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Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 8 - Video

Day 8 - A Long Walk to Home (Part 2)

The rest stop, Gletscherstube is a small mountain hut near the Aletsch Glacier. Nothing fancy, yet it had provided a warm and dry shelter for the hikers who are in need, especially when the weather turns bad. 

As planned, we wanted to refuel ourselves by taking lunch at here. So, we ordered a dish of rosti, a sandwich & 2 pumpkin-apricot desserts. To my surprise, the quality of the foods are very good. That made us gobbled all of the foods very fast, and paid the bill happily too. 

Located at 2363 m in the middle of the Unesco World Heritage Site, Gletscherstube is an ideal resting place during a walk through the Aletsch region. Open from July to October, overnight accommodation in dormitories is also available at the upper floor. 

About 1 hour later, the rain had gradually stopped. It's time to move on....

The temperature dropped after the rain, so William put on extra shirt on himself  voluntary, without me nagging him. Good.

Vincent is a co-operative walker for most of the time, and it's good to see him getting very fit as time pass. 

I was still a bit worried about his knees, though he said he was feeling ok that day. Well, he can be very tough, unlike me, who can't stand any pain.

Husband said we were going to take a short cut to go to the other side of the mountain...

In the mountain range, the short cut usually refers to a tunnel. This tunnel is for pedestrian only, truly genius.

The tunnel looks dark inside there, made me feel a bit nervous. 

Since the tunnel can save the hikers many hours in walking back to their destination, naturally it becomes the no.1 choice for their way of return.

Once my eyes had adapted to the lighting inside, it's not as dark as I thought it is. But it's freezing cold inside. I guess the temperature is only 0C. Husband who didn't bring enough clothes had to walk faster to get through the tunnel, while the boys and I followed him far behind.

15 minutes later, we came out from the dark-cold tunnel. Glad to see the sun again. 

Leaving the tunnel behind us.....

The scene at this side is very different from Aletsch Glacier. I felt like we have been to 2 totally different world in a day.

Ok, we were on the way back to our "home" in Fiescheralp. Estimated walking time is around 1 hour.

Saw a giant waterfall over the distance mountain there...

Vincent was stopping for his business.

From this angle, we can get a glimpse of  Altesch Glacier. 

Compared to Aletsch's side, this side is less surreal. 

There are still many turns ahead, luckily the sky seemed clear by then. So, we walked in relaxed manner again. 

Some where along the path, there is this big house for cows.

The residents of the big house.

This cow looks pretty old to me, too bad he couldn't tell me his story. 

The cows mowed to say hello, so they mowed too.

We bid farewell to them, and continued our journey.

Saw those beautiful flowers again.

How romantic....

Purple has always been my favorite color all these years, for no specific reasons.

Judging from his gesture, I guess he started to feel tired lo...actually, me too.

We have passed through many turns which looks like this...

Finally, our finishing point was there to be seen, the end was near now.

just another 500 m away.....

William's way of expressing his total tiredness.

Yes, me too. Dead tired now....

Ok, we have made it back to Fiescheralp. 

Let me count, we have walked for nearly 5 hours to home. 

Home sweet home. 

Great exhaustion followed by great relaxation, there is nothing can beat it. So, I really think we shouldn't avoid hardship, for without hardship, we will get so immune to the coziness in life.

The rainbow had marked a beautiful full-stop to this year's summer vacation. 

Day 8 - Aletsch Glacier (Part 1)

When the automatic door opened, we step out of the cable car station and enter the world of glacier...

The first thing that appeared to our eyes is this rock mountain. When William saw this, he had some dilemma cause he thought we were going to climb this. Haha...

The view up here is awesome enough. But as usual, we won't be content with just taking a few photos and leave. We want to explore more, feel more and see more about this place. 

We didn't get to see many tourists up here that day. So, both of the nature and we could enjoy each other's company in a relax mode.

By then, I had completely lost count of the date, I didn't even know what day was it? The boys have no idea about it too. 

All I remember is we were going to leave Switzerland and return to HK on the next day. So, I must enjoy this trip to its fullest.

Ok, that's the start of the last journey....

Our last journey would make a circuit of the Fierschalp, traversing along the slope above the immense glacier,  then looping back to Fierschalp. 

Looking backward to the cable car station.

The beginning part was developed very well, with wooded path.

We walked a bit further, and saw Aletsch Glacier was greeting us up front....

From here, we would walk back to Fiescheralp, where our hotel is situated. The estimated walking time is around 3 hour 10 min, but we think we would need to take more than 4 hours for that.

I blew a whistle when I met Aletsch Glacier in person....

The Aletsch Glacier (Aletschgletscher) or Great Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Alps. In fact, it's also the largest in Europe. 

It has a length of about 23 km and covers more than 120 square kilometres in the eastern Bernese Alps in the Swiss canton of Valais. The Aletsch Glacier is composed of 3 smaller glaciers, where its thickness is estimated to be near 1 km. 

The whole area, including other glaciers is part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. 

Basically, that's the path we would walk on....

How tiny we are in the tumble of rocks.

It's great that there weren't many walkers on the path, so we didn't need to watch out and give way to other people very often.

It's such a pleasant to walk by Aletsch Glacier. 

I've set my camera on one of the rock's surface, but couldn't capture the whole picture of Aletsch Glacier. 

Without a tripod, I better remain the camera man for this trip. 

Incredibly immense, incredibly beautiful, Aletsch Glacier is the Alps' mightiest ice flow. 

This glacier is easily accessible and is ideally situated for extensive hikers, winter sports and special nature excursions. 

Fluffy flowers on the sky....

The time was 11.35 am, after 30 minutes walking (Gosh, now I saw how dry my skin was). 

From time to time, I would called a stop to take photos with their face facing me than always their butts.

All glaciers are subject to melting and freezing. They are formed when more snow falls than can thaw in summer. The snow is gradually compacted and eventually forms glacial ice.

As the snow and ice thicken, it reaches a point where it begins to move due to combination of gravity and pressure of the overlying snow and ice.  

While new ice is constantly being added at the top, at the bottom it wears away, in a process known as ablation. It is when the rate of ablation exceeds that of accumulation that a glacier starts to shrink. 

Aletsch Glacier is not only an impressive landmarks, but also a useful indicator of the climate change. Every year the Swiss glacier monitoring network reports on how far specific glaciers have retreated or advanced. On such a huge glacier as the Aletsch, the tongue reacts very slowly. 

The sight of this awesome glacier is something we couldn't perceive and feel in the geography lessons, because of its enormous, ancient and on the move.

The path heading towards the Fiescheralp, our end point.

It's not only the length of the glacier, but its thickness is equally impressive. Measurements carried out by the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) had shown that at its source at the Konkordiaplatz, it's about 900 m thick. But as it descends it get gradually thinner, and by the end its depth is only about 150 m.

The total weight of the glacier has been calculated to be 27 billion tonnes. The water contained in it would be enough to give every person on the earth 1 liter / day for 6 years.

The entire region is also a habitat for many rare animal and plant species. 

We didn't see any rare animal though, but this was the 1st time I get to see this plant. 

Its flower looks weird to me, like "alien". 

Well, who know? Maybe those flowers were came from outer space?

There are several vantage points offer a good view of Aletsch Glacier, such as the Bettmerhorn above Bettmeralp and Eggishorn. Also, along this hiking trail. 

I think we have walked nearly 2 hours by then.

Everywhere along this glacier will become a beautiful backdrop to the photo. 

Getting closer to the glacier's origin.

A time for a brief lecture about the glacier...

I hope they will save all this in their brain for a long time.

The tongue of Aletsch Glacier descends towards the Rhone Valley, before giving birth to the Massa River.

Thanks to the trip manager who brought us here.

Well, just want to make sure each one of us will have our solo picture with the glacier.

When I remember this, I would ask husband to take a picture for myself too.

We have repeatedly told them not to throw stones, but they would forget about it some times. Sigh, just got to remind them again their act may endanger the other hiker's life who took the lower trail downs there.

In the presence of Aletsch Glacier, its small neighbour glacier will be neglected, inevitably. 

But they have their charm too....

Yes, this time I've got a better family picture with Aletsch Glacier as backdrop.

The weather was so far so good....yet husband pushed us to walk faster, cause he think the rain would pour on us at any time. 

Luckily, it's a relatively flat walk for most of the time, with not much climbing required at all. 

Should we walked the other way round, we would have walked ascending for most of the time instead. That's why it's important to study the trail before departure. For this, our trip manager had done a good job. 

At this part, the alien flowers looks especially beautiful.

Some of them have not completely dried up yet. They look beautiful and lively in purple. 

The path behind us....

Surprising, we didn't get to see this 'stone tower' every where but here...

Told the boys we have no time for them to do this....

I didn't know how long we have to walk some more, before reaching the turn that husband had told me....

But the weather was just nice, not hot nor cold, that I don't mind to walk by it for another 1-2 hours.

The boys have no complaint thus far too...

After 3 hours or so, we took a short break to enjoy our small snacks. 

This roasted bread we took from the hotel was good. We all love it. 

Not long later, we saw the rain clouds were forming in the sky. The white glacier surface was no longer reflecting the sun light anymore.

We had to end our break abruptly and move on quickly. 

We were supposed to walk straight, to the left. But somehow, we were not sure if we should go that way because of that sign board which we were not sure what's its meaning. 

Knowing the rain would come anytime, we didn't have much time for risk. So, I took a photo of this sign board, then ran backward to catch up the group of hikers whom we had bumped into just now. I show the sign board to them, and they told me this is a warning sign, that we shouldn't go to that direction because the path ahead had become dangerous somehow. 

I sighed in relieved. Luckily we took some time to check it out than ignoring it. 

I ran back to husband and the boys who were waiting for me at the same spot....told them we should take the right path instead. 

This looks like a new, or temporary pass way out of no choice....

In fact, I wouldn't called it a path, cause we were basically walking on the tumble of rocks.

We just followed the red line painted on the rocks, guess those are the signs of safety. 

Fearing the stones might not grounded firmly, we have to walk slowly.

I felt a bit stress at this part, cause the 'path' is not good to walk on, and also, to race with time before rain pouring down on us.

We tried to walk as soon as we could...

When I looked back, I was pretty shocked : Where was the 'path' that we have walked through just now?

Well, no time to think too much. We got to move as fast as we could.

We haven't been seeing anyone for quite some time, finally we get to see some one coming towards our direction.

Like said : 有缘千里能相会  So we should greet each other warmly and nicely.

William said the green patches on the rock surface look like a map to him. 

Yeah, some maps were painted with unknown flag on it too.

About 20 minutes later, we passed through those tumble of rocks and back to the decent path.

Despite of rain was coming, those sheep enjoying their foods along the mighty Aletsch Glacier like nobody's business.  

I think we have walked for 10 km by then, yet the origin still looks so far away.

The surface of the glacier at this part is not smooth though, like a wavy sea. 

As indicated by the sign board, we need to walk a bit further to the L-turn we were heading for.

Knowing the turn wasn't too far away, we felt relaxed a bit....

This place is so beautiful, that had motivated me to take some solo pictures of myself.

I felt a sense of total satisfaction to be so close to a mighty glacier...

Also, I felt that I'm one of the luckiest women in this world.

Jungfrau is somewhere upfront.

Then, we continued to walk a bit further....

Son, one day you will cherish all those beautiful pictures which mommy had taken for you.

As we walked further, we get to see the origin of the glacier in face-to-face mode. Awesome !!

In fact, we were still far away from the origin.

The surface at this part is not so wavy anymore, but rather cracked up.

Finally, husband said we would make a turn from here. Before saying good bye to Aletsch Glacier, we stopped here for a while to admire her beauty for the last time.

Husband took out his iPhone to record down the place...

Farewell, Aletsch....

I wish you a prosperity and long life.

We walked away from the glacier and headed back to Fiesceralp then.... 

Before we continued the part-2 hike, we planned to take lunch in the small restaurant some 500 m away from the glacier. But before we reached there, the rain couldn't hold on anymore, and it fall heavily on us. 

We dug out our disposable rain coat and umbrella and put it on quickly, yet our shoes were all wet by the time we dashed into the restaurant.

Naturally, the small restaurant was all packed with the hikers like us, who looked for shelter from rain. We have to squeeze with one another in the limited space when eating. But that's ok, fate had brought us here together, so we should be friendly to one another too.