I was pretty soon feeling lost.
then after a couple of hours it cleared and I saw the little house I had meant to go to the day before. Had to laugh. Because I had seen and photographed it several times the day before without even twigging that it was here I was heading. The only human habitation for miles around. How did I manage to miss the connection.
I LOVE BUMPING MY HEAD INTO THE WORLD! It’s the only way to remember how foolish I am.
So I got over to the little house, by now pretty wet and was able to sit on an old arm chair someone had kindly placed in the porch. Ate breakfast with Lukas’s mosquito hat on.
Here is the pipe which I followed up the hillside, and I climbed up and found myself balancing along the top of a concrete plank. At the top of the pipe I lost the path again. Steep is the watchword of this trip and blessed is the moment I found the path again and laugh is the result of walking happily back down it the wrong way. So I had now a path, one of the most treasured inventions of the human race for me except of course it was probably sheep or dinosaurs who invented it before us.
Then I lost it again and after hours struggling on into the mist I came to a protruding rock above a drop.
Too lazy to go up, down was an expanse of steep snow. I got a great idea. Swing the sack around the rock and then balance round after it. So I swung the sack, wet and heavy over the rock. The other side was sloping and I realized that the sack was sliding inexorably down. A moment later I understood that I was sliding too. There seemed one thing to do, go with the flow and let myself fall. Luckily there was a ledge before the snow started or it would have been much worse. However I didn’t seem hurt so I took a picture of the spot hoping it would make me more careful. I do love life and dearly wish to keep alive too but still I’m careless.
OK, The next obstacle was large areas of snow. I seemed to have found some kind of path but you couldn’t see it under the snow and as it was steep and i was getting tired each step I placed tentatively after the last. After quite some time I looked up and to my astonishment saw two young guys tramping fast and solidly beside me. French Swiss, this explained their nonchalant walking style, but they seemed shocked to see me too. Asked me where I was going and when I told them they said – “why?” yes I got their point and wondered really the same thing. what on earth was I doing out here?
But it was reassuring to meet some of my own species on this wild day and to walk in their footsteps. They were going a different way, we walked through a small river and then they went west and once again the path evaporated. By now I was trying to be very careful to keep tabs on it, scurrying back and forth but to no avail. Gone.
. To my left was this large ice lake.
This was when I started using the compass in earnest. I just decided to walk north. Took me down a valley with snow, I could hear water below and as my oldest daughter nearly disappeared through snow into a river at the age of 4 I realised it would be good to avoid that. At some point around then I had the feeling that I wanted to stop playing this game now. But this was not a game.
I didn’t feel like crying but I could feel that wanting to cry might be an option somewhere down my throat.
The valley of snow stopped being flat and did a sudden dive, you could tell that in a few weeks this would be a waterfall and below a deeeep drop. There was a mountain on either side and trying not to provoke a avalanche I climbed up the one and sat down for a long map read. Below, far down below I could now see the countryside stretching out. I could not for the life of me make out what connection the large expanses of water had to do with the lakes I was looking for. So the answer was just to keep going north and hope for the best. I remembered that this day was my brothers birthday and all the family was assembled at home probably having hot tea and cake.
Here I really should have taken a picture as the panorama was incredible but i was very wet and getting out alive seemed more important.
What was that down there in the distance, was it a house? All of a sudden it fell into place. now I finally got a glimpse of how maps are so fundamentally different to the real world. The lakes I was trying to find were high up, hidden behind a mountain and down there that little house was my goal.
How beautiful it all seemed then. As I squelched in my boots down to some lambs grazing beside an icy lake.
At last after 10 hours I got to Laukvik and called my hosts. The village was dear, with a pub, shop and curiously friendly seeming. I stood in the rain and read the names of the fishermen they lost the last 100 years. The first 3 names all brothers, age 19, 20, 21. Gert-Jan turned up in an old green Volvo with a large plastic sheet on the seat and a towel to drive me the 5mins to their house. I got a hot shower, Ellen took all my stuff, and I mean pretty much all my stuff was sodden, she took it all down to dry In the cellar and lent me pink dry clothes. Then three young guys turned up and made us a great dinner. After two days of music making, philosophizing and eating here we all are beside the massive wind violin which Gert-Jan has made of a mighty steel girder.