I get all wrapped-up in working on websites and being in the comfort of my home office. This makes me forget that making the effort to get out of the house with a different goal can be tremendously refreshing. The tiredness which comes as a result of learning new stuff can take it out of me and leave little space for thoughts of physical effort. The view from my office window – lovely though it is – can tend to put me off going out when I see that the clouds are low and the roads are wet.
Jo and I sometimes forget that we prefer to be out in inclement weather. Especially when we head for the mountains (either here or in Britain), or when we need to get away from neighbours when they practise their latest hobbies of slamming doors hard enough to make the windows rattle. The peace and solitude of being in a beautiful landscape when everyone else is at home is a really calming experience.
Coming across a photo from a slightly elevated view on the fringes of the village at Lauterbrunnen yesterday, I thought that a good destination for some exercise would start at this view and take us randomly around some footpaths which we have yet to use. We tend to head for the same places in this valley most of the time, but a reticence to pack ourselves into constricting cable-car gondolas with a bunch of potential contagion has kept us away for a while.
Instead of heading to the cable-cars, we parked up near the church and walked up the hill to the view which had inspired the visit. Although I’d intended to take the shot of the snowy valley floor, Christmas-cake trees and fog swirling around the cliffs, the clouds proved to be thicker than I’d hoped. But no matter. The view was there, the surroundings were muffled almost into silence by the continually lightly-falling snow, and I wasn’t sitting in an office chair.
From here, we continued across the cog-wheel train track and headed for the second view I’d planned: a more elevated view from which a shot to the end of the valley would’ve benefitted from a compressed perspective effect of using a longer, telephoto lens. On arriving at the bottom of a steeper section of path, which leads to a bridge over the railway and the view I wanted, we ditched our plan as the viewpoint was quite obviously wreathed in fog. Returning along the path we’d just used, I got my two favourite shots of the afternoon: crisp, low-contrast shots of some bare trees.
The path continues across the snowy meadows and past the rear side of a large campsite near the village, then joins the main (but small) valley road leading back to Stechelberg. Although we were passed by the odd car here and there, the walk along the road in the snowy valley was lovely, with plenty of little vignettes featuring barns and bare trees along the way. Before we got to Trümmelbach, we hopped over the fence, took a shortcut along the as-yet-unprepared cross-country skiing trail, and re-joined the route we usually take back to Staubbach and Lauterbrunnen, talking of Christmas plans and listening to the occasional crack of snow and ice detaching itself into the fog from the forested cliffs nearby.