Friday, August 10th, 2007
Well, I finally bonked (synonymous with "going hypoglycemic" or "kein Blutzucker mehr")... but at least it was after the hike. I was in the hotel room around 3:30PM answering email (after showering and washing clothes) when I suddenly felt weak and cold. I ate a Snickers bar, hopped into bed, and was asleep within minutes (unusual for me -- normally I don't nap). An hour and a half later I woke up toasty warm although still a little weak.
I know why it happened. I used up most of my store of glycogen on the hike yesterday, didn't have many carbs for dinner (fondue, mmm...), and for some reason only had a small breakfast. I then hiked fast for six hours (fast in part because it was a cold day and the choice is then between wearing lots of clothes and sweating whenever there is an uphill, or wearing fewer clothes and having to hike fast on level stretches to avoid being cold), and only ate a small sandwich, a Danish (Gebaeck), and a cup of hot chocolate. I think maybe I should put a little less emphasis on losing weight :-).
As expected Sally took the day off with Russell, and the two of them took a taxi to Col des Mosses. In part because I was alone, I therefore took a different route than planned. However, we might have done this anyway because the planned route was above the snow-line for half the day, and in addition the weather forecast was so-so (although it turned out to be mostly cloudy with a few sunny breaks).
I took a trail up to the Col de Pilon (which is both the boundary between the French and the German parts of Switzerland, and also the watershed between the Rhine and the Rhone!), and then climbed to a balcony trail at 1800m (the snow line was around 1900m) for a few hours before descending to Col des Mosses.
If you look on the website at the description of today's hike you'll see that I said a few words about the differences between the German and the French speaking lands. I must have been prescient. At the pass there was a large gondola station to take people up to Les Diablerets (a beautiful chain of 3000m peaks to the south) and the parking lot was, well, ugly, with crumbling concrete and stuff strewn haphazardly around upon it. Amazingly we have been walking for almost seven weeks through German-speaking lands now and I have seen nothing like it; one step into French-speaking Switzerland and there it was.
Col des Mosses is sort of the same -- what would otherwise be a nice valley is disfigured by a huge expanse of asphalt in front of the main hotel, through which the main road runs -- delimited only by the markings on the ground. It feels almost American. Very odd. Gsteig/Gstaad is just the other side of the pass, and both sides are Swiss, but in some ways they feel as if they are worlds apart.
One more thing about the hike, or rather, about the cows. Are French-speaking cows different than German-speaking ones? It seems as if the answer is yes. At any rate, although we have occasionally had to pick our way carefully along small sections of trails that had been over-used and abused by cows, today I spent most of the time after the pass doing so. It was as if French-speaking cows have a special affinity for hiking trails and spend as much time as possible destroying them. Yuck.
And you know what, despite all of the above, it was a very nice day!