Switzerland 2021

Sunday August 22, 2021

Monday August 23, 2021

Tuesday August 24, 2021

Monday morning I stood in line at the Martigny train station to ask a ticket agent how to deal with my bike on the trains.
Turns out a bike is always half fare, it doesn't need my half fare card.
(I think dogs, kids, and seniors are half fare as well... anyway...)
She also told me you can buy two tickets for the same train or bus on their app, one for you and one for the bike.
Navigational challenges solved!
I rode the train to Sion and started riding up Col du Sanetsch


08:39 Switzerland time 00:39 California time

09:02 Switzerland time 01:02 California time

Dent Blanche (the main peak in the middle) and the Matterhorn (tip is barely visible to the right of Dent Blanche)
Both peaks disappeared in the clouds a few minutes after I took this picture, I didn't see them again.

09:03 Switzerland time 01:03 California time

09:15 Switzerland time 01:15 California time
If you look closely you can see Bisse du Torrent Nuef, a bisse and trail hundreds of feet up the cliff..
In the morning shade I couldn't see anyone on the trail, but later in the afternoon sunlight I could see plenty of people.

The first hour was in the shade of this mountain and the cloud that later formed over it

09:21 Switzerland time 01:21 California time

10:24 Switzerland time 02:24 California time

No sun = cold

As I was taking a break, I noticed some cows wandering down the road and a few guys chasing them.
I got off to the side of the road and started taking video...

Turned out the cows were out of control, and I just happened to be standing in the first spot the cowhands could use to stop the herd, turn them around, and get them headed back uphill.

That was exciting!

Now I had a couple of minor new problems.
1. Some plant I just stood in made my legs itch like crazy almost immediately.
2. I was now stuck biking at a very slow pace behind the cows as they walked uphill.

(text discussion of this event from later that evening)

16:59 Europe time 07:59 California time
Kent: Magic stampede!  Lucky those weren't the fighting variety

17:05 Europe time 08:05 California time
Paul: Cool
Paul: Dusty are you staying in the same place for another few days?

Dusty: The 2 black cows were Herens and they were leading the way!!! 
Dusty: I knew they were Herens when they were in my face, but I didn't realize they were leading the stampede until I watched the video a times..
Dusty: I also didn't realize this was a stampede until the danger was mostly over...[ok, it probably wasn't a stampede, but what was it? :) ]
Dusty: "You had ONE job - get the cows UP the alp!" :)

Dusty: I leave Thursday for Murren
Dusty: Weather tomorrow and wed - rainy..
Dusty: Alpe Galm out of Leuk is next (and last) on the list for the lower Rhone
Dusty: There are plenty of other climbs in the Rhone but I've already backpacked the best of the rest

17:31 Europe time 08:31 California time
Ray: "the danger" lol

17:32 Europe time 08:32 California time
Ray: This is like "we got cattle" 2.0

17:33 Europe time 08:33 California time
Ray: Photo/video of stampede, please

17:36 Europe time 08:36 California time
Kent: A stampede of bunny rabbits!  :)

17:48 Europe time 08:48 California time
Dusty: 1 ton bunny rabbits?  You face off a pair of Herens cows in flight, then we can talk :)

17:50 Europe time 08:50 California time
Dusty: I almost named the video "we got cattle 2.0" or something similar

17:51 Europe time 08:51 California time
Kent: Nice face off! Exciting for sure

17:51 Europe time 08:51 California time
Ray: that's perfect

17:52 Europe time 08:52 California time
Dusty: There are rare cow caused deaths of hikers up in these alps..
Dusty: lawsuits in Austria, the farmer complained "if we didn't have the cows up here there wouldn't be any alps for the hikers, only trees!"

17:54 Europe time 08:54 California time
Kent: I've been attacked by a wild animal
Kent:  So, I'm an authority
Kent:  :)

17:54 Europe time 08:54 California time
Ray: which girlfriend was that

17:55 Europe time 08:55 California time
Dusty: Owl

10:58 Switzerland time 02:58 California time

After maybe 10-15 minutes the cowboys wrangled the cows off to the side of the road on the first available wide section.
A couple of cars were now also stuck in the backup, so I let the cars pass the cows to clear the way, then I tailed the cars past the cows.

11:04 Switzerland time 03:04 California time

11:13 Switzerland time 03:13 California time

PANO - scroll right

11:14 Switzerland time 03:14 California time

11:25 Switzerland time 03:25 California time

I got to the very long tunnel.
While the cows kept coming uphill slowly behind me, for some reason I assumed the cows couldn't or wouldn't walk through the tunnel.
This turned out to be wrong, cows can walk through tunnels just fine, and they kept coming uphill.

11:34 Switzerland time 03:34 California time

Hotel du Sanetsch

11:54 Switzerland time 03:54 California time

Lac de Sénin

I made it to the top and went over to the other side to take pictures.
I finally figured out why I'd been so cold coming up this ride - Glacier de Zanfleuron is a few km west
I'd been somewhat disappointed with the shady scenary until I got nice sunlight and a glacier near the Col
It was pretty magic up top...

The end of the pavement is another 5km and 200m vertical down at that lake, I had planned to ride down there...
Clouds formed and moved quickly, the lake disappeared in minutes, and with its disappearrance any pretense of me needing to ride down there disappeared as well.

12:07 Switzerland time 04:07 California time

PANO - scroll right

Glacier de Zanfleuron and Lac de Sénin / Sanetschsee

12:13 Switzerland time 04:13 California time

12:14 Switzerland time 04:14 California time

Glacier de Zanfleuron

12:19 Switzerland time 04:19 California time

12:21 Switzerland time 04:21 California time

The cows arrived on top about 30 minutes after I did

12:31 Switzerland time 04:31 California time

After about 40 minutes on top I headed back down.
I thought about eating at the Hotel, but it was too cold up here...

I took alot more pictures on the way down since it was now sunnier than in the morning, and I didn't have cows chasing me up the hill

12:40 Switzerland time 04:40 California time

12:46 Switzerland time 04:46 California time

12:47 Switzerland time 04:47 California time

12:52 Switzerland time 04:52 California time

13:00 Switzerland time 05:00 California time

13:01 Switzerland time 05:01 California time

13:07 Switzerland time 05:07 California time

13:09 Switzerland time 05:09 California time

13:13 Switzerland time 05:13 California time

13:28 Switzerland time 05:28 California time

Bisse du Torrent Nuef again
Now I could see lots of people on the trail

14:02 Switzerland time 06:02 California time


17:30 Switzerland time 09:30 California time

Dusty: Salmon tartar..
Dusty: most places are closed Monday....


Later that night, Kent texted a link that the climber and author David Roberts had died on Friday August 20.
I discovered Roberts when I stumbled onto The Life and Adventures of Bradford Washburn, America's Boldest Mountaineer in a gift shop outside Denali during our 2018 Alaska trip.
Robert's passions of climbing, southwest history, and exploration mirror some of my own.
Since then I've bought and read nearly all of Roberts 32 books, a I've read a few of them more than once...
Feeling a little lost and sad, I watched David Roberts interview of Jimmy Chin on youtube, which took place shortly before Meru was released and Jimmy hit the big big time...
I don't think I'd ever heard Robert's spoken voice before, but it was certainly the voice of the writer I've gotten to know pretty well in three short years.

When I later prepared my trip report, I read the last post on David's social media pages, written by his wife Sharon:

What he wrote did not sound like David, the writer--the David whose genius for the written word was always precise and in his own voice.  He was so drugged, yet somehow clear. I thought a lot about not including it here, because it is not David’s usual voice, and it seemed to speak so privately. I thought it might be the drugs talking. But these were almost his last communicable words, and the simplicity of what he said seemed to be inviolate.  He called it his “LAST ENTRY,” so I feel compelled to leave you with it, exactly as he wanted it.

Dear Sharon,
You are the best person I ever knew
Love never ends.

So, I leave you with those last words because they are for you too, and I thank you deep from within my being for what you’ve given to David and to me.

Sunday August 22, 2021

Monday August 23, 2021

Tuesday August 24, 2021