Sept 9th
Zero in Arolla

In an unexpected twist, this season of Walking With Wired will be ending with a cliffhanger of a season finale! Here’s what happened…

I was sooo glad I stayed in the cozy accommodations through Hotel du Glacier in Arolla last night. I slept in and by the time I stepped out at 8am, it was already beginning to rain. I was given an indulgent breakfast that I totally didn’t expect. Usually, when breakfast is included in the stay, it’s bread and jam. This was platters of unlimited french toast (oddly served cold, but I’ll take it!), soft boiled eggs, ham, bread, jam, juice, my choice of fresh fruit (watermelon), and TWO hot chocolates. I sat there over an hour taking advantage of this.

The staff here are really kind and I like it a lot. However, the slow wifi was killing me! I’m assuming everyone in town has the same slow wifi, so I don’t blame them. We’re in an amazing mountain setting, and I’m impressed they have wifi at all. It wasn’t until 2pm that I got the blog written and posted (photos took a really long time to load) and caught up on my correspondence. I spent the whole day pretty much on my own in the little lounge at the main building of the hotel since there isn’t wifi in the dorm rooms.

I pushed off planning my upcoming days for two reasons. One is that I just can’t stand planning, and two is that I had a feeling it wasn’t good news…I looked up the weather, and was right. I have two more weeks before I fly home, and my thought was that this cold front would pass. Even if I needed to take some days to maybe go somewhere warmer and then return in a week, I only have 4-5 days left on the Walker’s Haute Route to get to the end in Zermatt. I figured I’d get a handful of days, even spaced out, in the next two weeks. No, unfortunately, it was not to be. Switzerland has skipped fall and jumped right to winter.

The forecast for the next two weeks has rain or snow most days and temps near or well below freezing. We’re talking days at 17F/-8C. I’m hiking among the highest places in Europe, and it’s just not going to be enjoyable or even safe with the conditions. I have said I hadn’t expected to fit the Haute Route in this year, and I got half of it with great weather and views. I want the other half to be just as great and scenic. I am happy to go out on a high note this summer and return to do the other half in the future.

I then started looking at options of how to spend my next two weeks. The GR20 came to mind, but honestly, I’m just not in the mood for it right now. I even thought about non-hiking ventures like Barcelona. With everything I thought of, nothing was pulling me as much as the thought of being HOME. I’ve been traveling so much this past year that I’ve only been home for for about 2.5 months over the last 15 months. I miss home and am ready to return to the comfort of my routine there.

I knew it was a 50/50 shot to hike in Switzerland in September. I know people who have hiked in the Swiss Alps this time of year, and had hit weather. It can go either way. I shifted my mindset from staying here two weeks to returning home and working. Crazy as it sounds, I really want to go home and get back to work. School has started and I’d normally be working by now. It’s time.

I spent the rest of the day with the slow wifi (that got even slower as more guests arrived) arranging details to fly home in three days. I’ll take tomorrow to get to Chamonix, where I left some things in storage at the hostel, and possibly get to Paris. I have some things to take care of and am not sure about transportation availability, so I put a buffer day in there before I fly out.

I’m surprisingly peaceful about all of this. I think that’s huge for me. There’s no doubt in this decision. As the day wore on, it even snowed quite a bit. At moments, I could see it coating the mountains through the fog. There should be a good view of it tomorrow.

Let it snow! Notice I’ve managed to keep the umbrella all summer…well I do have a few more days before I fly out to lose it;)

Having things not go as planned can really annoy me sometimes. I didn’t wake up this morning thinking I’d be heading home, but I am and I’m pretty satisfied with that. It’s what’s calling me, and I’m going with my gut. As soon as I made the decision to go home, a wave of calm came over me. I feel really happy and relaxed at home and have missed it. As I said, it’s time.

A photo of the snow the next morning.

I still have one more post to put up once I fly home in a few days, so stay tuned for that along with some more reflection on this summer’s experiences. It’s been a significant one and I surely know I have many more summers to come in Europe. The rest of the Haute Route will be easy to tag onto any trip out here that will probably be next summer. As for next year’s plans, I’ll talk about that in the next post, so please don’t ask what’s next. Let’s let this experience have its deserved moment. It was a pretty spectacular and memorable summer! To be continued…

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