Wednesday, July 28, 2010

1500 km and 17 car-drivers

The beauty of an idea is trying it out. But the real fun of an idea is trying it out immediately before you've got time to think it over. Fun and thinking don't go very often together.

'What are they doing?What's written on that cardboard they're showing us?' Curious faces gaze at us from behind the car windows, some of them open-mouthed. Like with all first time experiences the reactions differ, that's why I'm smiling to get them get over the shock of it - I guess it's quite unusual to see a hitchhiker in Switzerland. To see two of them carrying big rucksacks must be overwhelming.
Most cars that pass us by are full - people going in holiday with half the house packed on the backseat along with the family's kids. It's a late Friday evening that finds us standing on the side of the road leading out of Lugano nord on the A1 highway, with a Zurich cardboard sign and a 3 hours young idea: to hitchhike home, from Lugano to Timisoara. The mission: 1500km, 6 countries, one weekend. Mission impossible?

First step: Lugano-Bellinzona
The requirement for finishing any feat is starting it. That's why the driver taking us to Bellinzona is the godfather of our mission. I'm quite sure he had absolutely no idea what important part he was about to play in the amazing journey of discovery in the transportation, turistic and sociological departments, not to mention in the education of so many young (between 2 and 60 years old) swiss offsprings in relation with the human race history (yes, we did use to be born and live outside the car not very long ago), respectively with other species living on the same planet (like hitchhikers), alas, in the revolving of the world. He was very calmly driving to see his mother after yet another day at work in Ascona when the luck striked him (and especially us) offering him the opportunity to be the starter of it all and to take us to the gas station close to Bellinzona exit.

The young and the restless: Bellinzona - Erstfeld
If you wonder what thoughts cross the mind of a hitchhiker when she's standing in the light of a road lamp and you pass by her grinning from your car, let me just assure you that if those thoughts became real the grin from your face would dissappear very quickly. But if that hitchhiker knew she had a warm bed 30 km away and she was hitchhiking in the opposite direction of that bed, those thoughts would not include much respect for a hitchhiker's brain.
Fortunately, an italian car with three young men stops and the passengers squezze to take us in. They're driving to Paris for the weekend. Suddenly the world doesn't seem such a lonely place anymore:) At midnight we celebrate the driver's birthday with a chocolate cake, a lighter and a song. 20 years - so young! We still have the restlesness in common if not the youth. We part in Erstfeld where the rain is pouring down on a night spent in the gas station.

Green, green grass of home: Erstfeld - Zurich
The driver that takes us out of the rain into his car is from Lugano too; the difference between him and us is that he's only driving a young black teenager to the airport and then he's driving back to the sunny side of Switzerland. He enjoys playing the guide and persists in telling us about the wonderfull sights you can get on this scenic road against the early hour. I have the impression the nature tailors the inhabitants, because the fog and rain is just as persistent and I have to take the drivers' word for the beauty of the scenery. Well, this is how the green, green grass is made.

Yet another scenic road: Zurich - Heidiland gas station (~Chur)
The young swiss german couple that take us from the road leading to the Chur highway are discussing the best place to take us to so that our chances of fulfilling our mission are increased. They're very nice although not very talkative, but neither are we (talkative, I hope;)) as we immerse ourselves in observing the scenery. It's quite a demanding activity since we have to catch the moments between rain and fog. Just before Chur, at Heidiland gas station we have the opportunity to get a closer look at the rain while trying to get a car to Sargans and Lichtenstein.

You are not alone: Heidiland - ~Sargans
A mix couple, she German and he Italian takes us from the rain into their car and some few kilometers closer to the Austrian border through Lichtenstein. They're visiting her parents to escape Milano's heat; judging by the way it rains, they've succeeded. They're recalling the times when they were also hitchhiking to Greece and back. Unlike us, they got to Greece with one car only, that car being a van. So, it is possible.

Lifelong memories: Sargans - ~Montafon
The two Austrians taking us on improve tremendously my opinion on Austrian people. I admit they're young and crazy (especially the driver who I'm not sure is 18 years old, but it's better not to know), they're smoking and not very respectful to the border authorities (although as my german is not good I didn't understand exactly if what the driver said was about the officer's mother, brain or other parts of his body), but they're also very friendly and they subscribe too to the success of our mission. They're actually so friendly that they decide to take us to the first gas station on the highway although they were only going to the town. The first gas station is very far and so they end up making "a short side-trip"(to cite the blond blue-eyed kid driving the car) which side trip is longer than their initial business trip. I'm sure we're not going to forget our mission, but I'm also sure they will remember it as well:)

Lucky with the weather: ~Montafon - ~Innsbruck
People are very unfriendly at this gas station. Especially the old people are looking at us accusatorily as if we're breathing their air. Which in a way we are, since we're certainly not Austrians. However, the thing they're most likely bothered about is that we're breathing their air and not paying for it:)
After the lunch hour spent in the gas station with lots of other people that stopped there for lunch, the difference being that we didn't eat, a very friendly Austrian guy takes us on. He's a very humorous guy, and tells us how lucky we are with the rain because if it hadn't been raining he would have driven a motorbike. He's retired and very happy about it, and he has so much will to live and enjoy his life that he's contagious. We part in a gas station near Innsbruck with a warm good-bye and a cold heavy rain.

Forgiven, not forgotten:~Innsbruck - Rosenheim
It's raining mildly and after 1.5 hours of standing there I'm not believing my eyes that the lone lady-driver stops to take us. I was developing patterns of driver behavior and one of them was that lone lady-drivers don't take hitchhikers. Well, I'm wrong and happy about it. We're tired and sleep through most of the drive, so the conversation is almost inexistent. But the music the lady listens to (Celtic woman) and her outlook tells me her story - and I understand what I hear. The world is even less lonely now.

Worst enemy, doubts: Rosenheim - Salzburg
It's raining heavily. It's raining through me, my shoes are half full. I see the train and wonder how far away the railway station is. After what seems an eternity with my shoes soaked it seems my brain is flooded also. A lone lady-driver stops, I can't even speak the words of how thankful I am to be out of the rain. She's a strong lady in her 40s and I can guess her story too. It has independence written all over her, and combined with beauty and brain it means single. She stops at the gas station before Salzburg where she knows it's the best place to catch a drive to Viena, but I'm too tired, too wet and it's raining too heavily so I ask her to get us to the railway station. This is the critical point, this is where I'm on the edge of giving up. I feel the loss of a dream, the regret of not being up to the challenge, of not trying everything before giving up. The regret shakes my brain while the cold and rain shake my body. Dry clothes (what it means to have an excellent friend!) and a hot kebab after, we're going back - let's give our mission another chance!

A small step forward, a huge leap in faith: Salzburg - Mc Donalds
Yet another lone lady driver takes us out of Salzburg to the Mc Donalds 5 km away, on the entrance to the highway, giving us the last chance to get a car this evening before it's going to be too dark.

The shelter: Salzburg - ~Linz
After a stupid driver insists on showing his disapproval to hitchhikers by almost running us down although we are standing by the side of the road and not on the road, a russian driver stops to get us a lift halfway to Linz. The conversation is limited to thank you (in russian) and stop here (universal sign language). The gas station we are now at is not very popular, and there's no chance to catch a drive further this evening. But we find shelter and the lost faith in a small chappel where we sleep.

It's a small world: ~Linz - Linz
It seems the night of silent sleeping prayer has helped and someone up there was tuned on the small chappel in the gas station, because the rain has stopped and a young czech couple frees the backseat of luggages and takes us on. The driver is actually from Moldavia and they were travelling for the weekend to the lakes in Austria. The gas station close to Linz where they let us is a bit far from the highway, but at least the sun is out.

Hills and mathematics: Linz - ~Viena
There are very slight chances to get a car to Viena from here but at least we enjoy the sun. A young austrian stops and tells us he has to drive to Viena but he doesn't have enough money for gas so we agree to contribute 10 euros to the gas. So we start to Viena in the same time while starting a conversation on probabilities and the relevance of constraining parameters on computing probabilities. For instance, what is the probability that two people hitchhike 1500km in 2 days, knowing that the lion population in Africa is decreasing with 10% per year and a baby elephant was born on a Monday afternoon? It's an interesting conversation although I'm not sure how much the hills we're passing through have influenced the probability of us having the conversation. One thing I'm sure of is that the driver doesn't get anything out of it, but he also doesn't care about it. So he drives smoothly to Viena, regardless of the probability of him doing so, given that a baby elephant has been eaten by a lion family on a Wednesday morning which increased the life expectancy of the lion population with 0.5%.
We remain at a gas station close to Viena thinking it'll be easier getting a car to Hungary from here (or at least that the probability to get a car from there to Hungary is definitely higher than getting a car from Africa to Hungary, given that a lion had sit on a tourist car on a Sunday afternoon).

Not everything goes according to plan, especially when you've got none: ~Viena - Viena
We realize soon enough there are no chances to get a car to Hungary from here(might have been the lion's fault), so we jump in the car that stops to take us to Viena, relieved of not getting stuck so close (which is a false hope, as we are little over half the way). The two young men taking us are probably at their first drive on the highway and the first hitchhikers. Luckily it's a short drive.

Via ferrata: Viena - Hungary
We walk to the first gas station on the highway, following the bike loan along the Danube river side. Nobody seems to drive to Hungary, and I'm starting to feel we'll have to take the train after all. Finally, a hungarian guy working in Viena takes us on. His car is full of heavy working equipment, iron bars and such. He's very talkative and I realize how very close mentalities romanians and hungarians have - as if they were neighbours:) He's unsatisfied with the political system and comments on the communist era, just like a romanian would. We part at the hungarian border. If we continue in this rythm, I doubt we'll get home before Monday morning.

The way home: Hungary - Arad
The car stopping to take us has a german number. But it takes less than a minute to realize the driver is romanian. So, we're going home, or almost home, to Arad. One thing we don't appreciate immensily is the fact that the driver, except for the fact that he's friendly as almost all romanians are, asks for money. Welcome to Romania, before you got there. Anyway, we don't let this detail stand in our way and enjoy the confort of being out of the rain that we've caught up with. In Szeged, very close to the Romanian border, we take two more hitchhikers. They're from Poland and go to Bulgaria to the seaside. We convince them to visit a little bit Romania, especially because they are so lucky to get a ride to Sighisoara with this car. They let themselves very easily convinced (when you tell the truth, like how beautiful Sighisoara and the road through the Carphatians mountain is, it's easy to convince people) although I hope they were spared of the adventure of a Romanian flood.

The 50th hour: Arad-Timisoara
It's almost dark, and we are almost there, almost home. Only 60 km stand between us and the fulfillment of our mission. There's a young romanian couple and the man's mother in the car that takes us on. It doesn't take long to realize that the adventure is not at the end, it's merely starting. And that is when I notice that they too must be very eager to get home, especially on the parts where the speed limit is 70 and the car goes with 140. I wonder how it's possible that this guy still has a driving licence - he should have remained without it at least 100 times by now. One thing is sure - when these 60 km are over I'm twice happier to be in Timisoara than I would have been without them. That's because to the general happiness I add happy to be still alive.

Monday, August 10, 2009

visit to the queen's hut

Monte Rosa - 6-7/08/2009
A very important asset of a human is the imagination of the inhabitants of his/her brain: be them flocks of birds or bearded dwarves. It is on the creativity of these little fellows that the whole difference between living and just being alive relies. One should therefore treat one's dwarves with all due respect, for it is in their power alone to make your life filled with moments worth living. As a token of my appreciation of the many special anti-boring adrenaline bursting moments my very own dwarves embroider for me, and to prevent their emigration, I'm spoiling them with at least one weekly out-going. it was in one of these family walks on nature paths (maybe piz di stria or piz teri) that I've first got a glimpse of a thought - of the thought - through the mist lowering down on the white, not so distant, peaks. What about visiting the queen's hut (Margherita hut) on a full-moon night?
It's usually those thoughts that you barely dare to whisper to your mind that are most appealing. So the very next day I went on a night trek to see the sunrise on Adula (which this time I've actually seen, differently from last winter when I arrived on the peak 10 minutes later), and have a private discussion with my dwarves on the thought.
Maybe it was the glory of the night's silence combined with the burst of the first sun rays into a moment of eternity that so rarely lets itself perceived by humans that encouraged me, or maybe it was the story of the pizza (margherita) I've happened to read just before the full moon night, point is that I found myself on the train to Staffal. Admittedly, all the 8 long hours of travel by train and bus I was reassuring myself (and the little inhabitants of my brain) that I'll go back if it's too cold, I'll stop at Gnifetti hut if it's too hard, etc.
The evening was incredibly calm and friendly, no wind, and so warm that I could climb only with the t-shirt and shorts on, always staring at the beautiful Liskamm traverse. I reached the intersection with the path to cita di mantova hut just in time to see the moon rise, yawn and get into the clouds. Luckily, it was a full moon, unluckily, the clouds were thick. However, probably out of curiosity for the strange hunchbacked shadow climbing hopefully in direction of the hut, the moon soon left the clouds behind on the italian side and guided my steps on the right track to the hut. After putting on all clothes in my rucksack, I climbed to the Gnifetti hut that was sound asleep. the crowd of ice-axes and boots that welcomed me on entering the hut made me wisely decide not to disturb the sleeping climbers which might have jeopardized my popularity. There were two ways: I could continued to climb and risk the raising clouds, or I could wait for the morning on a chair in the boots room. My patience (maybe encouraged also by the smell?) soon decided the only way was up. So up I went, to my delight on a very well beaten track on the glacier and with the moon still tuned on the "lunatic and monte rosa" show. Unfortunately just before col de lys the wind started blowing and it was getting really cold. Plus I was getting really sleepy, and sleeping on the glacier is not one of my strong points. I remembered there's a refuge on Corno Negro which I reached in half an hour climbing on the fixed rope all the way to Jesus. Jesus' statue , that is, the very one that looks over the refuge where I entered at 3.30 o' clock in the morning decided to get 2 good hours of sleep. Because of the crowd I could only sleep 1 hour, but it was a heaven's gift. With the sunrise slowly taming the glacier, the wind and the temperature, my sleepiness was all gone, up to Margherita hut, me joining. The silence of the ice combined with the shyness of the morning light gently awakening the mountain touched my soul forever. Even my dwarves shut up in ecstasy and awe.
The queen's hut offers a royal view; the people there though are just sick of too many tourists. My eyes were blind to the crowd following me, I saw only clouds, snow, ice and rocks. All good moments last just for moments, so I've started my descedn to Zermatt. Had it not been for the highway down the glacier to Monte-Rosa hut, I would have probably avoided getting down on the very-full of crevasses Grenzglacier. I was wondering why I was the only one going down at that hour (9 am)? A late hour it seems, since the answer became more and more obvious while descending to the huge seracs. After about half an hour the answer was more obvious than I wished for, since I was reaching the first area of crevasses. The ice sculpture fascinates me, so I was admiring from above the mysterious depths of the iced world. Above was the right place to be admiring from, and I had no wish to get below for the details.
Had I even suspected that I would go down to Monte-Rosa hut, I would have probably known that to get down to Zermatt from Monte Rosa hut you have to climb to 2800m first, and it does take around 4-5 hours. My feet were crying, luckily my eyes were keeping my brain busy with wonderful panoramas of Monte Rosa and the most famous touristic stone - Matterhorn. And a new research challenge for my dwarves: 2 beautiful peak traverses to be enjoyed someday.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

In vizita la cabana reginei

Monte Rosa - 6-7/08/2009
De fiecare data cand se intampla ceva frumos, imi imaginez masa rotunda din creierul meu la care stau asezati batranii clanului de pitici scarpinandu-se aprobator in barba si zacandu-si: "uite ca a supravietuit si de data asta".
Cred ca deosebirea dintre oameni se datoreaza pur si simplu grupului de pitici din capul fiecaruia.
Exista o legatura foarte stransa intre masa rotunda si a trai, mai exact a evada unei existente monotono-robotizate. Si ca dovada de recunostinta si apreciere pt piticii mei care imi procura tot felul de evenimente exceptionale anti-plictiseala, si ca sa nu cumva sa-mi emigreze, ii rasfat si eu pe ei si ii scot la plimbare cel putin o data pe saptamana. Mi se pare cinstit. Nu mai stiu exact in care dintre plimbarile saptamanale (piz di stria sau piz teri) s-a intrezarit un gand la orizontul plin de varfuri albe, cum ca ce frumoasa ar fi o vizita la cabana reginei (refugiul Margherita) cu luna plina. Ca sa citesc totusi mai bine detaliile gandului, am si pornit ziua urmatoare spre un rasarit pe Adula. Ce-i drept le-am citit la lanterna pt ca seara respectiva era fara luna, dar urcarea nocturna a fost cu succes si am ajuns inainte de rasarit (si nu la 10 minute dupa ca asta iarna).
Dupa un periplu scurt prin parang, intoarsa in Lugano imi cade in maini o revista deschisa tocmai la pagina povestii pizzei (pizza margherita). E clar un semn! Si prind curaj sa pornesc spre Monte Rosa ca sa pun in aplicare ceea ce-am indraznit sa gandesc numai in soapta. Ce-i drept cele 8 ore de tren si autobuz pana la Staffal s-au petrecut cu tot felul de reasigurari: dc e frig, ma-ntorc; dc simt ca e prea greu ma opresc la gniffetti; dc e ceata renunt; bla, bla.
Seara e superba, nici un pic de vant, urc in tricou si pantalon scurt cu privirea agatata de creasta Liskamului. Ajung in pas la intersectia cu traseul spre cita di mantova exact cand luna rasare de dupa varfuri, trage un cascat si intra in nori. Noroc ca norii se inghesuie toti spre partea italiana si in scurt timp luna se hotaraste sa-mi tina loc de felinar, curioasa probabil de umbra cocosata ce strabate lespezile spre refugiu.
Cele 8 ore de dubii se fac simtite caci mi-e somn, noroc ca pierd poteca prin caldare si trebuie sa-mi activez memoria. Nu stiu exact cum, probabil luna imi tine partea si-mi lumineaza traseul corect, caci nimeresc traversarea si vad cele 2 cabane cu ferestrele luminate. E timpul sa ma echipez caci e frigut, si urc la gnifetti unde ma apuca alte dubii caci peste cita di mantova s-a pus ceata. Mi se pare ca am urcat foarte repede desi am facut aproape 5 ore si decid sa astept o ora sa vad cum evolueaza vremea. Tot refugiul doarme, asa ca incerc sa nu fac zgomot, mai ales ca la cate piolete sunt in jur n-ar fi o idee buna sa deranjez zecile de proprietari ce sforaie linistiti. Camera de iarna a refugiului e plina de bocanci si echipament dar ma intind pe 3 scaune in anexa ce tine loc de bucatarie iarna. Rabdarea ma tine vreo juma de ora, dupa care mai dau tarcoale refugiului si decid sa-mi incerc norocul cu norii. Spre bucuria mea e de-a dreptul bulevard pe ghetar asa ca n-am nici-o problema sa urc, trecand pe langa vreo 4 corturi adormite. Mi se pare mult mai multa zapada acum pe ghetar, mai ales ca trec pe langa cele 2 crevase de care mi-era un pic teama si le gasesc mai acoperite decat erau in septembrie anul trecut. Sau poate e de la lumina lunii? Mare noroc am cu luna a carei curiozitate se pare am starnit-o destul cat sa ramana pe programul "lunatica si monte rosa".
Mi se pare ca urc repede, pana cand la vreo juma de ora de col de lys vantul incepe sa-si faca de cap. Si de parca nu era de ajuns, ma plezneste un somn de-mi vine sa ma intind pe ghetar. Nu-i a buna. E in jur de 2 jumate, nu-mi vine sa ma-ntorc, din fata bate vantul, dc stau pe loc inghet. Frumoase optiuni. Imi amintesc insa ca exista un refugiu pe Corno Negro, si urc incercand sa dibuiesc unde e. Ajung la stanca si urc pe coarda fixa ce ma duce la statuia lui Isus. Cred ca era momentul cel mai bun sa-l intalnesc pe Doamne-Doamne! Muntele asta ma iubeste. Statuia strajuie refugiul, in care intru si unde din fericire mai gasesc fix un loc liber. Ma gandesc sa dorm 2 ore si apoi sa pornesc cu rasaritul in coltari. Dar colegii mei de refugiu se gandesc sa-mi injumatateasca odihna, ca doar pe ghetar se porneste de cu noaptea. Multumesc statuii pt o ora de somn rupta din rai, aproape umplu memoria aparatului foto cu un rasarit inghetat, si zbor spre Margherita. Tot ghetarul e taiat de poteci si sunt puzderie de grupulete incordate, majoritatea in coborare. Un nene la vreo 65-70 de ani imi explica incotro e Zermatt-ul. Mi se pare ca am un ritm de melc pensionar, dar doar ce graba am? Privelistea de la refugiu este intr-adevar regala, oamenii de pe-acolo insa sunt ca toti cei super-satui de turisti. Ce-i drept dupa ce 20 de minute nu vad decat nori, creste, ghetar, stanca si putin imi pasa de inaltime ca oricum nu mai respir in fata spectacolului muntelui roz, incep sa vad si hoarda ce vine in urma mea. Lucrurile frumoase n-ar fi asa frumoase dc n-ar dura putin. Ghetarul dinspre cabana Monte Rosa este foarte crevasat, si dc n-ar exista o adevarata autostrada, cu siguranta n-as cobori pe-acolo. Dar autostrada exista, deci spre zermatt. Sunt un pic in intarziere, nu mai coboara nimeni asa tarziu (e 9 dimineata) spre zermatt, ma intreb de ce? Dupa vreo juma de ora timp in care ajung langa seracele ghetarului motivul imi devine din ce in ce mai evident. Dupa o alta jumate de ora cand ajung la prima parte crevasata a ghetarului, motivul e mai evident decat mi-as dori si dupa inca o ora evidenta lui ma scoate din sarite. Noroc ca urmele sunt destul de bune, chiar dc zapada e moale, si pot sa evit gaurile crevaselor. Ma fascineaza sculptura in gheata si nu pot trece pe langa crevase fara sa-mi arunc privirea in adancurile universului de gheata. Nu cred insa ca mi-ar place sa studiez adancurile respective de aproape...
Poteca de la cabana Monte Rosa traverseaza 2 ghetari pe care drumul e semnalizat cu stegulete. Dc m-as fi gandit ca o sa cobor la zermatt, probabil ca as fi stiut si ca de la monte rosa-huette se coboara urcand pana la 2800m (si respectiv ca sunt vreo 4-5 ore de mers). Dar e mai bine ca n-am stiut, pt ca asa am parte de o panorama superba asupra masivului monte rosa, si a bolovanului turistic care e Matterhornul, chiar dc piciorele imi cam scancesc. Nu stiu de ce privirile imi raman in spate, spre monte rosa, si adaug la lista de prospectari inca 2 creste.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Moved old site( to blog

There always comes a time to move on. Now it is time to move on from the old site. All posts have been moved to the blog.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Printre si deasupra norilor, totul e relativ

Monte Rosa - 19-21/03/2009

ninge sfant si pagan. privind din fereastra refugiului Gnifetti ceata laptoasa din care se vad totusi fulgii de nea, nu ma pot hotari dc ninge sfant sau pagan. Previziunile meteo spuneau ceva de soare, senin si fara vant. Ce-i drept, previziunile erau pt 2600 de metri mai jos. La refugiul Mantova unde am ajuns dupa 5 ore de rachetat, previziunile spuneau vant si frig. In schimb e ceata si ninge. Combinatia perfecta care m-a transformat in bibelou si statie meteo in geamul refugiului Gnifetti. Am avut o tentativa de coborare dar mi-a trecut dupa vreo 20 de metri cand mi-am aruncat privirea spre picioare si nu le-am gasit. Cu 2 ghetari chitibusari de-o parte si de alta , geamul refugiului pare destul de ospitalier. Imi amintesc un moment minunat fara ceata cand am reusit sa vad 200 de metri mai jos, pana la granita cu norii. Am iesit afara sa incerc faza cu zambitul la soare. Ghetarul si Piramide Vincent s-au acoperit cu un strat de zapada ca si puful de papadie, in timp ce Liskam cu ghetarul aferent se jucau de-a v-ati ascunselea cu norii. Din cand in cand dinspre ghetarul dantelat de nori si de serace se auzea cate un serac ce-si dadea demisia cu un bubuit numai bun pt sporit atmosfera de mister. Doar Yeti mai lipsea. Sau poate nu? Ah, ce vremuri! Asta s-a intamplat acum vreo ora.
Ora 4 aduce 4 spanioli si senin spre creste. Incep sa urc fara un tel anume. Ca de obicei, orice iesire din casa aduce cu sine invataminte: iarna nu-i ca vara si rachetele nu sunt nici schiuri nici coltari; de nins a nins, dar la 4000metri nu-i ca la 1000 si zapada e mai mult gheata, iar previziunile meteo tot se adeveresc odata si-odata si bate vantul. Si cand bate vantul toata zapada ninsa de azi-dimineata isi gaseste drumul pana-n orbitele ochilor mei. Drumul pe ghetar pare mai simplu decat asta vara. Asta exact pana cand ma intreb cum de pot sa vad coastele balaurului in hibernare pe al carui spate ma plimb, forma arcuita a crevaselor. Si exact in acelasi moment imi doresc tare mult sa pot levita pt ca nu trebuie sa-mi imaginez ce este sub pojghita inghetata - stiu. Regret biscuitii de la pranz, ma trag in jos. Sper ca totusi stratul care acopera canioanele de gheata sa fie destul de gros. Rafalele de vant reduc vizibilitatea si ajuta la levitatie (noroc totusi cu biscuitii de la pranz).
Zidurile de gheata pe langa care trec, norii imbulziti in vale rupti pe alocuri de varfuri razlete, zapada viscolita ce se scurge incolacindu-se de corpul meu priponit in piolet fac din momentele de calm cand totul cade in nemiscare evadari din timp, spatiu, material, fizic si orice altceva. Oare ce adevaruri filozofice ar descoperi Socrate in momentele astea? Eu descopar un singur mare adevar incontestabil: e frig. Si soarele care cade dupa Castor si Quintino Sella cade cu temperatura cu tot. E timpul sa apun si eu spre refugiu, dar pt asta trebuie sa invat sa-mi folosesc rachetele pe post de coltari.
Pe munte exista oameni mult mai periculosi decat cei care nu au echipament: cei care au echipament si nu stiu sa-l foloseasca, si mai ales cei care au echipament si au impresia ca stiu sa-l foloseasca. Cea mai periculoasa specie sunt cei care au echipament, au impresia ca stiu sa-l foloseasca si tin neaparat sa-i invete si pe altii. Dupa ce era sa dau ortul popii din cauza unui destept de genul asta, am invatat ca nu exista nimic mai pretios ca si instinctul. Si in scurt timp constat ca eu si rachetele mele facem echipa buna, ajungand fara incidente la refugiu in acelasi timp in care soarele isi termina programul.
Unul dintre spanioli are rau de altitudine si noaptea decurge intre 4 oameni simtindu-se frustrati ca nu pot decat sa priveasca neputinciosi un al 5-lea frustrat ca se simte rau.
Dimineata imi dau seama ca muntele asta chiar tine la mine si nu vrea sa ma lase sa plec asa usor. Si in minutul dintre iesirea din refugiu si inghetarea mainilor, mai imi dau seama ca aici printre si deasupra norilor pana si adevarurile incontestabile sunt relative: ieri nu era nici frig, nici vant. Azi insa, e. Nu mai e nici urma de nor, o mare de munti revarsati in talazuri la picioarele mele ma tin afara cu stoicism vreo 10 minute, dupa care astept in sac vreo 2 ore sa se potoleasca vantul si sa-mi simt mainile. Din pacate vantul nu se potoleste, din fericire imi simt mainile. Chiar nu-mi surade inca o zi in refugiu, asa ca pornesc in jos mergand printre rafale de vant si priponiri in piolet. Chiar si spiritul meu fotografic neimblanzit ar trebui sa-si dea seama ca nu e momentul de stat la pozat. De asta ma intreb ce caut priponita intr-o stanca si cu aparatul in mana? Sunt 2 portiuni dificile la coborare, una care traverseaza abruptul si unde e intelept sa nu aluneci, o alta o coborare foarte abrupta ce se termina cu niste bolovani. Plus ca nu mai exista nici-o urma pe zapada viscolita si doar placa de zapada inghetata a mai ramas in urma vantului. Acum e momentul ca memoria sa-si dovedeasca loialitatea. Nici memoria nici rachetele nu ma dezamagesc si iata-ma la 2500m unde vantul s-a potolit si zapada e afanata.
Cobor spre Stafal cu Quintino Sella in fata si creasta Liskam-ului in dreapta, iar in minte - ce de amintiri si planuri!:)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Haili,hailo - monte rosa, 19-21/09/08


Haili, hailo, suntem pitici misto...imi rasuna in urechea interioara in timp ce urc spre nori. Oare sa fie corul piticilor de pe creierul meu? E posibil. In tot cazul, au ritm:) Si urc din Alagna spre Monte Rosa cu piticii mei cu tot, gandindu-ma cu groaza la cardul de turisti pe care sigur ii voi intalni, avand in vedere ca Monte Rosa este masivul cu cei mai multi 4 miari usor de urcat. Dar trebuie sa-mi testez pioletul (apropos, a fost dragoste la prima atingere, pur si simplu nu m-am mai putut desparti de el, in special din cauza zelb-ului pe care l-am folosit in loc de manseta si la care i-am facut un nod cum numai eu stiu face (nu inca si desface)), si aici e locul cel mai nimerit, avand in vedere ca e de-a dreptul autostrada pe ghetar. Ajunsa la Pianalunga, unde muntele e transformat in santier, imi dau seama ca voi avea muntele doar pt mine (si piticii mei) pt ca telecabina nu functioneaza. Ura!
Intr-adevar nu intalnesc nici un turist pana ajung la refugiul Cita di Vigevano, un bloc imens asezat la 20 metri de celalalt bloc, refugiul Guglielmina. Aici apare si prima surpriza neplacuta - refugiile sunt inchise, ceea ce va duce si la testarea foliei de supravietuire. Sunt dezamagita - face condens - dar noaptea trece si plec odata cu soarele si cu piticii mei spre Passo dei Salati si Punta Indren. Poteca ocoleste Stolenberg trecand peste niste pietre pe care ieri noapte s-a asternut zapada; in departare se vad varfurile albului etern (ori cel putin etern pana cand incalzirea globala ii va veni de hac), varfurile muntelui roz insa nu se vad. Sper ca n-am gresit masivul. Ajung la ghetarul Indren pe care trebuie sa-l traversez. Hmm. Ghetar=crevase , + zapada de ieri noapte=crevase acoperite, + eu singura pe ghetar=...haili,hailo,suntem pitici misto. Fac primul pas singura pe ghetar. Se vede o urma, probabil ramasitele autostradei estive si ma tin de ea. Traversarea e scurta, ajunsa pe partea cealalta pot sa vad ridurile ghetarului ranjind in soare. Mda. Haili,hailo.
Urmeaza o urcare pe stanci, aproape ca pe trepte, si mai e si balustrada (corzi fixe). Ultima coarda ma scoate un pic mai sus de refugiul Cita di Mantova si mult mai jos de refugiul Gnifetti. Dar se vede Piramide Vincent, deci n-am gresit masivul! Traversez panta inzapezita spre refugiul Gnifetti, dar la jumatate de drum ma decid sa urc in ceea ce pare a fi un pas - poate, poate se zaresc varfurile roze. Rozosinul e pus pe sotii astazi, pt ca nu e nici un pas, ci inceputul ghetarului incadrat de peretele seracat al Lyskamm-ului si cel al Piramide Vincent. Ajung la refugiu asteptandu-ma la aceeasi prezenta umana de pana acum (adica nula); dar surpriza! la refugiu e un nene cabanier care ma anunta ca refugiul e inchis. N-apuc bine sa spun cati suntem in grup (recunosc ca piticii nu i-am declarat) ca nenea ma adopta si devin rasfatata refugiului.
Dupa ce ma indoapa bine (mama fii pe faza, cineva te-a intrecut!), ma conduce in zona VIP, adica pe platforma unde aterizeaza elicopterul si unde petrec o dupamasa la bronzat si numarat crevase printre nori. Ceata se joaca toata ziua in timp ce eu imi antrenez ochii dibuind o urma pe ghetar pe unde ma tenteaza sa urc (deh, piticii). Totusi hotarasc sa astept grupul celor 5 francezi care vin cu ghid si in coarda carora intentioneaza sa ma lege parintele meu adoptiv, desi mie imi ajunge dc deschid ei poteca.
Spre seara apar si francezii si are loc o noua serie de adoptiuni, in timp ce ghidul ma priveste cu ochii mari de dupa ochelari si ma felicita pt urcarea pana la refugiu. ??? Ma rog, nu-l contrazic, ca el o sa faca poteca:) Apare si un italian care a urcat si el tot de unul singur din Alagna, pe care insa nu-l adopta nimeni. Discriminare clara.
Dimineata trupele se schimba, in sensul ca eu urmeaza sa ma leg in coarda cu italianul. Surpriza neplacuta e ca a nins, si un strat de zapada proaspata se asterne peste ce au fost urmele pe care le-am parcurs de zeci de ori ieri cu privirea. Dupa ce ma echipez ca la carte si iesim afara, fac 20 de metri pana in spatele refugiului timp in care italianul calca coarda cu coltarii de vreo 3 ori si eu nu pot respira din cauza viscolului (cagula am uitat-o), si hotarasc ca eu astept rasaritul la refugiu. O decizie care imi permite sa-mi incalzesc varfurile degetelor de la picioare deja inghetate, si sa pornesc odata cu soarele (si evident cu piticii mei) dar fara viscolul care s-a domolit. Noroc ca viscolul nu a acoperit de tot urmele si urc pe langa crevase realizand ca e bine sa fii legat in coarda cand trec pe langa cele 2 gauri in care ghidul probabil si-a testat grosimea taliei. Trec tiptil, sperand ca zapada sa nu cedeze (ah, de ce am mancat?). Marea de nori (premiera pt mine in Alpi) din care catarge albe tasnesc spre cer ma indeamna sa continui - vreau sa vad varfurile roz. Trec peste puntea de gheata dintre 2 crevase uriase in care ma zgaiesc cu un nod in gat, am si uitat de degetele de la picioare inghetate, viscolul a inceput sa sufle si dezveleste gheata pe o portiune inclinata. Coltarii mei sunt la refugiu, cu tot cu rucsacul de altfel, aici la jumatatea ghetarului sunt eu, pioletul si piticii mei. Adica suntem un grup mare. Ma rog de munte sa ma lase sa trec, pt ca vreau sa vad. Promit ca vad si ma intorc. Viscolul se inteteste, sunt in pasul dintre Corno Negro si Piramide Vincent si in fata se zareste acelasi peisaj - adica ghetarul. Concentrata la maxim sa nu pierd urma de poteca, un singur gand ma impinge inainte: vreau sa vad.
In fata mea la 15 minute ii vad pe cei 6, sunt deja deasupra de Piramide Vincent (adica am trecut de primii mei 4000metri in Alpi) si ca de obicei la inaltimea asta ma apuca o foame naprasnica. Incepe sa se vada un perete urias - Dufourspitze cred - si urc si tot urc. Ma vad un hamster intr-o cusca alergand pe o roata alba. Dar in sfarsit sunt in pasul Lys - creasta Lyskamm e absolut superba, dupa ea in zare se vede Matterhornul, in fata mea se vede o caldare alba deasupra careia strajuie un punct negru - refugiul margherita. Grupul celor 6 deschizatori de drum e la nici 5 minute de mine, dar eu aleg sa urc in partea stanga, pe un mototoi. Si vantul s-a domolit, dar ma tin de cuvant si ma intorc - am vazut. Viscolul a acoperit crevasele, noroc ca se vede inca urma potecii. Ma fascineaza sculpturile de gheata ascunse in adancul ghetarului, liniile perfecte de un albastru azuriu ce par adormite. Dar si cand se misca in somn si striga din strafunduri te fac sa tresalti si te uiti in jur speriat de parca ti-ai cere scuze ca esti acolo si profanezi ghetarul cu urma pasilor tai.
Ajung la portiunea de rugaciuni (gheata) si constat ca viscolul mi-a fost de fapt prieten si a acoperit gheata. Uite cum lucrurile nu sunt niciodata asa cum par a fi. E clar, muntele asta ma iubeste:)
La refugiu nu scap fara sa-mi rotunjesc stomacul si o pornesc la vale cu viteza, mai mult rostogol. Si cum frumos e sa mai mergi si pe alte trasee, aleg un nemarcat care ma duce prin caldari glaciare de toata frumusetea si salbaticia, care sper sa nu se termine intr-un perete de toata frumusetea si salbaticia. Cand alegi sa mergi de capul tau (haili,hailo) e foarte important sa - fii pregatit sa urci tot ce-ai coborat chiar ne-mai-nimerind traseul de coborare; sa cunosti conformatia caldarilor glaciare; sa iubesti Retezatul cu lespezile lui. Ultima parte ma scoate din ceata (si la propriu si la figurat), si nimeresc peste o capra neagra si inceputul forestierului spre Gressoney. E clar, muntele asta ma iubeste.
Haili, hailo.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mersul la padure, dupa fragi si dupa mure (si nu numai)

E atata uitare de sine in acest gest de-a dreptul fascinant:taca,paca,taca,paca - gata am legat sireturile. Simpla actiune de a-mi pune bocancii in picioare imi da o emotie greu de descris. Siretul trece pe dupa o ghioaca si parca tot verdele cristal al cascadelor imi trece siroaie peste degete; o alta ghioaca, murmur de brazi si fosnet de frunze; inca una, miros de cetina si stanca si zapada; mai una, suier de vant dezlantuit pe creste insorite si lacrimi de ghetar. Ce bucurie intr-un simplu gest, ce dezlantuire de simturi in niste bocanci (exclus olfactiv), de parca ei ar fi cheia teleportarii miraculoase in tot mai restransul paradis al naturii libere.
Ei, teleportarea asta dureaza cam o ora pana la gara si alte 2 de tren+autobuz, dar important e ca la 9.30 ma pornesc din Campo Blenio cu toata motivatia unei traversari alpine de mare dibuiala orientativa (=nemarcata). Marea provocare e sa prind autobuzul de intoarcere pt ca rucsacul meu n-a trecut inca prin binecuvantarile Arabelei s-asa ca trebuie sa ma multumesc strict cu ce contine: pachetul de biscuiti si geaca de ploaie. Cam subtire (si nu ma refer strict la geaca).
Pornesc in ritm alert pinguinic, caci la revizia tehnica din vara asta s-au mai adaugat cateva componente pe lista de recuperari. Entuziasmul ma tine 5 minute, pana cand regasesc piatra filozofala tocmai intr-o tufa de zmeura. Notiunea de timp imi pare ca e prost inteleasa. Ce conteaza cat timp fac pana in creasta? Ce conteaza daca ajung azi in creasta au ba? Creasta o sa fie acolo si peste o luna, dar zmeura asta nu (ca sa fim conformi realitatii, zmeura asta n-o sa mai fie cam intr-un sfert de ceas...)
Si cu acest nou nivel de intelepciune dobandit, ma multumesc si cu autobuzul de 23, ba chiar si cu o vizita la lac ca doar traversarea se poate face si intr-un sezon defavorabil fructelor de padure. Timpul trece, soarele urca pe cer si zmeura e tot mai buna. Totusi hai sa inaintez. Aleg scurtatura, pt ca trece prin zmeuris.
Ma felicit pt alegerea garderobei de toamna, pt ca e de-a dreptul frig. Dupa ce drumul ma fenteaza facandu-ma sa cobor tot ce-am urcat ca s-o iau de la capat, o poienita in spatele unui catun ma intampina cu 2 surprize placute: o panorama spre muntii inzapeziti si o vatra de fragute inghetate. Uau si miam. Prima zapada anul trecut am prins-o tot aici, doar ca era noiembrie si pt cine avea harta era posibil sa ocoleasca zapada (exclus eu).
Un pic mai sus afinele se adauga listei de rasfaturi si pachetul de biscuiti are sanse sa mai prinda si tura viitoare. Panorama de la cabana Bovarina e superba: ochii mi s-au lipit de creasta alba dintre Piz Terri si Adula - se confirma ca val di Blenio e zona mea favorita din Ticino.
Pana la Lago Retico poteca traverseaza paraie ce cad parca in broderie peste versantii abrupti, apoi urca serpuind cu vant taios la pupa (un nou rand de felicitari pt garderoba) si biscuitii totusi nu vor prinde tura viitoare. De la lac incepe un pic de Retezat ce se continua cu un pic de Piatra Craiului si apoi cu ceva zone nesimilare cu patrimoniul national. Creasta e chiar splendida, cu versanti abrupti si inverziti pe partea dreapta si bolovani, inconjurand un lac desertic gen Pakistan, in partea stanga. Traversarea e marcata cu linie albastra (=traseu nivel excursionist experimentat), ba chiar are si lanturi pe portiuni ceea ce reduce din entuziasmul spiritului si stresul aparatului locomotor nevoit sa-l suporte (ex. glezna, genunchi, etc).
Coborarea spre Pian Gheirett e abrupta si imi ia exact cat scrie pe indicator (1ora) caci recordurile la vale au ramas amintiri de pe vremea cand eram tanara (acum vreo luna). Oricum, exista 2 motive rezonabile de a te grabi pe munte: frigul si ultimul autobuz. Cum nici unul nu se aplica, adaug pe indelete la meniu ultima delicatesa, mure, si prind cheile vaii Blenio la o sedinta foto spontana. Surprinzator ajung prea repede in Olivone (dupa 10 ore jumate), ceea ce demonstreaza ca puteam sa iau sedinta de vitaminizare si mai in serios.