Friday, September 28, 2012

Walks, Hikes and Wanders #22: Glacier's End

Majestic and massive; just two words that describe the end of the Morteratsch Glacier. See that little line of dark bumps on the right of the photo? Those are PEOPLE, coming down the glacier from an all-day hike. Like I said, massive.

Needless to say, I wasn't hiking down the Morteratsch Glacier from Diavolezza, like the folks in the photo. Instead, we took the train from the base of the Diavolezza cable car run, got off at the next stop, and then hiked about two miles up the valley to the end of the glacier. I walked most of the way with one of the nephews, and had a pleasant and interesting conversation with him. (Mr. D was behind us, walking with his mother.)

And then we reached the end of the glacier. I love the blue color of the ice.

I walked along the river coming out of the glacier, and spotted some cairns alongside it. Perhaps you may have noticed that I love cairns.

I also love the sound of the river, and I made a video of it so you could both see the river's power, and hear its roar.

Everywhere I looked I witnessed the power and beauty of nature. But there was one scene that reminded me of the effect that humans have on this glorious landscape:

It's something to think about...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Despite Rumors to the Contrary, I've Been Knitting

Those of you who read my blog for knitting content have seen very little of it over the past three months, so I thought I would give you a treat and show you some of the things that I have actually finished lately.

First up, Delightful Delilah (all projects are linked to my notebook on Ravelry).

Delilah is a She-Knits pattern, and is distinguished by the cool fringe, with a bead on the end, that is created by first casting on, and then binding off either 16, 20 or 24 stitches. The bind-off creates the curlicues in the fringe that you can see in the photo. I used madelintosh merino light in the Dahlia colorway—love the yarn, the color and the well-written pattern!

A quick project: Purple Heaven.

That's my sister-in-law, Elizabeth, wearing 198 Yards of Heaven, which I knit for her for a very significant birthday. It took me less than a month to knit this little shawl, which is probably some sort of record for me. The yarn is Cascade 220 in the Italian Plum colorway.

I participated in the Ravelympics—oops—Ravellenics Games this year, and finished two projects. The first is a She-Knits bag, Emma, a long-term UFO that I started over three years ago: Emma is Better (Very) Late than Never. I hadn't touched it in months and months, but when I actually took it out of its hibernation place, it turned out that all I had left to do was knit the straps and felt it. I did that in a few hours over the course of about five days.  Here is the finished bag; I'm so glad to have it done! The yarns are all Universal Yarn's Deluxe Chunky.

My other Ravellenics project was Atmospheric Winds, the Wafting cowl by Melissa Goodale. The yarn is one of my faves, Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in the Atmosphere colorway. The yarn is actually more blue than this photograph shows. The pattern was very clearly written, and after a few glitches (totally knitter's error) I really enjoyed it.

Finally, my most recent FO is this pair of socks:

These are my Hickory Bark Socks. The pattern is Hickory, by Jane Cochran, and it's from The Knitter's Book of Socks. This is the second pattern that I have knit from Clara Parkes' fantastic book. The yarn is Hazel Knits Entice MCN in the Salted Caramel colorway. It's squishiness personified! Even though it took me over four months to get these socks off the needles, I loved this pattern, and I would definitely knit it again.

Well, that's the latest on the knitting front for now. Now, back to your regularly scheduled hiking post.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Walks, Hikes and Wanders #21: Mountain High

Look where we went on our second day of hiking in Switzerland:

This breathtaking peak is Piz Bernina, as I saw it from Diavolezza, a mountaintop at elevation 9,770 feet (2978 meters) that we reached by cable car. I spent the first hour or so just drinking in the vistas that stretched out around me.

There were lots of cairns, both large and small. My mother-in-law and I had fun posing with the largest one.

One of the smallest cairns was perched precariously above the Morteratsch Glacier far below.

After a while, several of our group, including me, took off on a short hike of about a mile round trip, on a rocky trail above Diavolezza. At the highest point, we were at about 10,000 feet, and I was well aware of that altitude—it made me feel a little light-headed. You can see my sisters-in-law, the seven-year-old nephew, and one of the adult nephews ahead of me on the trail. You can also see just how rocky that trail was.

This was the point that I decided that it was time to turn around and go back down.

Once back at Diavolezza, I was happy to just enjoy the views (both reflected and real) and the cairns. Did I tell you that I really love cairns?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Walks, Hikes and Wanders #20: In the Alps

Yes, you read that title correctly; we were in the Alps! Every year, Mr. D's parents spend a portion of the month of August in Pontresina, Switzerland. Often, other family members will join them for several days, and this year, we were part of the group. (There were thirteen of us!)

Hiking is a big part of Mr. D's family culture, and Pontresina and the surrounding area is a perfect place to engage in this activity. Bright and early on our first full day, a group of us took a short bus ride to the terminus for this cable car:

The cable car took us to Muottas Muragl (pronounced Muottas Murawl), which, in addition to having a nice restaurant and lodging, is also the trailhead for a number of hikes. First, we took a look at the map:

Muottas Muragl is located where the orange arrow is on the left of the map. We planned to hike to Alp Languard, the blue label on the right. we chose to take the Panoramaweg, which is on fairly level ground, except for a steep downhill and uphill at the beginning of the hike. You can see the downhill portion of the trail on the right in the photo below.

Once we reached the top of this part of the trail, the views were the stars of the show. I believe that the Washington Cascades are some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, but the Alps certainly are a close second. Here are just two of some of the amazing vistas that extend in every direction:

After about two-and-a-half hours of pleasant hiking, we arrived at Alp Languard, where I sat on a bench and ate my sandwich. Isn't this just about the best lunchtime view ever?

Once all of the hikers in our group arrived at Alp Languard, we headed down the mountain on the chairlift, which delivered us to a spot just a few blocks away from our hotel in Pontresina. And once again, we had a spectacular view:

This hike was only the first of six wonderful hikes in the Alps. Stay tuned; the next hike is coming soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Walks, Hikes and Wanders #19: A Forgotten Hike

I sat down today to tell you about what I've been up to for the last month—I've been off having adventures—but I realized that I had forgotten to tell you about one of the nicest hikes that I have taken this entire summer. It was the "birthday hike" Mr. D and I did with his sister Elizabeth. On August 3rd, a few days after her actual birthday, the three of us hiked to Annette Lake. This was one of my favorite hikes last summer, and once again, it didn't disappoint.

We started out by signing in on the trail register:

We enjoyed the trees above, some blossoming columbines and the beautiful trail through the forest.

When we got to the lake, it was time for lunch, and I enjoyed sitting by the lake. The water was a beautiful blue-green in some places and exceptionally clear in others.

All in all, a perfect summer hike!

I have some very exciting hikes to tell you about, but you will have to wait a day or two for those. In the meantime, I'll give you a hint: they aren't in Washington State, or even in the Pacific Northwest.