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August 2005 Archives

August 3, 2005

Update: Our 100 mile walk in the Swiss Alps

It is Wednesday afternoon and I'm in an internet cafe in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, in a beautiful valley surrounded by tall rocky mountains on all sides. There are over 70 waterfalls in this valley. A funicular runs up the mountainside just outside the window of our room, and from our balcony we can see the little mountain train heading to Wengen.

We have now walked for six days in a row and have ended up walking on two of our rest days. Our walk began in Engleberg (about an hour from Lucerne) last Friday. We have hiked over 75 kilometers (about 46 miles), much of it going UP the mountains... much harder than going down! The highest point of our walk so far has been the Jochpass on our first day (2206 meters or around 7200 feet). The scenery is absolutely incredible... mountains like you would not believe, beautiful streams and waterfalls, meadows of wildflowers, and pretty alpine chalets with windowboxes overflowing with colorful flowers. We've walked through many fields of cows-- friendly ones, fortunately. Most of the cows wear big cow bells, so you always know when they are nearby.

The weather has been mixed. We've hiked three days in rain and three days in sunshine. We've worn shorts some days and fleece jackets and full rain gear on other days. Tomorrow will be a very tough day, so we are hoping for good weather. There is still snow on the high mountains, but not anywhere we've hiked... yet, anyway!

Our accommodations have been wonderful and we really like the Swiss food. We've also met a few people who are traveling a similar route on a similar schedule, and that helps make the walk even more fun for us. Two nights ago our hotel in Grindelwald had a barbeque celebrating the Swiss National Day.

Kelly is doing just great. We have let her be in charge of the maps, so she is studying the route each day and guiding us in the directions. She is learning a lot about the walk that way and taking a more active leadership role.

If you want to read more about our walk, a good description is provided at this website.

We have six more days on our walk, including one rest day. Then we will travel to Geneva by train and leave for home next Thursday morning... August 11th. Our long adventure is really coming to an end with our Swiss Walk the grand finale.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers over the next few days as we finish our walk and make the flight across the ocean.

August 10, 2005

Update: Swiss Walk Complete and Headed Home!

We wanted to let everyone know that we finished our 100 mile walk in the Swiss Alps yesterday near Gstaad. We took a scenic train to Geneva at noon and have had several hours to visit this beautiful city. We fly out of Geneva tomorrow.

The walk was a real challenge, mainly because of the high mountains but also due to weather. Kelly and I had one abbreviated day because I fell on a wet road and bruised my knee, but Charley hiked this whole segment which was the highest and most difficult day of the walk. The next day we all ended up with a short day because it was snowing on top of the mountain. We walked several hours in the rain to another town and then took a bus the rest of the way instead of trying to cross the mountain in the snow. Fortunately the last two days were perfect and we were even able to hike in shorts. We really enjoyed our time in Switzerland and it was a great way to end our trip. We especially enjoyed our new friendships with three British hikers who were on our same schedule and in our same hotels.

We will post a more detailed blog on our Swiss walk when we are back home. We have a lot to do over the next two weeks to get settled back in our house. Kelly is looking forward to seeing her dog Milly and starting school next Wednesday. And so onward to new adventures now this one is almost over!

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