may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
We've been several days working on our tans in the mountains above the Rosenlaui berghotel, excellent fun all round, but now it's time to go back to work, for some of us, and back to the USA for the rest of us.
Off we go from Rosenlaui, 19 August 2008, down the single-lane road to the valley floor near Meiringen, somewhat cautiously since our brakes were not working when we drove in a few days ago. They seem fine now, though. So far.
Instead of blasting home on the motorway via Berne, we've turned right near Meiringen and we're headed up the Haslital to go over the Bernese Oberland into the Valais at the Grimselpass. We've motored through Innertkirchen and Guttanen now, and it's time to stretch the aging knees -- this is the dam of the Räterichsbodensee at 1767m.
The Räterichsbodensee, with the Grimselpass peeking down at us
The road below the dam, leading up from the north
The dam's spillway squatting there like an enormous toilet for the mountain gods.
Dam Art. Probably like when they get the local schoolchildren to come in and paint the underground passages of the train stations with scenes of local folklore. (They may just have lowered the kids down on ropes and little harnesses.)
The road up from Guttanen, Lucerne, Zürich, and points north
One dam, and one lake, farther up the hill now, the Grimselsee (1909m), with the Räterichsbodensee below on the right. There are actually two dams here, and the Grimsel Hospiz is sitting out there on that promontory, which would be like an island except that there's just a big cliff on the back end on it.
Another view of the Grimsel Hospiz on its little half-an-island.
The Grimselpass (2165m) and the blue Totesee ("the Dead Sea"?), with the Furkapass in the far distance.
Oh joy oh bliss. A marmot paradise! Kristin loves nothing so much as a marmot (except a pig; and a harbor seal).
-- Where are the damn marmots then?
There's one -- squirrelly little furball wondering what happened to his cosy earthen burrow.
A friend of his, sitting all cuddly out in the sun in his little pen, waiting for raptor birds to scream down out of the sky and nowhere to go to escape except back into his concrete air-raid shelter. (Note to Kristin: Call them cute if you want to, but they still look like rats.)
The Totesee at the Grimselpass, 19 August 2008
The hotel Grimsel Passhöhe.
A little island in the Totesee. What's that statue just off the left shore? (Perhaps it's an artistically stylized marmot.)
Once over the Grimselpass, we're looking up to the east at the Furkapass (2431m), upper right, and what's left of the Rhône Glacier, the source of the mighty River Rhône, up on the left. (Cathy and I blew out her VW bug's engine at the top of that pass back in 1979; some gentlemen climbers towed us over to Andermatt with a climbing rope.)
The outflow of the Rhônegletscher, as you see it here, is a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, designated by Switzerland in 2005.
The early stretches of the Rhône River with, above it, the Glacier Express rail line and the Furkapass-Strasse road over to eastern Switzerland.
The Rhonegletscher tucked in there, with the old Belvédère hotel and the Furkapass road winding up to the right. The tourist walk from the Belvédère to its famous Ice Grotto must be getting longer and longer these days.
The venerable Belvédère hotel at 2300m.
The village of Gletsch (1757m) below us -- Furka is up to the left, but we're going down towards the right, out the valley to Brig and along the tedious old road through Visp and Sierre to pick up the motorway and speed pell-mell back towards Geneva . . .
. . . with just time for lunch in one of the beautiful villages in the Obergoms valley along the way.