Bergun. Swiss Alps. Two days, two hikes.
Day One: Walked to the chairlift – five minutes from town towards Albula Pass. Rode chairlift – 18 minutes. It does a run on the hour in summer for as long as there are customers. Headed right. Hiked over the back and around. This is an easy and pleasant hike taking about two hours. It meanders through pasture and back along a road to the bottom of the chairlift.
If you time it right, you can take the chairlift back up for a scenic evening drink at the restaurant before chairlifting back down.
Or start earlier in the day and keep cycling through.
All very nice.
Day Two. Thought we’d tackle something harder. Something longer. Something higher. Same chairlift. Off to the left, up the road. The BB saw this
and, bless his simple urban heart, thought it was a restaurant. Maybe it’s spending my formative years on a farm, but those half doors, the water trough, the dirt yard and outdoor dunny just say ‘barn’ not ‘restaurant’ to me.
Onward. Bergun was a distant memory (and tiny toy town on the valley floor).
The heavens beckoned.
There were little victories along the way.
But, like cooking for a family, it takes a lot of getting there, the summit is brief…
…then it’s more work in another direction.
On we went, curving back to the chairlift.
On and on. Scenic vistas.
On and on. Mud.
On and on. Past others who’d given in to the desire to opt out and see what eventuated.
On and on. Past the time when we thought we’d be happy to finish. (You know the feeling when the fun has almost dribbled out.) On and … Oh no! The last chairlift is in ten minutes!
Righto. Two of us would run. It was downhill anyway. I arrived with a minute or two to spare. What had happened to my fellow runner? I kept checking the road. No sign of her.
I girded myself to speak German, to heroically keep the chairlift functioning until the rest of my party appeared. Of course the operator would understand me – a little gesticulation along with a few mispronounced words can go a long way in a place where German is the second, third or fourth language.
The chairlift whirred into being. None of my party in sight. The other people boarded.
I cleared my throat, wiped my lips, breathed, did some quick enunciation exercises, sang a scale, checked my teeth for stray food, breathed, rehearsed my known German words (did they need to know how many brothers I have, that I like cats and can count to one hundred?) … and saw my beloved party hobbling into sight. My fellow runner was smudged with blood. She had taken a fall and I had run unknowingly on, leaving her to the mercies of the Swiss wilderness.
Six and a half hours. That’s fine when you know it in advance but we had been expecting about four. Still, now you know and can set forth, fully armed and well-timed.