… And that’s just what they did, many kilometres of tramping up and down and round and round these mountainsides. I don’t even remember exactly how old they are, but I think the colour combination of purple and green was probably popular for Alpine hiking gear in the eighties or nineties, so they have lasted well.
I reported just over a year ago, on my last trip on the Hohen Kasten, that I thought this would be my last attempt at a hike. I’m still not much fitter than I was then, but this week, together with a couple of old friends, I took the cable car and ski lift to around 2200 m altitude and managed to walk a panoramic trail of 4 or 5 kilometres on another mountain. The views were fantastic, and it was well worth the effort.
I confess that I let them take the high road (over the peak) while I took the low road (more or less level) but when first one boot sole came loose, then the other, and finally both fell off, I have to admit to feeling relieved that I wasn’t having to scramble down a steep stony path. And I was also thankful that my boots had a layer of some kind of material between the dear departed commando sole and the cushioned insole, so that the last kilometre back to the ski-lift was not quite as painful as it could have been. I now understand what it means to be down on one’s uppers.
The heifers grazing on the high pastures always look rather surprised when humans suddenly appear, and will occasionally walk along with you which is a little unnerving: are they going to charge? Can I run away fast enough with my battered boots?
It was a giggly group of grannies who hopped off the ski-lift at the halfway point and rolled up at the mountain inn, gasping for a glass of cold refreshing cider. My unsympathetic friends found my disaster a great cause of merriment, and accused me of deliberately sabotaging my boots as an excuse to avoid having to walk. Really! And I was feeling so proud of my achievement, even if it did take me nearly 2 hours to complete a one-and-a-half-hour hike.
I disposed of my poor dilapidated boots when we finally disembarked from the cable car and returned home.
And how pleased we were later on, as we realized that we had picked the coolest day for our outing: the rest of the week was far too hot for hiking and we were lucky enough to have a swimming pool as well as the lake on the doorstep.
I’m quite happy to admire the mountains as a backdrop nowadays, without feeling the need to conquer them.