I again chose to walk up and take the gondola down, thus nursing shin splints, joints and knees of both 'man' and beast.
Today was another glorious day with almost clear blue skies and sunshine. The aim was to reach two alpine lakes and then decide whether to take a route in front of a mountain ridge to the Hoernli or to go behind the mountain and on to the Hoernli that way.
As we were almost opposite to the walk we had taken yesterday, I had a very good view of that area and where there had been snow before, today it had all melted. As you can see, way up the top there just under the clouds - no snow.
It was a slow, steady walk to start with, passing the usual alpine fields, sheep, streams and reaching the first of the two lakes in this area. As we walked the mountains loomed larger and larger and became ever more imposing.
We crossed a few very rocky mountain streams with Jochen splashing about in the water.
The path narrowed and became steeper and steeper, winding its way up and around what turned out to be no more than an outcrop. Along one section there were even some railings. We passed an elderly couple struggling each step and it looked as if the woman had some sort of handicap. I was not sure whether to be impressed that she was attempting this walk or whether she was just being foolhardy. On the other hand, they were in such beautiful country and no doubt had as much enjoyment as I did, and why shouldn't they?
We rounded the final bend, the path levelled out and we had this beautiful view. This was going to be our lunch spot - at the far end as there were already quite a few people with the same idea.
Given that it was already early afternoon and some clouds were starting to form, I had to decide whether to take the walk on the left hand side of the ridge on the right, the longer walk around and behind a mountain, or to cut across in front of it to the Hoernli, somewhat shorter. I have a very healthy respect for the alpine country and know that by a certain of the day one should be heading back rather than on. Alpine weather can be very treacherous and unpredictable. I so wanted to go around and behind the mountain but common sense prevailed.
I looked down and saw a VERY steep, very narrow track that was hardly a track, leading halfway down the mountain. In the distance I could see how the track led on to the Hoernli way in the distance.
The added difficulty was that on the downward side the sun created shadows and that meant that the snow on the path was becoming icy and very slippery. Now was the time to apply obedience big-time. There were signs everywhere that sheep were grazing and would dogs please be kept on lead. I was not in Switzerland to break any rules. So Jochen stayed on the show lead. He just HAD to stay behind me as the slightest mistake and we could have been in very serious trouble.
I very carefully and gingerly took one step at a time, sometimes almost sitting down, testing each footstep before putting any weight down. Jochen must have wondered what on earth I was doing but really, if I had let him off lead and he had picked up any speed, even he would have been in trouble.
I had one of those moments that happen from time to time - 'why on earth was I doing this?' But let's be honest, it is exciting and fun!
Needless to say we survived and felt really good. After all, fitness is the name of the game and that also means fitness of mind, psyche and determination. What super training at all levels for the big test.
Talking of the children, I have been surprised how many children do these walks at a very early age. They all have these wonderful hiking boots, carry little day packs and trek with their parents in the Alps. Also surprising is how many older, and I mean, 'older' people also do these treks. It is great to see.
We took the gondola down, waited for the bus, eventually got back to the hotel and I had another long, hot bath. The shin splint is almost gone. What a day.