Saturday, 24 August 2013
Switzerland - Day 4
On the way back to the campsite yesterday we checked the weather forecast at the tourist information centre in Kandersteg as the weather appeared to be changing with a bank of cloud building in the West. Sure enough the forecast is for bad weather on the way certainly on Sunday with the possibility that the bad weather could arrive on Saturday afternoon, today.
With the weather forecast in mind we decided to plan just a short walk this morning as yesterday's sunshine had well and truly gone and the temperature had fallen noticeably. Higher up the valley through Kandersteg is a very beautiful hidden valley called the Gasteretal which makes a very pleasant walk. There is a small village called Selden in the Gasteretal which makes a nice destination for a walk as there is a small mountain bus service which can be used for the return journey if required. Based on the weather forecast however it seemed unlikely that we would get that far up the valley so we decided to simply walk until the weather looked as if it was deteriorating and then turn back.
We took the vehicle up to the cable car station at the head of the valley, unpacked the walking gear etc. and set off. Recently when making video recordings I have made extensive use of a monopod which makes a huge difference to the quality of the material recorded. On this trip I decided if at all possible to force myself to use a tripod which though pretty inconvenient does produce far better results in terms of stability. I have to admit that even at this stage of the trip carrying a camcorder mounted to a tripod when out walking is something of a chore but I'm hoping that the end result will prove to be worth it. I'm just taking this a day at a time but I'm hoping that I will be able to stick with this technique and I'm telling myself that this isn't something I'll be repeating in a hurry. Suffice to say that I haven't seen anybody else so far carting a video camera, with an external microphone mounted, all stuck on top of a tripod.
There is quite a sharp climb from the cable car station up into the Gasteretal and from the look of things there has been some seriously bad weather in the not too distant past. There were several sections where the previous path has been completely washed away and at least one of the previous footbridges has also been washed away but has been expertly replaced with typical Swiss efficiency.
Lovely scenery climbing up into the valley and then a very pleasant walk along the valley floor just enjoying the outstanding scenery. Great shame about the weather as by now it had completely clouded over. As we were walking along we passed a couple of elderly people who were clearly locals, neither of us spoke each other's language but the message that they got over to us loud and clear was that we were going to need rain clothes! We paused briefly to have a snack and took the decision to start our return journey back to Kandersteg before the worst of the weather set in. We didn't really get that far today with such poor weather threatening, just a little way past the elaborately carved signpost to the Balmhornhutte.
Made our way back to camp and arrived just in time before the heavens opened. What followed was a pretty severe test of the waterproofing of the tent and thank goodness the Samara 400 performed brilliantly. Even after many many hours of very heavy rain I was unable to find a single point where water entered the tent. The rain continued throughout the night and it was a relief in the morning to find that everything had remained absolutely bone dry which gives us great confidence for the rest of this trip and for future trips.