at Deep Lake Campground.
Fall in Michigan's Lower Peninsula can be very pleasant.

Photo by Andy Mytys
Forest and Fields
Now and then we would pass a grassy area like this. I'm not sure how many were working farm fields and how many just natural glades though I suspect more were the former than the latter. When in the State Game or Recreation Areas we were in rolling forests dotted with lakes.
The Prairieville Family Inn, I believe that's the right name, is a great place to have dinner. I expect breakfast and lunch are just as good. The food, especially the pie, is more than enough to make a tired hiker happy. Just look at the hot chocolate Andy is having. Another nice feature of stopping at a place like this is meeting those people who work there. They first thought we were hunters scouting for the upcoming rifle deer season but when they learned we were hikers they shared stories of meeting Strider (Luke Jordan) who had stopped here on in thru-hike of the NCT (now completed). They learned a lot from him including the fact that the NCT exists (never having known what those blue blazes were until Luke explained).

Photo by Andy Mytys
The last 3 miles and change of the hike into Middleville are along a Rails to Trails paved path that arrows through this flooding. It is the Thornapple Trail and their are some "rules" associated with it that are obeyed only kind of sort of.

Photo by Andy Mytys

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Friday, November 1, 2013

#31: Peru and Ecuador - Part 2 The Sacred Valley People

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Along with my parent I joined 10 other people for a two week long trip to Peru and Ecuador. This would be our first Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) trip. It would prove to be quite an interesting and informative experience overall. It is best to think of this as really two trips rolled into one. The first week we spent in Peru traveling mostly through the Sacred Valley with a key highlight being our overnight visit to Machu Picchu. The second week was spent in Ecuador and the key component there was our 4 days spent  sailing amongst the Galapagos Islands. OAT trips, at least this one, have a goal of "learning and discovery" and one result of that is you move much more slowly than we are used to doing either by ourselves or with groups such as we travel with when on HF Holiday hiking trips. While an OAT trip can have physical challenges such as dealing with high altitude conditions, Machu Picchu sits at about 8,000 feet and Cusco at just over 11,000 feet above sea level or sea sickness on the 16-passenger catamaran the actual physical endeavors are modest. But you will still experience quite a lot even though at times you may feel both rushed or stuck in place depending on circumstances.

We spent about a week touring the region known as the Sacred Valley. This is the very high alpine valley region that used to be the key region of the Inca Empire. While people go to the Sacred Valley to experience the antiquities their is much more to the region than just the ruins of past civilizations. A big part of an Overseas Adventure Travel trip is learning about the people that live in the place you're visiting. In this segment we'll take a quick look at what we discovered. 

You can find more on the A Wanderingknight Blog. Photos can be found at the Flickr Photo Album.

At 12,000 feet above sea level the mountains seem a bit barren. However, agriculture is practiced anywhere it can be even more.
The soil looks rich and the farmers are growing several types of plants (corn, squash, and some sort of bean I think) but it's clearly hard communal work. The bulls pull simple plows made of a local, maybe eucalyptus, wood; people direct the bulls; others place seeds in the furrows; and, still there is work for more. And yet they were happy to see us perhaps just because we represent a break in the day.
Near the village of Chinchero we stopped at at co-op based weavers business. The weavers here are all women but from what I learned days later in a textile shop/museum in Cusco both genders learn to weave though perhaps the men general don't do it as a job (they do to attract attention). This work reminded me a bit of what we saw in Turkey. Here they work with llama or alpaca fibers and as you can see from their clothing it can be quite intricate. All materials are natural. Dad got a chance to dye some yarn.
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Perhaps Pavel, our trip leader who is from the Cosco region, told us what this statue is all about but I don't recall now. It is a stunning setting though.
From the roof of the fair sized house we had lunch in. It's true this home with its nice courtyard is home to a good sized family who definitely share close quarters but it is a big step up from many of the shacks you see here.
We walked around this little village for a time. It was rather quiet. Some people were out preparing for an event but other than that it felt rather empty.
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While each portion of cuy (pronounce, "cu-ee") was tiny just some skin and a small bite or two of meat I think it is fair to say that this guinea pig was the star attraction of the home cooked meal. Cuy is considered something of a special treat and I think everyone enjoyed it. Some of us the previous night watched the lady of the house slaughter and butcher this cut so we had seen it go from alive to lunch. The other food included a tasty soup, stuffed peppers, potatoes, and some other things I'm no doubt forgetting. A lovely fine lunch and hosted by a friendly family with some very exuberant children.
Our group and the fifth grade class we visited for a time. One thing Overseas Adventure Travel does is support organizations with financial assistance. In this case a school in Urabamba. While the children seemed enthusiastic it is clear the facilities they have need improvement. That can be said of so much in the region. Infrastructure from basic plumbing to reliable power is far from what it should be.
Using a variety of natural materials to paint designs into the ceramics seems to be entirely done by the ladies who work at Seminario Ceramics studio (the men do the shaping of the clay). This studio is run be renown ceramicists and must surely represent part of the peak of artistry in the region.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

#30: Peru and Ecuador, 2013 - Part 1 Lima

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Along with my parent I joined 10 other people for a two week long trip to Peru and Ecuador. This would be our first Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) trip. It would prove to be quite an interesting and informative experience overall. It is best to think of this as really two trips rolled into one. The first week we spent in Peru traveling mostly through the Sacred Valley with a key highlight being our overnight visit to Machu Picchu. The second week was spent in Ecuador and the key component there was our 4 days spent  sailing amongst the Galapagos Islands. OAT trips, at least this one, have a goal of "learning and discovery" and one result of that is you move much more slowly than we are used to doing either by ourselves or with groups such as we travel with when on HF Holiday hiking trips. While an OAT trip can have physical challenges such as dealing with high altitude conditions, Machu Picchu sits at about 8,000 feet and Cusco at just over 11,000 feet above sea level or sea sickness on the 16-passenger catamaran the actual physical endeavors are modest. But you will still experience quite a lot even though at times you may feel both rushed or stuck in place depending on circumstances.
First we would spent a day in Lima, Peru. Lima is a bustling city and rather large with correspondingly maddeningly slow yet hectic traffic. It seems to take well over a half hour to get from anywhere to anywhere. Our hotel was located in the Miraflores district which is a posh area of the city quite different in feel from the heart of the downtown where central government buildings and the like are. We spent a very interesting bit of time at the archeological museum which held artifacts of ceramic and tapestries some of which are pushing 3,000 years old. It is a compelling reminder that civilizations thrived in this area for a considerable length of time and that the Inca Empire was only a tiny, admittedly very impressive, capstone to the history of the area before the conquest by the Spanish lead by Pizzaro in 1532. Visiting the convent (monastery maybe; I'm not sure - Pavel and the local guide Elisa - I think that's her name - said "convent" but I'm not sure that's what they meant) where lengthy lines of people waited to enter for a months saints day service (Saint Anthony I think) was striking. These were routine services but clearly important. I think we were struck more by this than the throngs in a central square that were watching the Michael Jackson impersonations concert going on just a couple blocks away.
Our hotel is located in the Miraflores district of Lima. Just a couple of block away built into the cliffs that drop down to the Pacific ocean is a pedestrian shopping mall. It's a pretty posh seeming place though when we walked through it just after 9:00 AM on Saturday it was pretty much empty. When we walked some of the streets later in the day things were definitely busier in this area.

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We visited the archeological museum in Lima. To get anywhere from our hotel it seemed to take easily 30 minutes by minibus. I am not sure if that says more about traffic congestion, though traffic did seem heavy, or how spread out Lima is. The museum is home to numerous artifacts including tapestries and ceramics (like this). Some of the artifacts are 3,000 years old. Seeing the works of cultures that predate the Inca who really are just the last one and only present for a very short time is impressive.

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We visited the heart of Lima and in this  square found a Michael Jackson impersonation concert going on. Perhaps some protests too. But the real big deal here was at a monastery (I think) that was running constant services for a saint. I think it may have been Saint Anthony and this type of thing happens every month. The lines of people for what must be a regular and routine yet important service is remarkable.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

First Days in Peru

At the base of the sun temple that overlooks the village of Ollantaytambo. I think we had to climb some 270 steps to reach the stones that the Inca used to mark important evetns throughout the year.

Our first full day in the Sacred Valley is winding down. This is our third full day in Peru. The first day was spent in Lima and yesterday was largely a travel day though it had many stops along the way some of which were very fun. We have several highlights already running the gamut from contemporary cultural experiences to absorbing the history of the region which stretches well past the time of the Inca Empire. I'lm just going to touch on some key points as I am writing this from my nice hotel room in Urubamba and don't want to tax their open WIFI too hard.

Let's first note the simple fact that we cram a lot into our time here and that this is a radically different type of trip than our usual fare. It is much more of a tour type trip with an emphasis on learning about the place and the people who live there. That can include some hiking and I suppose other physical activities but that is certainly not the focus. In Lima we walked a little bit but due to the design of the city we spent a considerable amount of time on our little bus getting from the city center, to the archeological museum, to our hotel. The museum is definitely worth a visit and you quickly learn how far back extensive civilizations extend. In fact, the Inca empire though quite large only lasted a short time; about 100 years as I understand things. THey built on the works of people who had come before.. Seeing the textiles, ceramic vessels, and metal work that societies created that range in age from 1000 to perhaps close on 3,000 years gives you a great sense of history.

This was just one of the many vessels we saw at the archeological museum. The textiles are just as impressive. Many of these artifacts date back well beyond the rise of the Inca Empire to people like the Wari who controlled substantial area between 400 and 900 A.D.

We left Lima to fly to Cusco moderately early the following day. Ours was far from the first flight. I know at least 3 flights went before us and who knows how many after us. It is a straightforward flight though I gather weather conditions at the 11,200 foot elevation airport can cause problems on a fairly regular basis. Piling into another bus we would work our way over a mountain pass (about 12,500 feet I believe) and then down towards Urubamba and our hotel. Along the way we paused for some photo shots of the tall glacier clad peaks (the snow line around 16,000 feet). It feels a bit barren actually around here. Even with the farming that clearly goes on wherever it can this doesn't feel like a lush area though water is plentiful and the soil looks good. Watching a family work a field really drives home how tough life can be here. They had several bulls pulling eucalyptus (I think) hewn plows to create furrows in which corn, fava beans, and squash were dropped. Slow and no doubt tough work that really does require multiple people. A couple members of our group took a whack at driving the bull. The people were friendly and seemed more than willing to show us tourists what they were up too.

The video shows Ray working the wood plow.

Some of the weavers we visited on our way to Urubamba. The stop at this co-op was very interesting. Seeing how they produce the llama and alpacka table runners, blankets, hats, ponchos, and other things was a lot of fun.

We passed through a small village or two and our guide, Pavel, was in high spirits sharing his knowledge and love of the are. He was born in this area and his faimly (we saw his father I believe) is mostly still here.

Today we went to the sun temple tthat overlooks the village of Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is not that far from here though it is clear that even though the roads aren't too bad traffic can never move quickly even on a highway (such as they are). Ollantaytambo is quite small and you go there for the temple not the town. We began our assault of the somewhat uneven but wide enough steps to the temple itself. You pass several small terraces as you climb and those were used for agriculture among other things. Of course, the important part of the temple are the stones at the top that mark the seaons with the passage of the sun. The priests exerted control in many ways to be sure but one important way was being able to mark key events throughout the year such as planting times, the turning of the seasons, harvest times, and so on. The masonary that went into building the steps, the walls that mark the terraces, and the astronimcal calendar is, of course, impressive. It a bit of a shame that upkeep of the town doesn't quite match it. Sadly poverty is a fact of life here and that can be seen in many ways from the omes many live in to the maintenance (or its lack) of bathrooms at what is clearly an important spot for historical and tourist reasons. But it is worth visiting places like this to get a sense of just what was achieved 600 years ago.

We moved on to a much more modern set of activities in the afternoon. Starting off with a visit to a little factory that makes a local corn beer which I found alright but not fantastic, to a local elementary school where we peeked in on a fifth grade class. Personally I suspect the nosy tourists get more thrills out of this than the kids do thought they seemed to enjoy the time we were there. We dropped in on a local market which appeared busy enough though at the same time it felt a little ramshackle. We ended the afternoon at a nearby home for a home-cooked lunch. Some of us had visited there last night to see our hostess, Emma, kill and butcher the cui (sp) (guinea pig) that would be a key component of the lunch. That naturally brings home the close ties the people, many of them certainly, have with the land. Guinea pig is considered a delicacy and so isn't served too often. This one provided our group of 14 with a enough for a taste of the skin (rather hard to chew but a nice flavor) and bites of meat which was also rather pleasantly tasty. I reckon everyone enjoyed the repast from helping make the stuffed peppers with their caps of dough to the good potato and vegetable soup, rice and potatoes, and a local fruit collection for desert. I hope the host family enjoys the time with us too.

Tomorrow we head, again with stops, to Machu Picchu where we will overnight. That is going to be an interesting experience on many levels I think and in some ways the historical aspect will be the least of them.

Location:PE 28F,,Peru

Friday, September 13, 2013

Autumnal Blurs, Perhaps

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I had a beer in Kalamazoo

Monday, August 12, 2013

North Country Trail Maintenance

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Highbanks Lake campground. This is a fine campground and it was nearly full when we arrived in early afternoon. I have never seen so many boats on the lake. Seeing even one is unusual; three is a first. The fellows in the rowboat seemed to have no trouble catching some big fish (brown trout I think).

Andy got this fire going with some birch bark and his Light My Fire fire steel. John, shown here, chopped up the branches Andy and I brought in. It was a great fire.

The coals were still hot when we woke around 8:00AM. It was easy to re-kindle the fire which felt nice as its heat beat the damp cool air back.

The water at Flowing Wells at historic Alleyton is cold, have a touch of sulfur, are iron rich and reportedly potable. The water definitely soothes the savage itch from scores of mosquito bites. I think we can trust Andy on this as he was covered in bites; par for the course for him.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bye bye Blimpy Burger

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Maker Faire, Detroit 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Storm Filled Walk

We made the straightforward drive to Mackinac City with just one large, needed our emergency lights on, type rain storm to hinder our drive. The ferry ride to Mackinac Island was smooth and soon we were leaving the very busy streets of the town that mixed modern era with Victorian flare behind. Avoiding hordes of cyclist and frequent horse-drawn carriages and dreys we were soon walking the lakeshore route around the southeastern end of the island. It is a road walk but still a pretty walk. As we walked the skies darkened and distant rumbling thunder could be heard. We were walking towards the storm and about 2.5 miles in to our walk the storm arrived. We ducked under trees and my poncho for some time to try and stay dry. We did manage rather well I think. Once the weather broke we continued our walk around and then via the Britush military landing site ( war of 1812) we returned through the forested middle of the island back to the bustling village. A fine afternoon.

We are back at our hotel on the mainland now. Full of decent dinner and very good ice cream.

Location:Mackinaw Crossings Dr,Mackinaw City,United States

Friday, July 19, 2013

A stormy Walk on Mackinac Island

Monday, July 15, 2013

Communities and Sharing. Chris Buhalis Benefit Concert

Friday, July 12, 2013

Rolling Sculpture, Ann Arbor 2013

Adelboden, Switzerland Choleren Gorge

Inside Choleren Gorge
In the Choleren Gorege is impressive. It is impressive because of the torrents of water rushing by, the overhanging massive cliffs, and the metal walkway that has been built to permit passage.

Our free day was going to be a quiet one. Like many, though certainly not all, we decided to visit Choleren Gorge which HF leader Geoff had been praising for some time. The gorge is a bit more than 2 miles northeast of the town and it is an easy walk assuming you follow directions carefully. That is where the rub is; we goofed up a bit. We wondered through town for a while hewanderingkenknight@gmail.comading in the direction we thought we should go. We got some help from a local and had we properly followed his directions I think we would have found our way right to the gorge proper. We didn't quite manage that and instead found ourselves somewhere else but on a bus route that would take us where we wanted to go. We just had to catch a bus (walking the road was not an option as it was a fast road with no shoulder).

While we didn't do as well finding our way to the gorge once we got to the bottom of the gorge we found it to be a very fine place. You cross the river and then walk along a trail with some fine cliffs that clearly see rock climbing done. Then we got to the gorge and the metal grated walkways that climb through it. The water pours through the chasm to our left and the cliff walls close in and block off the sun. It is a remarkable place and would be inaccesible if not for the walkways and spiral staircase. I am sure I could have spent more time in there trying to get good pictures but you do feel a bit compelled to move on as the walkway is one-way and not that wide.

After our exploration of the gorge we walked down past the wood carver who has a wide assortment of wood scupltures and such for sale. Nothing caught my eye. The next building is a rather rustic cafe. You can get drinks and maybe some food there. I think they had chickens in back. The WC was more in the nature of a outdoor privvy than a fully plumbed bathroom. Hence, a very rustic cafe. After chatting with a couple ladies (Mother and daughter I think) who were traveling about Switzerland for fun and because the daughter is very involved, as an intern/volunteer (I think) with GIrl Guides (i.e., GIrl Scouts) we began the walk home. This is how we figured out what we did wrong and that if you are at all inclined to want a ride one way that ride should be the return as it is uphill all the way and mostly on roads. The roads aren't that busy but they do not have shoulders so when traffic does zip by you feel a bit crowded. At least the views of the farmsteads, cows, and valley below with the mountains in the distance are nice.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Adelboden, Switzerland Day Hike 3

Dad at Oescheinensee
I wish Dad and I had been able to see the Oechinensee lake from above. But we got a good view nonetheless. It was surprisingly far away from the hotel. Rather the rocky shoreline seems unusually broad.

Dad and I were feeling a bit under the weather. My problem was my usual issue with my colon. I probably could have gone but felt it wise to stay nearer civilazation (i.e., access to bathrooms). Mom decided to join the easier hike and avoid the big climb and descent that the folks doing the tougher hike would have to deal with. The weather today was a bit better than the previous days with the sun actually making appearances and the air temperature somewhat warmer than it had been.

Suspension bridge and Mom
This is a privately owned suspension bridge that leads to a cafe. The owners ask you pay 1 Swiss franc to cross. It is clearly well built but if you are uncomfortable with heights the swaying that occurs as you cross will not make you happy.
bridge 2
You can get a sense of the scale of the bridge now. A couple days later Mom would also get a photo from river level.

We all piled into the bus and our first stop was at a very long pedestrian suspension bridge that crosses a river whose name I am not sure of. The far end of the bridge takes you to a cafe which we would stop at later on in the week. This bridge is well above the river, I can easily imagine 100 feet above, and wide enough for a single person to walk across the grated deck. If you don't have a head for heights the sway of the bridge is going to bother you. I don't know why it seems worse at the ends, especially the roadside end, but it does. Still most of us crossed the bridge to see what views could be seen. The bridge is privately owned and the owners ask for a donation if you cross. I suppose we gave something.

morning break at the lodge complex at Oescheinensee
Dad and I were both a bit under the weather. My problem was, and I suppose still is, my usual one except that I was experiencing a bade flare up. Dad was just feeling a bit poorly. So while Mom would do the easier walk we elected to just go to the lake (Oechinensee). We got to have a nice bite at the hotel by the lake.

Our next stopping point was where the hike would start. We were in the town of Kandersteg (I think). People doing the tougher walk left the parking lot to climb and climb while the rest of us went to the gondola terminus to ride up to the upper terminus. The walk to Oescheinensee (Oeschinen Lake) is along a paved path that is just under a mile long and you descend about 350 feet. Dad and I walked down to the hotel, a big complex, that sits above the lake for a bite to eat. The lake is a rich green and surrounded by mountains on most sides. By us the shoreline seemed unusually wide and a bit rocky. I could easily imagine it underwater. In the distance, out of sight, we knew a nice waterfall was present. Mom would get some pictures later on. Dad and I enjoyed some strudel (the ice cream and whipped cream it came with were, I think, overkill). Mom's group came on by and left us to our own devices as they rounded the lake before ascending to a mountain cafe cum hut for their lunch. Dad and I returned to Kandersteg via the gondola and walked through the nice flowery fields to the town center to catch a bus back to Adelboden.

waterfall at Oescheinensee
You can't, well I don't think you could, see this waterfall from the hotel. Fortunately, Mom had a chance to walk near it.

Here is what Mom had to say about the hike:

Anyway, after we left the coffee place where you and your father were sitting, we moseyed around the lake (don't know its name). There were clusters of young folk some with boom boxes, although they weren't too loud, and some folks were fishing. We found a place to cross the inflow/outflow of the lake and got on the trail that climbed along a slope of the hillside surrounding the lake. There were a few narrow passages where a member of the group who didn't like heights was helped, but for the most part it was just a lovely walk. We crossed a stream that broke up a waterfall's descent into two parts and had beautiful views of the lake (greenish colors) all the time. When the hut we were aiming for came more clearly in view we crossed a bridge over some raging water and started the final ascent over a hilly, rutted path way, with wonderful yellow flowers. I don't know how might we were above the lake, but it was considerable based on the size of the people fishing below. I took a photo of that so you could see how small the people were, but I'm not even sure where the people are in the photo. The woman who operates the hut offered a wonderful soup and sausage meal for 7 francs (half what we spent the previous day). She lives there with her dog during the season (which has just begun) and her husband commutes each day. I was walking with the easier hikers, but after about a half hour the harder walkers arrived. Having sat long enough I ventured downhill to the bridge where I waited for the first contingent to depart. I joined them at a quicker pace, but I had to let them leave me at the lake (they were going to walk all the way down, but I hadn't told Geoff that I was joining them). The wait for the rest of the group was lengthy, but we continued to follow the trail that the harder walkers had taken initially, and it was near the end (gondola) that we met up with Kate (leader) and the woman (with her husband) who had been injured while taking a "rest" stop. Always watch where your head is vis-a-vis the sharp branches of a tree when you rise from a sitting position.

Oescheinensee hut
Alpine flowers above Oescheinensee.

The complete photo album which contains 45 photos chronicling the day hikes around Adelboden, Switzerland (no videos) can be found in two places. The real difference is in how they're presented. Pick as you prefer: the Flickr Album or the Google Album.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Adelboden, Switzerland Day Hike 2

Heading to the River
Today we would hike along what i believe is the Engstligen river towards Engstligenalp and a very tall, perhaps second tallest in Switzerland, waterfall. To reach this river we would cross the river tributary we walked along yesterday first.

Adelboden Day Hike 2 at EveryTrail

Both the shorter and longer hikes were to be in the same area but due to the heavy snow conditions the planned route for the longer hike could not be done. What ended up being described to us just did not really excite us so we decided to do the shorter hike (not that much shorter in truth but a lot less eelvation change). Our hike would end up around 7.5 miles long and have about 1,500 feet of ascent and 1,350 feet of descent (not quite an out-and-back).We spend the bulk of the hike walking alongside a roaring river. A small bit would lead us up to the base of the Engstligenalp waterfall which is, I think, the second tallest in Switzerland. A portion of the hike would be on roads that would get us to the river in the first place. The weather was once again overcast and cool. The hike would be about 7.5 miles long and have about 1,600 feet of ascent and 1,350 feet of descent. It was not a strict out-and-back hike as we started the return journey from the gondola terminus and walked a road until we reached the river and re-joined our original route out.

Engstligenalp waterfall
Nearing the Engstligenalp waterfall. As you can see the hiking today is on gentle paths. The worst part, if you are made nervous by exposure, is a short bit just off the road above a very steep hill the plunges down to the river.

By far the best part of the walk is the stretch along the river. It is a path with fine footing and only one part that could bother people. Just after we left the road we had to walk along the top of a steep hill for a couple of minutes. The hill is very steep and if you were to slip and fall on it you would probably not be able to stop until you hit the bottom and the river. I doubt it would be fatal but a fall would hurt. We had a person in the group who found hieghts unsettling and had some trouble with that section but with a bit of help made it across. The single biggest key feature of the hike has to be walking close to Engstligenalp waterfall.

Engstligenalp bowl
After riding the gondola to the top of the Engstligenalp and having a hearty lunch at the restaurant there we wandered about the snow-covered bowl a bit.

We took the gondola to the top of Engstligenalp where we found the bowl fairly well covered in snow. The restaurant up there is quite nice. We all had plenty of hearty food. My barley (I think) soup and sausage was just right even if a tad pricy (par for the course in Switzerland).

Ice hotel
I'm calling this an ice hotel but I rather doubt anyone sleeps in it even when it is not melting.
cows aplenty
Cows like this one are all over the place. They are to massive per se but certainly big enough. Personally I think they become much more adorable when they jingle their bells.

This is an easy walk that anyone could do and quite pleasant when along the riverside path. sure the road walk from the hotel to the river is a bit of a chore but at least the roads are not too busy.

The complete photo album which contains 45 photos chronicling the day hikes around Adelboden, Switzerland (no videos) can be found in two places. The real difference is in how they're presented. Pick as you prefer: the Flickr Album or the Google Album.