Sunday, 2 November 2008

The skill of the 'Air Hanky' & running in clouds

What a difference 24 hours makes. Yesterday we woke up to beautiful wall-to-wall sunshine and frostiness everywhere. We managed to free ourselves from the confines of the duvet, donning beanies, fleecy gloves and running shoes we gambolled up the road and along our new favourite ridge path overlooking Bergen. We marvelled at the rock hard frozen ground that a week before had threatened to swallow my left Roclite whole and almost skipped up to the summit, no rucksacks, no spare clothes, just a bottle of water and a few boiled sweets in our pockets. There was ice everywhere due to the unrelenting days of rain we've had recently and we struggled to find any free water. We found huge icicles and ice columns falling from giant slabs of granite and we had to watch our footing in several areas where widespread groundwater had turned into a skating rink.

Unfortunately I forgot M was with me as I am so used to going out on my own and without thinking I ripped a perfect Air Hanky with M in full view. She didn't seem to appreciate the speed, efficiency and (excuse the pun) green credentials of the Air Hanky that requires no trees to be cut down, pulped, bleached and sorted into little plastic bags that sit in your pocket as Kleenex Balsam Travel Tissues. The Air Hanky's coup de grace is it's ability to be performed in full flight, negating the need to call everybody to a halt while you dig around in your pockets for a new Kleenex, imitate the mating call of a bull elephant and then discreetly plant a Tissue Timebomb that will catch out the unsuspecting laundry doer.

Unfortunately as both of us were about as 'fast and light' as it goes we forgot to pick up any digital image capturing device and vowed to return tomorrow to take photos of all the pretty things we had seen. Until we woke up on Sunday morning to the sound of rain drumming on the window. M suddenly didn't feel like going and I procrastinated quite a bit when I realised that low cloud was covering the city to a height approximately 50m below our balcony. But up I went, only to find most of the ice gone except in a few northerly facing areas and the previously rock hard ground was back to it's usual custard consistency. The cloud cover wrapped around me as I made my way up the mountain blanketing out any view that we stood and gawped at yesterday. I pulled my Paclite cap down around my ears, plugged in my iPod (which is something I rarely do in the mountains) and got on with it.


Once I got to the ski trail I headed towards home and started running, riding my luck in a couple of places with speed winning out over careful footing. There was still a lot of ice on this side of the hill that threatened to dump me on my arse if I didn't take it easy but my old Berghaus was wetting out, I was getting hungry and the rain was getting heavier. Thankfully I was back down into the forest 20 minutes later and onto graded paths that swoop down steeply back towards civilisation. I had managed to take a few photos of the stubborn ice that hadn't quite relented from the day before and I'd had a good few hours up in the clouds.

4 comments:

Martin Rye said...

I think it will be a long cold winter. Sounds great.

Holdfast said...

I get a sneaky feeling you might be right Martin, we're due a really cold one in this corner of the world. We had bright sunshine and ice this morning. M suffered two unscheduled arse/pavement interfaces on the way to work this morning. I am going to pick up a couple of pairs of those cheapy steel spikes sets that strap to you shoe with rubber straps, just so we can get down the hill to school!

ptc* said...

The air hanky is very handy item to pack. It's when you're at work and use it absent mindedly that there's problems...

Holdfast said...

It weighs nothing, never runs out and you never forget it!