Taking matters into my own hands...A day in the mountains
Recently I got frustrated because I was missing landscape photograhy... I don't really have any photography buddies living nearby, I have no car nor driver's licence and I was a bit worried to go to photo places in secluded areas alone. I am not a sports woman, and the places I want to go usually involve some hiking and carrying gear (thank god I have a micro 3/4 system otherwise it would be even heavier). But I had enough and decided to go anyway.
First i researched places at a reasonable distance and ticket pricing where I could find some views. That took me quite a while, I studied the walks, hikers photos from tours etc. I decided on going to the Passwang which is about 1h away by train and bus. There is an air cable going on top and it said it would be about a 1h hike to get to the highest viewpoint. Family friendly. So i should be fine.
(Details from Basel: 1. Basel-Liestal by Train 2. Liestal-Reigoldswil by Bus 70, walk 1km to the Air Cable Wasserfallenbahn)
IPhone Timelapse of the ride up:
I packed all my gear (Three lenses, ND Filters, travel tripod, some cereal bars, water, cleaning gear and my rainpants) and took off last saturday morning. I was a little bit worried though, so I asked my friend to follow me on gps, just in case something went wrong and I was alone.
Once I arrived upon the mountain it was incredibly windy and there was much more snow and ice than I expected. Trying to find my path I considered going back as I soon realised I wasn't wearing the right shoes for this kind of icy snow. Little did I know I took the wrong path and instead of walking the family road I was mountain the ridge path... It was exhausting but soon also very very beautiful. I had to be really careful not to slip and I sunk in the snow knee deep every couple of steps. It was way too windy to use the tripod and often I had to get creative to find my compositon as my range of movement was very limited. Also I was VERY much alone.
Ridge walk to the top of the mountain
I was aiming for a mountain restaurant that I planned to have a break at, which was supposed to be a 1h walk. I have to say it was a bit more dangerous and exhausting than i planned to but also very magical. Instead of the 60 min it took me around 2.5-3 hours. Partly due to taking pictures and everything taking very long to set up in snow and ice, and partly because I could only move very very slowly. But finally I did eventually reach the peak.
IPhone Vvdeo I took on the peak:
I was exhausted and my feet were soaking wet. I first missed the restaurant and had to walk back for about 1 km... thankfully on a normal road. It was a typical mountain restaurant serving rustic national dishes, except - there was a parrot in the restaurant which I found very amusing.
Image of the Restaurant
The parrot (video taken with iphone)
After a big meal and a warm coffee I asked the cook how to get back to the air cable as fast as possible as I was exhausted and knew I couldn't make the whole tour as planned. Unfortunately there was no way back using a normal road, which meant some more fighting aginst 1 meter high snow in sneakers. But she pointed the fastest way, which she said would take about 40 minutes.
On the way back I got so tired in my muscles that I decided to sleigh the downhill parts on my buttocks. It felt safer than walking and slipping, escpecally with my gear on my back. I had a good laugh at myself serveral times.
All in all I did fall twice but nothing major happend. Usually it was that i didn't expect to sink in that deep and fell forward into the snow.
After another hill i came across a horse farm
I had to go through it's gates and pass the horses, which was a little intimidating but fine. ALTHOUGH when i left the farm through a little gate there was two horses on the other side that didn't really want to let me pass. I was kind of trapped in the little passage when the first horse started smelling me. I stayed calm and talked to the horse, asking it to please let me pass. It did seem to understand. But the second horse wasn't finnished examining me and stayed. It smelled my hands and legs, started chewing the wood off the gate next to me... that was a bit scary. Eventually it focussed it's attention on my foot and started licking my shoe. I stayed calm and kept on asking it gently to let me pass. Inside part of me was laughing and the other part was a bit anxious. After about a 5 min. examination I was allowed to pass and continued my walk. Facing the other side of the valley.
After a couple more breaks, buttocks sleigh rides and photos I finally reached the air cable - one hour before it's last ride.
I can't tell you how sore and tired I was, but it was a day I never forget, beautiful, adventurous and funny and the pictures turned out better than I thought. I can only encourage anyone to do the same. Maybe with better shoes and a little better planning ;-)