There are days where I crave nothing more than the solitude found in the mountains, encountering nothing but sweet trails, wild animals, the peaceful advice of the mountains and the occasional technical adventure. I also love the unpredictable nature of the weather in the mountains; peaceful blue skies can be surrounding you one moment and in the next, you can feel the weight of the storm clouds above you, ready to roar and rumble.
I awoke to a blue sky that framed the mountains, the golden sun smiling at me, luring me outside and inviting me on a spontaneous adventure. I quickly filled my backpack with water, food and a change of clothes and set foot on the trail that passes by front door. I didn't feel like thinking, so I followed the direction my subconscious directed my feet to go.
I love that feeling of "going with the flow", allowing yourself to be surprised, learning to trust in your gut feeling and, in effect, switching off your mind giving you the liberty to absorb your surroundings, and quietly observe your thoughts.
The heat of the sun was radiating off the ground, magnifying its intensity, as I began ascending the rocky trail towards the Schilthorn. As I crested higher towards the summit I found snowfields in which sheep where laying, cooling themselves from the sting of the raging sun. I figured that it was quite a smart thing those sheep were doing, so I did the same, stripped off my shoes, letting my feet sink in to the freezing cold snow, before I lay down and glared up at the sky. It was so still, cloudless, but the energy of the air was changing... I could feel tension, a tug of war between the hot and cold air, I could smell that a storm was brewing in the distance. I slipped back in to my shoes and descended the snow field by shoes skiing, one of the funnest things ever, and typical to my style, I came to a halt by face planting into a muddy patch of snow. What can I say, it's a unique talent.
With the Schilthorn in sight, I knew that would be my destination. As I gained altitude I also gained in the density of the blanket of fog that began to engulf me. The fog seemed to absorb the steamy heat and turn it into a chilly sheath of air. The fog began to dance around, occasionally engulfing the beautiful scenery of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau only to reveal it again in all its glory. The fog became a great distraction to the intensity of the uphill hike, and before I knew it I had sumited the Schilthorn, perched high above an ocean of fog.
Taking the cable car down was not an option, even though I began to see storm clouds rising up behind the mountains. I spontaneously decided to follow the direction of the first sign I saw (that lead back to Mürren). I began descending behind the Schilthorn in direction of the Rotstockhütte, traversing a beautiful ridge, climbing over boulders and crossing rapid rivers. The tension in the air was building, but I was too immersed in my immediate little world that I never looked up at the sky until I took a stack and landed on my butt, forcing me to glare up at the sky and the monsterous dark clouds that were etching eerily close.
From growing up in the mountains, I knew that theses clouds were welcoming a major storm, which alerted me to pick up my pace and make my way home as quickly as possible.
I had a good 2 hours of descending ahead of me before I would be home, so my adventure became a race against the elements. I knew that there was a certain risk involved with getting caught in the storm, but the feeling of playing with nature and its elements was so much fun. Within only a few minutes, the mountains were hiding behind a thick curtain of dark cloud and the first signs of lightning were visible as they hit and light up the sky.
Thunder began to shake the ground and I was a good 30min away from home. Hikers began to seek shelter from the rain that was shooting from the sky like soft bullets, that turned into hard bullets of hail. I kept running. For some reason there is nothing quite as liberating as running in rain, being cleansed by the sky... it feels so reviving. Hikers were seeking shelter under tin roofs, but I felt it to be a safer option to just keep running. I'm not sure if that was a smart call or not, but I got home safe and thats the most important thing.
I got home and reflected on the run. I realized that we are not so different from the weather; we have many different weather fronts within us... sometimes we radiate with sunshine... sometimes we live in a world of fog, not seeing ahead clearly... sometimes we are the storm. No day is ever the same, so why should we always be the same!?
Keep on Keeping on!!