I am standing in our hallway, all bundled up for a day of hiking in the High Ferns, when suddenly I realize that I am like one of those testosterone guys with razor blades under their armpits, unable to get my arms right next to my body. Which is not exactly one of the roles I fancy myself in. Another similarities crosses my mind: once of those little ones who just learned how to walk, stuffed into a tight snowsuit, desperately trying not to move in that scary white stuff I have never seen before, afraid of falling as I know that moving will be next to possible once on my backs. Like a giant colorful bug, struggling to get back onto my feet.
Ok, so I give up and tottle back to where I usually stand panicking, with nothing to wear: the closet. I shed what seems like everything I own and decide on a light, but reasonable amount of clothing that should well protect me against the promised cold of the snowstorm Daisy that never came. After all, I will be hiking, so one woollen sweater should keep me warm.
It does. We drive out to Haus Ternell, park the car and are off into the woods. Turns out we were not the only ones with this idea. But mostly cross-country skiers are here to enjoy the sudden stillness of a world covered in snow.
We take the route along the little stream Hill, cross it and then hike on towards Signal de Botrange, which is about 12 km from Haus Ternell, and thus too far for a round-trip hike of 24 km. The snow makes it difficult to walk, at times it seems like one step forward is actually two steps. But once we are away from the “larger” forest tracks and deeper in the ferns, life gets so much easier, if it weren’t for the ice-crack-sounds that accompany every footstep that we take. One shouldn’t think too much about what may be under the ice…
Mud. There is mud. I know that so perfectly because the ice broke just when my foot landed on it. Luckily, I was wearing gaiters and the mud staid outside. But I may have shrieked a little bit. Tiny little bit.
Speaking of tiny little bit. As we are walking down one of the tracks toward one of the main tracks where the cross-country skiers are, I see one of them stopping right were our track hits the main track. And he stands there. Staring. At us. I imagine piercing blue eyes, as only blue eyes can have that menacing stare I feel in my chest.
He keeps staring while I pretend that he is not there, chatting on with the geek. As we come closer to him, I think that he should ski on, but all he does is stand there. Staring. At us. I am a little afraid. But nothing happens.
We turn and walk the direction from which he just came. Suddenly, a quiet voice. “Excuse me.” It does not sound like a question, more like a statement. “Please do not walk in the skiing tracks.” I startle and mumble “Yes ok,” and move on. Without having done anything wrong I feel guilty. What was that supposed to be? Is he afraid of people looking at him when he talks to them? Are his facial muscles paralyzed so that it only looked like he stared, but in reality he was smiling and was then mad as we did not smile back at him? I am not so sure.
But it becomes better. The geek turns around and says “Ok, but could you please slide on your side of the forest track, which is the right side? I can see you only on the left side of the road which is clearly marked for hikers.” And skier-guy’s voice becomes a little shrill when he answers: “But your wife just walked in the skiing track.” Which was difficult not to do as the entire forest was covered with skiing tracks. How about you skiers sporting in only one or two tracks? See for yourselves:
The next 10 minutes or so are spent in laughter as we imagine the geek freaking out not about the odd request or the even odder way of voicing that request. Instead of receiving an answer, the next questioner will be yelled at by a demoniacal physicist freaking out about the word “wife,” steaming with rage, not referring at all at the original request. That may yield some nice facial expressions on the other side. Unfortunately, the skiers were able to read our plan on our foreheads and were not nice enough to ask.
All in all: hooray for the High Ferns. Beautiful day in beautiful landscape, very well marked tracks and easy to access by car. There are even busses, but as we were there with the car, I cannot say too much about timetables or prices. We hiked 18 km and would have ended the day in the restaurant by the fireside, with hot soup or something else, if I wasn’t so tired that I was afraid of falling asleep while driving home.
–Cati Basmati loves to watch cross-country skiing on TV
Autor: Cati Basmati, Blog: www.catibasmati.blogspot.com
Bild: Cati Basmati
Weitere Artikel die Sie interessieren könnten:
Getting down to business