Explorers Connect

Rock n Road with Water

Trip ReportJames Hipkiss

Hitch hike to the alps - love it - hitch to France - paddle back to cologne. How cool would it be to come back by boat? Growing up along the Rhein and living in Cologne the river seemed like an invitation to explore the way back from the mountains.

Following the allure of the alps, Lisa and I decided to hitch rides down south from Cologne, leaving the bad weather behind. I was amazed how easy it was getting down, although we were fully equipped with all our climbing and camping gear. We met the greatest and weirdest people while hitchhiking. On our way down we passed really rustic villages and wooden chalets, some of them more than 200 years old. We were overwhelmed by the beauty of the granite in the center of the Swiss alps. There, at an altitude of 2500m we set up camp. With the great walls in front of us and the spectacular valley behind, we found good protection between the stones. Loving the higher altitudes we had good fun doing some great climbs in perfect weather.

After a few days the weather turned. We spent our time waiting three nights and days hoping for the rain to stop, listening to music, reading and playing iphone games. Eventually we decided to hitchhike down south, to get some sun. We were almost knocked out by the heat as we arrived near Lago Maggiore, still in our multilayered clothing and used to the cold...From there we hiked into a valley, and camped next to a stream, surrounded by big white stones and pine trees. Enjoying the warmth, the water, the fresh wild fruits and sitting next to the bonfire at night. After a few days and one good Mediterranean climb we had to get back into the mountains, for the last days of the alps. We didn't really want to stop climbing, but as we arrived in Metz and started to put together our inflatable boat, we started looking forward to the days on the river.

We quickly got the hang of it. Floating through a romantic scenery of wine-yards and steep valley slopes with old castles, we didn't rush to arrive at our goal Cologne. We slept in hay fields and between vineyards, ate wild berries which grew almost everywere and enjoyed the clear summer night skies. The river brought us back wholesomely.

Check out the report and tell me what you think! Jake http://www.climbmoremountains.com/#C4 www.facebook.com/Climbmoremountains"