A walk through the world between places

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Rainfall III.

Rainy Windscreen.

Rainy Windscreen.

A radical reworking of Rainfall, from NaPoWriMo. Travelling a long road requires concentration, and an idea of destination. Sometimes we get lost on the back-roads.

Rainfall.

Rain comes and goes but the story continues
with its troubles and turns a backdrop to miles we cross.
On the road ahead traffic slows to the speed of the nervous driver
and red lights flash warnings that scatter up into the windscreen.
We drive and the wind and rain push against the narrative,
working crosswise against the end and the last page.

There is no location, we could be anywhere on this road,
ahead or past. The wipe of the blades back and back, again
and again the thwap of their turn, stripes of colour repeating
a line of text over the sound of the engine.  

This wind drawn night with its closed curtain darkness
draws silence into the cab, we are lost to the world.
I listen for you breathing, for anything to prove
I am not alone in here.  

The CD player reaches the end and starts again, jumping back
through chapters when light spills into the space around us, 
two silhouettes caught looking, following the words and waiting
for the journey to be something, a place or a reason or a destination.

Going Up A Hill.

Going up a hill.

Going up a hill.

Before we left for Austria, I was online with one of my favourite stores, Stanfords. The home of maps, for anywhere. So I was able to procure a set of maps for the area around Schladming, I was also able to enjoy evenings with maps spread out across the table, looking at routes, ridges and mountains. Finger tracing footpaths and tracks with strange German names and descriptions. I picture in my mind the places I want to visit, wondering how close to reality the walks I do will be. This holiday was not a disappointment, the whole area was a feast, for the eyes and for the walking. After we arrived, regrouped, and let Mondays rain wash away the blues, on Tuesday I headed for the Guttenberg Haus. To follow a route climbing up a steep valley at the Eastern end of the Dachstein group, even from the car park the views were good back across to the other side of the valley.

Car park with a view.

Car park with a view.

The view from down here.

The view from down here.

A woodland wandering start.

A woodland wandering start.

I started out alone on the path, which rambles through a small hamlet/farm, before leading into the woods and to the first hut of the day, a restaurant for the less serious climber. I hope the pregnant woman and old man who passed me were heading there, I didn’t see them the rest of the day and I was taking my time and setting a nice slow stroll of a pace as well as plenty of stops for pictures and gazing around.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Nothing to see here, move along.

The restaurant hut entrance.

The restaurant hut entrance.

The restaurant (I wish I knew its name) provided this bench, to try to trap unwary walkers. It would be too easy to sit and relax, to enjoy a glass of the cold mountain beer and sit on the terrace to enjoy the view. So I didn’t stop, I strolled coolly past and carried on out of the trees into the pit of the valley. Following the great gouge left by the snow melt.

You can see the grey scar descending through the green.

You can see the grey scar descending through the green.

The path climbs and zigzags to the left of this massive gully all the way to a glacial moraine. Views keep expanding, the air clears as the cloud lifts, and the true size of these hills becomes apparent. South the Alps stretch away further into Austria, well worth the effort of climbing up here. Despite the popularity of the area there seems to be space for everyone, and it wasn’t till higher up that I passed a group of school children heading for the hut for lunch. They cheated and had their bags taken up on the small cable-box(? See the picture) used for ferrying supplies.

Cable-Box.  Or the easy way to the top.

Cable-Box. Or the easy way to the top.

Children watching their bags leave.

Children watching their bags leave.

Views expanding.

Views expanding.

Leading me on.

Leading me on.

Cloud lifting from the peaks.

Cloud lifting from the peaks.

As you climb the nature of the land changes, everything starts to hunker down in the shadows of the mountains. Things cling to small spaces to grow. You can see the way winter attacks the land, and then when the spring thaw arrives only the hardiest can regroup and spread into the spaces. The quiet of the track, broken by the children climbing up now from below me, glimpses of the track ahead make the world suddenly jump in to a new perspective, distances get distorted here.

Enough blue for a sailors trousers.

Enough blue for a sailors trousers.

There are people on the path ahead.

There are people on the path ahead.

More views.

More views.

Below me on the valley bottom I can just make out the hotel, the haze is lending everything down there a dreamy feel, colours are dissipated and the white of clouds and mountain tops mingles, I could sit an hour and watch the shades of the view change. Up ahead is the first glimpse of the hut, deceptively close, still a way to go. The edge of the moraine is above and still to be crossed.

First sighting of the hut.

First sighting of the hut.

A bit of a pause to admire the flatness.

A bit of a pause to admire the flatness.

I know, more mountains, and the moraine.  Left over from an old glacier.

I know, more mountains, and the moraine. Left over from an old glacier.

Getting into the nub of it now.

Getting into the nub of it now.

What can I say, I like the view.

What can I say, I like the view.

A change of perspective.

A change of perspective.

And again.

And again.

There are some big lumps of rock up here, a palette of grey, green and white, spread in front of the blue sky that drifts with clouds. The odd gust of wind to make sure you are safe, all the while the metres click away behind, this was exactly what I wanted when I was looking a the maps those months ago. Slow time climbs with lots to see, shady woods and nosy rivers below, steep edges and open places above.

Rock.

Rock.

Lead on.

Lead on.

Guttenberg Haus.

Guttenberg Haus.

The view from the hut.

The view from the hut.

It’s a good place to stop for coffee, to regroup and get some information about conditions further up the track, and to simply enjoy the feeling of being here. The children arrived as I was drinking my coffee, but were shepherded into another room for their lunch, but they weren’t being noisy or troublesome, just happy to have made it. You can sleep here, and the hut forms part of a long distance trail through the area. And the hut also celebrates its One Hundredth Year this year (2014). The terrace is the only place to be on a day like today and to drown in the spectacle of peaks all around, near and far.

Waiting for coffee.

Waiting for coffee.

Choices.

Choices.

Perspective.

Perspective.

I left the hut to go on a bit further, clambering under a large lump of rock, along a track that wasn’t sure about itself, sometimes a royal road, other times barely a goat track, boulders and gulleys adding to the interest. Now though I had the world to myself, to look out and down on everything I had left that morning. Jane was down there somewhere, reading or strolling in town, probably casting the odd glance my way too.

Curious.

Curious.

Mittelspitz.

Mittelspitz.

Looking down.

Looking down.

A royal road ahead.

A royal road ahead.

Looking down again.

Looking down again.

Looking up.

Looking up.

I'm heading for the notch and some lunch.

I’m heading for the notch and some lunch.

The path behind me.

The path behind me.

This looks like a good spot for a picnic.

This looks like a good spot for a picnic.

Nice spot for tea with a view.

Nice spot for tea with a view.

I sat with my lunch for about thirty minutes, silent and happy, enjoying the moment. Nobody passed me, I had the path and the pass to myself, snow and mountains all around, a stiff breeze and a bright sun hardly hindered by the clouds lingering at this height. Time to head back, and see what it was like in reverse.

Just something to remember.

Just something to remember.

Mountains.

Mountains.

Something to take home with me.

Something to take home with me.

The places I have been.

The places I have been.

Where do we go from here.

Where do we go from here.

When I got back to the hut, I once again sat for a while on the deck, looking out over the valley, drank some cold Apfelsaft, and contemplated nothing except what was in front of me. Soon I’d be back down with the life of the town, better for having made the trip.

Guttenberg-Haus.

Guttenberg-Haus.

They keep it tied down, to stop it being stolen.

They keep it tied down, to stop it being stolen.

Wildlife.

Wildlife.

I came up that!

I came up that!

Flowers.

Flowers.

A look back.

A look back.

Nearly got a picture of a bird.

Nearly got a picture of a bird.

So I returned, feeling good about life, having climbed again in the Alps, not Mont Blanc but a brilliant walk, and so many amazing sights. The hut was warm and welcoming, good coffee and apple juice. A worthy marker for the trip. I was able to take lots of pictures (sorry) and take all the time I wanted to enjoy the whole experience. I will come this way again. Perhaps to stay overnight and walk on further, make a couple of days of mountain life, to just relax and enjoy the time spent looking and walking. Hope summer is good for everyone, take some time to sit and do nothing, it’s good for your soul.

Fragments From A Journey

Lac Geneva, a pause on the road we travelled.

Lac Geneva, a pause on the road we travelled.

Sometimes there are lines, stanzas that I write, that will need something else to help them reach a conclusion. They may never become more than a fragment in a notebook, or they may just become a line somewhere else unintended. Lost and melancholy or the capturing of a moment of peace in a busy day, whatever they are to become they are more for being written. They become part of the history of a journey, perhaps one day my family down the line will find them and wonder where I was or what we were doing at the time, a mystery of the past for them to uncover.


Fragments

The scent of pine, and fresh water lake,
hour old rain and flowers on the banks.
Your quiet spreading across the table,
a waiting perhaps for it all.
And time becomes heavier than before
where we sit at the café with coffee so bad
in a plastic cup we smile and drink it anyway.

-x-

There is no location, we could be anywhere,
eyes closed and surrounded by mountains
the water is a clear blue green darkened
by fair weather clouds passing quickly.

-x-

Cloudy night, wind drawn closed curtain darkness.
I listen for you breathing, for anything
to prove I am not alone in the night.


I have finished the notebook we bought in Venice in 2011, and started a new one bought in Paris from Shakespeare and Co. Endings and a new beginning, I need to go back over the last pages and work on the notes from this our most recent trip, mountains and scenery have filled my head with images that need sorting out into something usable.

Mountain Notebook

Mountain Notebook

In the meantime, have fun with the changing world, the weather is not against you it is simply what it is, just like you.

Austria. A Stay In Schladming.

The view from the room.

The view from the room.

Where to next, for me the fun part because we are heading to the mountains. To Austria, an Alpine town called Schladming, at the foot of the Hoher Dachstein mountains. The trip across Germany turned into a bit of a disaster with a three-hour traffic jam outside Munich, planned road works apparently, pity they didn’t plan what to do with all the traffic. We still arrived in good time though, to see the sun go down over the mountain and get a cold beer before bed.

Once we were back on track, we stopped for a coffee and a driver swap, Jane took over as we headed for the hills, it’s safer that way, I can’t stop looking around at everything.

Motorway views.

Motorway views.

Castles flashing by.

Castles flashing by.

The road weaves through tunnels and passes, below castles and through wooded hills striped by waterfalls, all while we get closer to the hotel we shall be staying in for the week. We left the main roads to follow the river Enns to Schladming where it joins the Talbach. Hills rising on both sides of the valley, snow hanging in the high clefts, cloud rolling across the tops, I had the chance to take a couple of pictures before the light was lost.

Blue sky of a different sort.

Blue sky of a different sort.

Night.

Night.

Morning, and a first day without a drive ahead of us, time for a look around, to see where we have landed. A day to explore, to see the town and get our bearings. A day made for planning, for checking the weather for the week ahead and to see if we could find some way of watching Wimbledon. The town was quiet, normal I suppose for a Sunday in the early summer of a ski town. The cloud was low and rain forecast for the day. But standing again on the balcony, the panorama spread out around us made it all OK.

Looking out over Schladming and the Hoher Dachstein mountains.

Looking out over Schladming and the Hoher Dachstein mountains.

Schladming detail.

Schladming detail.

Doorhandle.

Doorhandle.

RC Church. Town centre.

RC Church. Town centre.

Rooftop views.

Rooftop views.

Coffee stop views.

Coffee stop views.

Looking towards our hotel from the church.

Looking towards our hotel from the church.

It’s always fascinating, to walk in a completely new place. Where even the language is something to be discovered. I had visited Germany when I was in my early teens, but very little of the language has stayed with me. We tried our best and the locals were friendly and not at all put out by our ignorance, we could at least say please and thank you.

Rushing water.

Rushing water.

More water rushing.

More water rushing.

As is normal, towns in the area are all constrained by the mountains around them and the rivers cutting through them. The two photos are of the Talbach, falling from its high mountain start. Unfortunately rain came, and we scuttled away to look about in the car, and finding some trails local to the hotel to see what could be done.

Waypost in the rain, the loneliest post.

Waypost in the rain, the loneliest post.

Drifting on a Sunday afternoon.

Drifting on a Sunday afternoon.

Looking down the valley.

Looking down the valley.

Private something??

Private something??

The next few posts will be about the walking around Schladming, sad to say, we didn’t visit the town much. The call of hills and lazy evenings in a comfortable room won out. We went in for food, for shopping and for information, all of which was provided admirably. The hotel was great, nice big room, and everything we needed to be relaxed, and friendly staff always willing to help and answer questions. I think we shall be going back, it was too good to do in one go, you need to visit a place twice I think to get the best from it. Lots of pictures in this post, hope they do the place justice with my random eye.

Happy trails everyone, enjoy every journey, even the unexpected diversions. It was interesting when stuck in a German traffic jam to see everyone having picnics, walking the dogs and children or strolling ahead to the services for refreshments. A good way to use the time, stretch your legs and get some fresh air, it’s about how you use your time isn’t it.

History.

Lonely Outpost

Lonely Outpost

History.

Remember
The woods the back alleys and jitties
The cut-throughs and tracks or gravel pit lane
The smell of a school
Rough and mud of the field out back where everyone went
Running about with wild intermingled games

Ending then when the men left marching
And the boys we were
We knew as they joined
Leaving together in lines
Stretching away from us
So few returning
Thin lines of letters
Each wait interminable

The sounds of the wind across the fields
Home that clean fresh idea that brings it back

Remember

Looking up to see the shading
Of the light
green in the trees
And wild stories told on the run

And now
Knowing it and remembering each moment
Wanting what it meant
Making it mean something
In the passing of a year you might miss
In the blink of the strike
With the flash ringing in the same woods
Where quiet wanders looking for space
Where paths cross contours
In straight lines through the roots
Of trees that are not for hiding in anymore.

NaPoWriMo Rewrite. His Story, taken back 100 years ago today.

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