Looming back up to le Col de Chaude

Well, folks, this is it. As this picture was taken I was on the downhill side of the final pass (“col” since I am now in a French speaking area). Parts of the descent were quite steep, hard on the beaten up feet. I again took to singing the Marine Corps hymn to take my mind off the discomfort in my feet. Then, for variety, I branched out to Lili Marlene “Vor der kasserne, Vor der grossen tor ….”.

That reminded me that as I was leaving Gsteig in the morning I passed a house and through an open window heard a radio playing:

“Hit the road Jack,
And don’t you come back no more
No more, no more, no more,
Hit the road Jack,
And don’t you come back no more.

I heard from the Three Amigos. They had to skip two stages, just like I did due to the snow. It confirmed my decision to spend the extra days in Grindelwal because of the snow.

Looking back on the first few days with a little perspective I now realize that I was pretty fatigued from the trans-Atlantic flight and lack of sleep. Don’t get me wrong – the routes those days (other than Day 1) were pretty demanding, but the combination with the other factors heightened the difficulty. I didn’t have any problem sleeping the first night since I hadn’t slept much on the plane. But, it caught up with me on the second and third nights when I had not yet adapted to the time change.  So, I was trying to go to sleep at 9:00 pm local time when my body was telling me that it was only about 3:00 pm. As a result, I didn’t get much sleep those first few nights. The result was that days that would be demanding and strenuous under any circumstances were made more so by the circumstances. Lesson learned.

Final stats:

Rough distance walked = 200 miles (remember, distance is the least useful measure)

Cumulative elevation gain = 50,000 feet (appx)
Total hours walked, inclusive of lunch breaks (again, estimated) = 120

This has been a great trip and it was fun to keep this account of the journey and to share the beautiful pictures with you all. I really do appreciate all the nice comments – it was morale-boosting to know that people, both friends and total strangers, were enjoying it. I apologize again for usually not being able to reply to comments. There simply was not enough time, much as I wanted to.

Best wishes,



13 thoughts on “Looming back up to le Col de Chaude

  1. Congratulations on completing the journey. Now i want to visit Switzerland, but I don’t think I’ll walk 200 miles….

  2. John, As a fellow Zooian I applaud your success ! We have vicariously lived through your “ups and downs”…..in Swiss-land.

    Sorry for the Ranger School reminders…..exhaustion….blisters…..sleep deprivation…..onerous weights on your back……fine beers/food/wines, err, sorry….
    (I got overwhelmed by the trip’s dining reports)

    You have, as I said earlier, been an inspiration for all of us”seniors” and have set the standard for all to follow. RANGERS LEAD THE WAY !! You did !!

    John, I have looked forward to your daily reports and photos from the hike in the Swiss mountains. It is a tale of adventure and most worthy of our Class: BEST OF THE LINE – 1969 !!

  3. John: I kept waiting for a picture “a la Rifflehorn” and was somewhat disappointed not to see one posted — though I know you must have taken one. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed following your trip as well as the great pictures. I couldn’t leave comments due to the G rated forum. At any rate, great work. Brad

  4. John,

    Bravo on the long walk, which we trust you’ll follow with some well earned relaxation. We’re on our last few days in Greece, which has been both refreshing and educational. Greece has many lessons to teach the USA about the perils of entitlement and dependency. But that’s another conversation.

    Cheers to you and Sandy,

    Ray and Marianne

  5. Way to go, John. Your classmates remain in awe of your phtsical stamina and determination. Oldest man in the class indeed! Congratulations!

    Red and Sharon
    Best of the Line ’69

  6. John, I’ve now read all of your posts and am awed by your trip. I just don’t know how you did it. Your trip is one of those things that a man can dream about doing all his life but never do. You put the rest of us who don’t live our dreams to shame. Congratulations my friend. We all traveled with you in our hearts. Best, Paul

  7. BB, great to see you completing another BIG mission and sharing your journey in a blog with some stuffs you did in Vietnam makes this even better. Anyway, time to put on that mongoose tag, mate 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s