DYPLOM

Return to Heidiland

It passed the time required for the Earth to come full circle around the sun since…

Heidi ran to the far edge of the slope and continued to wave her hand to Clara until the last glimpse of horse and rider had disappeared. /Johanna Spyri, Heidi/

I returned to Grisons, to take part again in the mountain race Swiss Irontrail, organized by my beloved Mammut. However, using the principle of “continuous improvement”, which was burned in my brain, but most of all in my heart during 17 years of working in some company (“Thank You for Smoking”), this time I chose distance of 91 kilometers, means more than twice long as last year, when as you remember, I ran 41 kilometres.

To the starting point in Bergün I reached by train. This time, there were no questionable “attractions” with the participation of bandits, which I described in previous article. On the route there were real attractions. Rhaetian Railway connecting two historic railway lines Albula and Bernina is the UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered one of the most spectacular rail routes in the world. The surrounding landscape with its quaint villages and romantic Alpine views is also the part of the World Heritage. The route was opened in 1904, it has almost 130 kilometres and runs through 55 tunnels and 196 bridges, of which the most famous is curved Landwasser viaduct.

In the sport hall I picked up the starting number with a chip to measure time and the GPS device allowing to locate me on the route. It was possible to eat bananas, chocolate bars, bouillon, Coca-Cola and water. For competitors running longer distances (121 km and 221 km) it was already another nutrition point.

Among people competing with me in T91 I saw Ildikó Wermescher and Csaba Nemeth, professional runners belonging to Mammut Pro Team Trail Running, who, as it turned out later, won in this category. We talked briefly about running, Mammut, last year’s impressions from the race (it turned out that together with Ildikó we ran T41), Nemeth highly praised competitions played in Poland in which he participated (Race of 7 Valleys). I made a picture with Ildikó but unfortunately the quality is not the best one, nevertheless, there is a souvenir from a nice meeting and conversations.

I must once again raise the matter which I have meditated and written about recently. With horror I have noticed that as well as I, Ildikó and Nemeth had no Mammut socks! We had everything “Mammut brand” but only this “sock’s crack” in the appearance…

The gun fired at 13:00. We moved initially on flat terrain (1373 m) and after a while started climbing to 2,831 m above sea level. As it is known, if for some time is uphill, then most likely later it is down. So it was this time.

After part of the run in the vicinity of 2800 – 2600 meters above sea level, I went down from Pass digls Orgels (2699) to Savognin (1173). There was another nutrition point and the first night’s lodging. I noticed that some runners had help from families or friends who were waiting for them in main food / accommodation points and delivering fresh clothes for disguise, embrocating warming / analgesic ointments and feeding with delicacies. I had not thought about it and did not involved my family in helping on the route. My fans have only to greet me at the finish, as last year but it turned out that T91 is much more demanding than the T41. Another tip for the future.

Anyway, in Savognin I did not decided yet to sleep. I have just eaten and drunk and moved forward…

Nocturnal part of the route I recall with great fondness because it was an experience other than that with which man meets on a daily basis. Night chill, mysterious noises, crackling, voices of animals and werewolves and continuous focusing not to lose the route. Ah, something wonderful!

I decided to spend the night in Lenzerheide, the town where a year ago I started T41. I fell as dead and after a second (ah, this time dilation) I already stood up when the alarm clock rang in the watch. In the glow of the morning I set off on already known last year’s route but very different by the accumulation of fatigue. From Lenzerheide (1473) a way led up again above 2500 meters.

This time at Weisshorn (2653) there was not a snowstorm, but everywhere enveloped moist, dense fog. What made me wonder were screech of gulls and the salty smell of the sea. Something was wrong here…

Suddenly from the fog emerged a guy with a strange convex forehead and a funny mustache. He had matted hair, haggard and dirty face and eyes expressionless. He wore a stained faded, old bombazine coat, pantaloons of a similar character, a pair of worn-out shoes run down at the heels, and an old straw hat. It looked like individual pieces of clothing that he was wearing did not belong to him. He mumbled something unintelligible. When he saw me, he walked unsteadily in my direction. I was a little scared and squeezed harder poles, ready to defend. Strange guy asked in English:

- Is this Baltimore?
Then, I was already sure.
- Dear Edgar – I said – This is definitely not Baltimore, and it seems to me that you will not come back there. I think seraphim in heaven listened to you in the end and you will be able to meet with your beloved Anabel.
- Who are you? How do you know me? How do you know about Anabel?
- It may sound strange, but I read your stories and poems, as well as a description of… your mysterious death almost 170 years ago.
- You are saying that I am dead for 170 years?
- Well, I think you do not belong neither to the world of living nor the world of dead. You are suspended between them. And the time passes differently for you (ah, this time dilation).
- So this is Dream-Land?
- Not yet, but close.
Screeching seagulls and the sound of the sea has intensified …
- You have to go in the direction of the sounds. Anabel is already waiting on the beach.

He silently raised his hand for farewell, he turned and disappeared into the swirling mist. Running down towards Arosa and to the next nutrition point I have heard behind me a long restless roar like the sound of thousands seas. I have not stopped, I ran incessantly.

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
/Edgar Allan Poe, Annabel Lee/

In Arosa, I made a break for a meal and a short rest in fantastically equipped anti-atomic bunker. It was the third and last place where one could sleep, but I did not use this opportunity anymore. The pillbox was equipped with bunks, toilets, showers and a kitchen. But there are some people (especially in Geneva) who complain about the tragic conditions in this type of premises. This is not a villa with a garden of course, but for sure the place is safer than a mud hut in Eritrea being strafed with mortars.

The climb from Arosa was moderately mild but the rain pouring from the sky made it far more difficult and to the last nutrition point in Jatz (1831) I arrived terribly exhausted. When tired and sleepy, I was scrambling to the last pass on the route, leaned on the poles, I thought why am I overstraining myself so much? And the next step up… Why, at my own request I am undergoing such a torture? And the next step toward the finish line… This is the last time, never again! And the next step…

At the Strelapass I exchanged a few words with the person who kept the checkpoint and “ticked” from the list, I ran down having the last five kilometers of the route in front of me.

When reached Davos, people on the streets, despite the night, were applauding and greeting me. HAPPY I crossed the finish line!

According to Datasport I was the last ranked participant in my category; some people did not complete the race. This time I beat 90.2 km horizontally and + 5420m / – 5240m vertically.

When relaxed, happy and proud I calmly ate grilled sausages and drank beer in the middle of the night, my painful doubts from climbing to the Strelapass… vanished like mist. I have already begun to plan when and on what race I will go next time – am I normal?

I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule —
From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of SPACE — Out of TIME
/E. A. Poe, Dream-Land/

You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

My family went on vacation to Poland and I, as a representative of “the working people of towns and villages”, have remained on the position and throughout the whole week worked efficiently. However, the weekend came and I had to plan something for the lonely two days. In the previous corporation I would not have a problem because “deadly deadlines” would force me to work during the days theoretically free from it.

Work is a right, a duty and a matter of honor for every citizen. By his work, observance of labor discipline, competition and improving its methods the working people of towns and villages reinforces the strength and power of the Fatherland, increases the prosperity of the nation and accelerates the overall realization of the socialist system. Work leaders are surrounded by widely respect of the nation.
/Article 14 of the Constitution of the Polish Republic from 1952; so called The Stalinist constitution/

Present company has not provided me the weekend overtime, so I had to come up with something myself. I thought and I came up with…

Meanwhile, Tytus... I thought and I came up with a "thoughtless". It will be placed ahead of a sentence having no sense. /H. J. Chmielewski, Tytus, Romek i A’Tomek, vol. XII

Meanwhile, Tytus…
I thought and I came up with a “thoughtless”. It will be placed ahead of a sentence having no sense.
/H. J. Chmielewski, Tytus, Romek i A’Tomek, vol. XII/

…the idea of crossing the Alps from the Rhone Valley on Swiss side until St-Gingolph in France and get back to Lausanne by boat cruising on Lake Geneva. I prepared quickly necessary equipment and moved forward to the dance!

So this gentleman, dismal gentleman
Has upset himself awfully, my ladies and gentlemen.
He realized that he
Can sit all his life by the window.
Suddenly he stood up, walked dance,
Spanish waltz add him the courage.
/Jerzy Połomski, Whole audience is singing with us/

I boarded the train at the main station in Lausanne, where an adventure has happened to me, which I would like to describe as a warning. In the train, going through the compartment, I was looking for a place to sit. Most of the them were occupied, but I saw a favorable location, where only one man was sitting by the window, with the backpack next to him and the other three seats were vacant. Therefore, I sat opposite to him, but from the aisle to be able to stretch the legs. I put the backpack on the window’s side.

Suddenly, quite loud group of black men started to squeeze through the compartment. When passing next to me and my neighbor, a fistful of small coins fell from one’s hand and showered on us and on the floor. Mumbling “excusez-moi,” one of the black men bent down and has begun collecting coins.

Already I was bending down to help him, when my exuberant imagination reminded me the films about ninjas who turn away the attention by throwing coins into the crowd. When people were busy collecting the scattered money, ninja could kill, kidnap, perform other tasks or simply run away. In a split second, I realized that here the same method has been used! I straightened up and hug the backpack to my chest! My neighbor did not watch films about Japanese assassins because he eagerly began to collect coins from the floor, while the second of black men was already reaching for his backpack lying on the seat. I shouted in English: “Watch out your backpack!” (because in French I have not gathered thoughts so fast).

Firstly, the man understood what I said, secondly he reacted and in addition showed reflexes, because in the last moments grab his backpack and pulled it out from the Negro’s hand. The robbers quickly understood that this time they failed and ran out of the train. A side effect of the incident was that I earned 50 centimes (in 10 and 5 cents), which the bandits did not manage to gather together with the wallets of passengers. Grateful tourist, as it turned from Scotland, thanked me several times for saving his belongings and was surprised that such things happen in Switzerland, normally considered as the safe country.

Oh, yes, it is not the same Switzerland as at the time of “Goldfinger” and “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. Even James Bond sees the difference and choose Austria as a place of his new adventures in the movie “Spectre”. Therefore, remember dear readers, if the rain of small coins start to fall on you, it is not a miracle – it’s an attack and not always inspector Harry Callahan can be close to you .

I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?
/Dirty Harry/

***

I got off at the Aigle station at 12:20, being warmly farewell by the Scotchman, who was going to Chamonix. At once I moved on by tourist route along the railway, backing up initially in the direction of Lausanne. After a while (as we know from the comic books about Tytus, one while = three moments) I reached the lane of trees among which flowed Grande Eau (it appeared not too big). I turned left on the floodbank, ran under the highway and along the stream I reached the Rhone (Le Rhône).

I turned left again, into an asphalt road, which is also a bicycle and roller route. Through the bridge I crossed the Rhone and just after it I ran down the shaft to the left to the asphalt road, being again bicycle and roller route, parallel to the route from the opposite shore.

Following a flat path I ran into the village of Vouvry, over which, 450 meters above dominates Chavalon powerhouse.

The plant was commissioned in 1965 and was burning heavy fuel oil (mazut), which was created as a by-product of fuel production in a nearby oil refinery in Collombey. For ecological reasons was closed in 1999. However, in connection with the proposed exclusion of all nuclear power plants in Switzerland to 2034, will be re-launched, this time using natural gas to produce electricity.

I started to climb up the tourist trail, repeatedly cutting the serpentine roads for cars.

The heat was unmerciful… but with backpack Mammut Lithium Z 20 I was secured. I was drinking both from a tank in a backpack (about the advantages of this method I wrote in the articles Mammut in the Heidiland and Aim for the moon), as well as from water bottle placed in the holder attached by the Velcro straps to the backpack’s braces. It is a new piece of equipment that I decided to test.

With water, or rather with the lack of it, is no laughing matter on long journeys. After several hours of slow-run in the mountains in hot weather, every sip is at a premium, so the additional supply is very useful. I harnessed stock to the bottom and therefore I can confirm that Add-on bottle holder has proven itself. Additionally, it is lightweight (60 grams) and adjustable, depending on the diameter of the bottle. A small thing, but a nice one.

To see how much happiness,
Hides every little thing.
Let’s rejoice in small things, because
formula for happiness is written in them!
/Sylwia Grzeszczak, Little things/

Truly I say to you, taste of H20 varies depending on the fatigue of the organism and the greater the fatigue, the better the taste.

A rose in red, a lilac in white is blooming,
None of us is cracking though badly it is.
We will cross the hills, we will sip the water,
Where are the field kitchens only God knows.
Who would have worried that dust covers the roads
And snow, and rain – this we know already .
We will cross the hills, we will sip the water,
The water left after the battle has the flavor like wine.
/How I Unleashed World War II/

I reached the Max village and for a while I was running again on the asphalt road leading cars to Lac de Taney (for motorists, let me add that the last section is allowed only for cars with four-wheel drive and the lock of differential, so the cars with so-called intelligent drive 4×4 switchable by computer can not drive there). Behind the chapel at the end of the village I turned right, went back to the wild trail and continue up my tour also towards Lac de Taney but in a much longer version.

The heat was unmerciful… but with Mammut MTR 141 Shorts Long Men I was running at these conditions quite well. Because I will describe the short pants, the matter of what in those short pants is hidden I just clearly describe with below joke:

A guy comes to the doctor and exhibits his penis on doctor’s desk.
The doctor looks up and asks:
- Too short?
- No!
- Too thin?
- No!
- What’s it like?
- It’s great! Isn’t it?!

Shorts are so short that there is not too much to describe. The fabric is a blend of polyamide and elastane. From inside the shorts features mesh. They are sooooo lightweight, they weigh 150 grams (on kitchen weight of my wife does not weight at all) and therefore running is very comfortable. They are breathable, dries quickly and in general very good for me for running. Own feelings in the end are the best adviser when choosing clothes and sports equipment.

I arrived finally to the Lac de Taney from the north east. This charming little lake is located at an altitude of 1408 m above sea level. Close to the lake there is a camping site, a small hamlet of cottages and a restaurant. I ran through the hamlet, by the fountain complemented the supply of water and headed up to the left, traversing the slope. The trail led straight west initially, and after a while, turned slightly to the north and through the Pas de Lovenex reached the Col de la Croix.

Being so high in the mountains, man mutes himself, ponders, wonders about the most important things in life, looking for the absolute… I was bothered only by one thought – why Mammut does not produce socks!? This negligence has repeatedly been spotted and expostulated by my friends, as it was creating a rift in my perfect Mammut image. I have to write to the marketing department in Seon, when this reprehensible situation will change. It would be a great complement to the collection of shoes (trail, alpine and trekking).

Shoes, by the way. The heat was unmerciful… but described some time ago MTR 201 Mammut Pro Low cooperated with me very well. Feet were breathing freely, had no abrasions and adhesion to the substrate was fantastic what turned out particularly useful on the next stage of the expedition.

From the mountain pass, the route led steeply down on the loose stones, towards French border. I ran down to the bottom of the valley and along the cross-border creek of La Morge I reached St-Gingolph.

And the problem appeared here. None bus nor ship were shuttling to Evian at that hour. I did not have strength, nor time to run on the asphalt road together with cars. What could I do? I haven’t had a long gray rain-coat, like Rotger Hauer, only a magnificent orange Mammut t-shirt, so I assumed that I should not raise too much fear as “The Hitcher”. I was right. After about 10 minutes of waving a hand at the oncoming traffic, a car stopped beside me.

Inside a young girl was sitting, dressed…, I would say, boldly. It turned out that she was going to Casino Evian to… work. So, I got into the car. First, politely and briefly I explained whence I appeared on the road, what route today I went through and why do I need transportation. Then, the rest of the way she was speaking. It turned out that she is… a doctor of psychology and along with other graduate students from both psychology and sociology describe the phenomenon of addiction to gambling. Currently, they are visiting different casinos and conducting researches. Her dress turned out to be… a camouflage needed for studies.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
/Luke 6:37/

We arrived to Evian. The doctor dropped me off at the port, while she went to her “laboratorium” to conduct researches. I entered the ship at 20:45. Sitting during the cruise on the bench at the stern I could quietly enjoy the views. On the larboard side, face of the Sun slowly but inexorably was falling down towards the dark Jura foothills, to hide behind the black peaks exactly at the moment when the ship berthed in the port of Ouchy in Lausanne.

The mist that came from the Mediterranean sea blotted out the city that Pilate so detested.  The suspension bridges connecting the temple with the grim fortress of Antonia vanished, the murk descended from the sky and drowned the winged gods above the hippodrome, the crenellated Hasmonaean palace, the bazaars, the caravanserai, the alleyways, the pools…  Jerusalem, the great city, vanished as though it had never been. The mist devoured everything, frightening every living creature in Jerusalem and its surroundings. The city was engulfed by a strange cloud which had crept over it from the sea towards the end of that day, the fourteenth of the month of Nisan.
/Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita/