OK, enough already, time to post something and stop meandering around in small sleepy circles.
What has been up? Non-sleep, until this weekend. I was just sort of waking up and not able to get back to sleep at, say 2:30 am. NOT WELCOME. Then this weekend the local hiking group? We went hiking, indeed we went up a mountain!
It was a great weekend. We started it off with a Via Ferrada, I'd never heard of this before, but it is kind of like rock climbing, but for people who have NO IDEA. There is a cable bolted to the face virtually all the way along, with a ring about every 2 meters, more if it is quite horizontal. In addition, in any place where the climbing is more technical and requires more skill and/or climbing shoes rather than hiking boots, there are rebar loops bolted into the wall. A bit odd, but kinda cool too.
Climbing purists out there are simply DYING at the thought of it, but you know what? It was fun. All you need is a harness and a double tether, it is super safe and you don't have to use the metal any more than necessary. That said, many of the people in the group used very little contact with the rock and mostly worked their way along holding onto the wire.....I tried not to, though with my super-slippery hiking boots on, there were moments where the bolts for the wire were necessary, as were the metal supports. If you zoom into the photo below you can JUST see the metal wires.
Then a drive to the next spot, a cultural moment visiting an ancient church, then on to the cars' final destination, a quick lunch, and a hike to the refugi where we were spending the night. That was only 4.7 km, with a mere 470 m or climbing, but done at elevation, we started at 1850 and ended at 2,300 meters (about 7,000 ft). As this girl has hung at sea level for months and done almost no exercise for AGES....this was a nice little jaunt. Pretty too.
Good dinner, good crowd, I almost went for a swim in an alpine lake....I wandered off, stripped down, and waded in. You know when water is so cold it hurts? Well, it hurt. That's cool though, normally, you get used to that (ie. numb) and then it's OK. Not this time. It kept hurting. I got out, cause sometimes when you do that, you get used to the idea and when you get in again, it doesn't hurt. Hmmmm, not so much. Still hurt. And I was by myself, in a spot specially selected for privacy as I didn't have a suit. This little guy was OK though:
Decided a swim in those conditions fell under the unnecessarily stupid category and waded in and splashed water all over myself to sort of rinse off and to sorta-kinda swim/get wet.
Following day, the big climb. I have to admit, I didn't find the mountain attractive. Menacing would probably be a better word. All rock and verticality.
Nevertheless, we went on. We started with a group of 15, 7 or whom didn't want to do the peak and started off along the loop we had to do...then we were 8. We went up and up and up, we were climbing stuff that required your hands to get up, which was OK, a little more exposed than I was completely happy with, but good.
We got to the crest, and the other two women with us decided to hang out in the sun and out of the wind, and then we were 6, who clambered up to the peak. I will admit that this was a little more exposed and risky than I was totally happy with, entirely do-able, but an error would have lead to pain. Back down to the saddle where we'd left our knapsacks, and three turned back for the refugi and the shorter walk down at this point, and we were 5. Walking FAST! Eventually we met up with the other 7 and ambled on through the rest of the walk...there were some very tough little kids in that group. Most impressive! Highest point, 8,930 ft or 2,721 m.
Running from bottom left to middle right is the ridge we went along, though we actually walked through the grassy stuff below it on a path. Looks more vertical than it was. This is the view from the peak, and the two women are waiting most of the way back. This is the view from the peak. You see what I mean about it's kind of crunchy demeanor?
This is the view from where the two women sat with the peak in the background:
The ridge on the left is the crest we walked along, we are at the saddle where we left the knapsacks at this point. The actual peak is around behind the corner of the point at the front.
As we walked on around - for a total of about 15K - we say more alpine lakes
And we saw horses at the end!
Then the long drive home, after a chat with some Dutch military reservists who were out hiking and a quick drink and a sandwich.
Slept very well both nights, I have to say.