Very local travel - Jurassic Park in my backyard
With the summer holidays upon us in the northern hemisphere,
many dream of travelling to new and exotic destinations. I love visiting new
places, exploring the unknown and having experiences you could never have at
But what if there was something else, something really exciting hiding virtually in your backyard? How well do you really know your area? I recently had a big surprise when I did a spot of very local travel on what had started as a completely normal Sunday.
My long-term boyfriend, briefly named Mr Baseman in a previous post, but who I'm renaming to Mudblood based on his half-Danish heritage, had told me tales of a gorge nearby. He had found it by mistake one evening walking home from work and made his way home uphill through it.
It should be noted at this point that he’s very sporty, loves cycling in the mountains and not only works out in the gym, he also puts me to shame with his recent daily uptake of yoga practice. Let’s just say it’s very doubtful that I would be able to keep up with him on my first go. No, It thought - a gentle walk in the woods taking in the scenery, downhill being the operative word, sounded much more enticing to me than dragging my sweaty self up the hill, my unfit head hanging in embarrassment.
And that is how it started off, smoothly enough at first with a couple of quaint houses tucked in the forest here and there, the possibility of Heidi skipping out from behind a tree at any moment seeming quite real.
I heard the sound of water first and then saw a stream, trickling down through the trees. “How nice” I thought and started taking pictures as Mudblood steamed ahead as (annoyingly) surefooted as a mountain goat. As we proceeded the path grew narrower, the trees taller and the slope steeper. The sound of rushing water grew louder and louder in step with my anticipation until I finally had my first sight of a proper waterfall. Mudblood’s rush to get further down before taking pictures made a whole lot more sense now!
There had been a lot of rain that week, in fact so much that a landslide had covered the road down from our house to town. Needless to say it was a good time to experience the gorge in all its glory!
With an abundance of ferns, the terrain grew more dramatic, taking on a pre-historic, Jurassic Park meets Lord of the Rings in New Zealand sort of feel.
The sound was deafening by now with water cascading off cliffs in many places, all of these sources rushing to join the main mass of water gathering in the bottom of the gorge. In what was by now a river torrent, trees torn up by their roots were shredded witnesses to the power of recent rains.
Here and there the path turned into a complete mudbath, a little disconcerting to slide through with a sheer drop on on side. Holding on to the railing tightly I slithered inelegantly through with any attempt to hide my terror pointless.
About an hour and plenty of photos later, I emerged somewhat muddy and more sweaty than expected into the old town of Montreux. Blinking against the sudden bright light, my mind took a few moments to adjust to the contrast of wild nature to the charming little lanes in town.
I’m lucky to live in the alps and I realize that there might not something this dramatic in every neighbourhood. It did get me thinking however about how often we might miss little gems, hidden away near where we live.
So why not check out something local this summer, something you’ve never done before. It might be a place, an event or activity – anything new. It might prove to be a truly exotic experience!