It’s easy for me to forget that I don’t need to “go somewhere” to enjoy a walk. I sit here and wonder where to go: which cable-car, which lakeside walk, which spectacular valley. This comes of having the great fortune to live within half-an-hour of some pretty wonderful places. But this commonly leads me to forget that I’m already in a pretty wonderful neck of the woods. In a village beside a large alpine lake, with hills and woods and paths and views everywhere. The grass is often greener elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s not green here, too.
The additional danger of laziness rears its head. I sit here and think that walking up one of the nearby hills is difficult to achieve simply because I’ve been sitting here so much. But once I decide to give it a go – following a mantra of a couple of locals, taking each bit of a task at a time (or “step by step”) – I quite often find that the seemingly difficult walk is actually much easier than it seems. I am trying to remind myself often that I’ll never achieve any of these walks if I don’t even try them, and it was with this thought in mind that I set out for a walk of undetermined distance yesterday.
I took my little X100V camera with me, as I’ve become lax in taking photos recently and relying too much on my iPhone. Even taking my time for regular photo stops, I found that the path I’d been considering was much simpler than I’d imagined and full of enjoyment. I headed from home to the lower parts of Hondrich, then past the eyrie-like old people’s home at Eigen and into the Seeholzwald woods. I took a break there, enjoyed the sadly sparse birdsong and the sheltered warmth of the sun and got eyed warily from a couple of hundred metres’ distance by a rare fox. (We hardly see them here, as they’re much more timid than in Britain.)
Half-an-hour later, after a slow and steady ascent through the woods and along a track I found on my bike last year, I arrived at the edge of the woods, where a bench beckoned and gave me another short respite. The top edge of the woods below Aeschi village marks a definite lower boundary at the moment, above which the landscape is covered in snow. After another ten minutes of puffing and blowing, I reached the small roundabout in the middle of the village and worked out that, despite stops and taking it easy, the walk had taken less than an hour-and-a-half. Because I was enjoying myself, I decided to keep heading uphill and so I struck out across the icy walking path next to the cross-country ski tracks, with the aim of getting to Wachthubel (“lookout hill”) before turning downhill again.