The North Hopkins Class of 1965 has scheduled a reunion for this Saturday, Aug. 15, at 4 p.m. at the White Oak Café. They encourage any former students of that class (not just the graduating class) to make plans to attend.
Robert and Yvonne Weir donned their tie-dyed T-shirts and went to Hippiefest at Nokia Theater in Grand Prairie. Yvonne says, “The music was great!” On the Aug. 8 they took Kiegan Shehan and Wesley to see The Wiggles at Nokia. On the way home they stopped in Caddo Mills for Elise's (their granddaughter) first birthday party.
J.R. and Donna Durst had weekend guests this past weekend. Kennith and Vicki King from Sachse came up on Friday night and left on Sunday. On Friday night, they went to Pecan Gap for fish. Donna reports, “We had a really good weekend. The week before this, on July 28, we met Amy, Kyle and Cooper in Paris for dinner. Then on Friday, we drove to Larue and spent the weekend with my sister and brother-in-law, Karen and Larry Fitzhugh. On Saturday, we drove to Waxahachie and did a lot of shopping. We also went to Ennis and looked around. We drove on to Corsicana and ate at the Cotton Patch. On Sunday, we took our mother out for lunch and visited with her.”
She also says, “I wanted to let everyone know to watch out for skunks. Back in June we came home to find a dead skunk in the yard with our dogs. We had the skunk sent off for testing. It came back positive for rabies. All of our dogs are fine, thank goodness. They are all current on their rabies shots, but we still gave them a round of boosters just to be safe. Just watch out, especially if you see skunks moving around in the daytime.”
Micah Walker and Kaleigh Janote, both on summer break from Texas Tech, have been visiting Kevin and Dee Melton the past few days. While here they enjoyed a hamburger cookout at the home of Dean and Margaret Eudy in Cooper, also attended by Phil, Jeannie, Bryce, Baylee and Kylee Graves. On Monday night Kaleigh, Micah and the Meltons met Larey and DeLeen Melton, Dean and Margaret Eudy and Karen, MacKenzie and Macy Moore at Juan Pablo’s in Sulphur Springs for dinner, followed by dessert at the home of Karen and Marcus Moore. Micah and Kaleigh will be leaving later in the week to spend time in Bullard with the Walker family and attend a Texas Rangers game on Friday night before returning to Lubbock for the Fall 2009 semester.
Kadee Melton went to Austin on Thursday to spend a few days with Julia Tamsma on the UT campus. The girls enjoyed a few days together before Kadee had to leave on Saturday to attend Fish Camp at Texas A&M. Kadee, along with fellow Aggie freshman, boarded buses for a camp in Palestine where Fish Camp is held each year. Kadee will be returning home late on Tuesday.
We pick up with John Long’s journey into “Switzerland and the Valley of a Thousand Waterfalls” as he leaves Ireland for central Europe.
John reports, “After an uneventful flight, I arrived in Zurich and then hopped a train to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, one of the most beautiful areas in the Swiss Alps. The Lauterbrunnen Valley is the valley of a thousand waterfalls — quite literally. It is peaceful, quiet, quaint and beyond beautiful.
“Upon arrival, the super friendly people at my hotel informed me that my climbing gear had arrived and that my guide for my climbing sets in the Alps had been in touch — great news! I immediately walked out of the hotel and over to Trummelbach Falls and, though it was growing dark, hiked the lit parts of the valley. It was spectacular. After having dinner, I settled in for a restful evening in my hotel and planned to tour the mountain villages on foot the next day.
“After having arisen, I realized that I must find a way to ship my climbing gear back to the U.S., or I would have to carry it for some length of a trip. Having to deal with the gear and shipping it would turn into an expensive nightmare.
“I first went to Interlaken, which is a gateway transportation hub. If you are lucky, you may have good views of the famous trio of peaks that lie above the Lauterbrunnen Valley — the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Only one day out of five gave anyone in Interlaken a glimpse of those magnificent peaks during my stay!
“I went to the city to see if I could ship my gear from there, since it was the nearest large town. No such luck, I would have to be creative in shipping the gear through the postal service and they only took cash — no credit cards were accepted.
“Meanwhile, I was able to spend the balance of the day visiting the unique villages of Murren, Gimmelwald, and Wengen. Murren is a small ski resort and very friendly town which is perched on top of a series of cliffs above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Just below, Murren, with picture postcard views on the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau, is the tiny village of Gimmelwald. (Gimmelwald, is famous, in no doubt thanks to its awesome views, and friendly people, but also to American travel guru Rick Steves. I am a big fan of his. He will rarely ever steer you wrong, and his advice is almost always on target.) I trekked from Lauterbrunnen via cable car and rail to Murren and then went on foot to Gimmelwald. This is a good way to get yourself acclimated to the area and have some gorgeous views while doing it, if the weather cooperates. After visiting around in Murren and Gimmelwald, I took the cable car down to Stechelberg, and then a bus back to Lauterbrunnen. Lauterbrunnen is a beautiful, small village with gorgeous views of the valley bearing its name, and a transportation hub that links you to all of the villages in the Jungfrau Region. Feeling hungry, I took a train up to Wengen, and after touring this small village at the foot of the Jungfrau peak, had dinner and then came back to my hotel to rest up for day one of climbing.
“I awoke the next morning and realized that I only had a small window of climbing and would do a suggested itinerary for acclimatization given to me by my guide. It would have me take on a summit solo — the Schilthorn — and then bag three other summits (Hundshorn, Bietenhorn and the Rotoherd) by climbing a ridge. It would give me a chance to work with my equipment, plus get familiar with the type of rock, ice and snow conditions I would see on our intended climbing target — the Trugberg, a glacial giant of a peak located directly in a glacial sea behind the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau, with incomparable views of those famous peaks and, at 12,907 feet, a worthy climbing challenge that would require intense glacial travel and ice work. It’s exciting, but possibly dangerous, too, if the conditions were not right.
“I took the cable car up to Murren and from there took the trail to the Schilthorn and thus the day had begun. The trail was steep, but quite easy. I passed by many tourists stopping to take pictures, and then after an hour and a half, lost all contact with anyone.
“I was alone on the trail and trying to reach the mountain hut — the Schilthornhutte, a halfway stop for hikers and climbers — when bad weather struck. The trail had been filled with snow and ice and was at that point only to be used by either climbers with an ice axe or extremely experienced hikers. The warning was posted at the hut for everyone to see. I stopped to take a break and then heard girls crying for help. It was two American college students from Iowa who had taken to the trail and, foolishly, were completely unprepared, and the bad weather had caught them. It was sleeting by this point, and the trail was all but gone. So was our visibility — due to our location and altitude, we were enveloped by clouds maybe an hour from the summit. Even the cable cars were suspended from going up to the Schilthorn, I would learn later, during this time.
The girls had on shorts! They had no coats, no trekking poles, no rope — nothing that would help them, and the weather was not getting better. I told them to come with me. I pulled out my ice axe, gave them my poles and coats from my pack, and led them through the storm to the cable car station at Birg — about two-thirds of the way of the journey to the Schilthorn and then turned to continue on the icy pathway.
“My only fear was not the poor visibility — I could make out the marked path, and my iPhone, I kid you not, pinpointed my position for me perfectly — but lightning! Luckily for me, I encountered no lightning, but was growing hungry, thirsty and badly needed a restroom break! Finally, after a harrowing two more hours, I could see the Piz Gloria station and landmark restaurant at the top of the peak made famous in the James Bond film “On Her Majesty's Secret Service” (1969). I was tired and realized in the sleeting, that I would have to cross a ledge of rock with fixed handholds that looked frozen. All this after bagging four other summits!
“My feet were growing tired, just when I needed my balance the most. Determined and freezing, I made it across the ledge only to realize I had another rock section that was mostly iced over to go. After another half hour or so, I made it.
“I had a bowl of soup, some juice and water, plus the restroom break and a chance to get off of my feet. After resting up, the weather began to clear a bit the more I descended, and what had taken four hours to accomplish ended in two and a half, as I made the relatively easier descent back into Murren. I had dinner there and then via cable car and bus came back to Lauterbrunnen. Needless to say, I slept like a corpse that night.
“The next day would be one of rest and touring the villages of my ancestors on Dad's side of the family — Adelboden and Frutigen. If you want to see the ‘real Swiss people,’ I suggest taking a trip to Adelboden, a small village deep in the Alps, which can only be reached by bus through the small town of Frutigen! Adelboden, is located in a small valley which is ringed with peaks in a horseshoe-shaped formation that are all over 8,500 feet, and in the center lies Switzerland's second largest waterfall. It is breathtaking and spectacular.
“What is truly neat is the friendliness of the people. I watched a man carve figures with a small wooden chisel out of a block of chocolate! Very few people speak English, though, because they see very few tourists and almost no Americans. I was a novelty to them, and being from Texas, I think, a popular novelty. They were curious about my family tree, but as it was a Sunday, there were no town historians available at the time. The tourist office is very friendly and staffed with two of the sweetest and kindest young ladies I met on my trip.
“It is a rarity, too, a well-preserved small, medieval Swiss alpine community which has a beautiful church and nice, pristine, state-of-the-art facilities. It's not crowded and it's gorgeous. If you are in the area, you would be out of your mind not to go and visit this, the sweetest Swiss community I have seen of many, in the beautiful Alps. Frutigen, which I only passed through, is a neat little gateway city that will take you to either Adelboden or Kandersteg. Both are gorgeous places to see the Swiss Alps without being overrun by tourists who are in the more touristy villages of Murren, Lauterbrunnen, Gimmelwald, and/or Wengen.
“I hopped on the train after meeting many sweet people in both communities and made my way back to my hotel in Lauterbrunnen, ate dinner, and then went to bed early. It was a good thing I came to rest early, for I would be in for the climb of my life the very next day.”
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