Alps log: day 3
6am. wake up, stand up, and throw up. Several times. Violently. Then I use the toilet, also unpleasantly. No appetite. Dizzy. What. The. Fuck.
Stage 3alt: trient – col de forclaz- bovine- champex
Dist: 16 km
El gain: 929 km
Instantly opt for the less demanding Bovine trail. The classic 1300m ascent of fenêtre de arpette will have to wait for another life. I reach my first viewpoint at Col de Forclaz (300m elev. gain, 1 hr). I throw up twice more along the way.
At the Col, I put down my pack, buy a coca cola from the shoppe, and ponder my plan of action. Ten minutes later, a bus pulls up to my exact spot. Two minutes later, i am on that bus, in such a flurry of activity that I even leave my hard-earned coca-cola behind. The phantom taste of the bottle’s balance remains with me.
I am riding waves of nausea and the Swiss public transit system, in concurrent stops and go’s. The way to Champex by transit is not direct. First, a bus to Martigny, then a train to Semblancher, then a platform transfer to Orsières, then a final bus to Champex. If you have forgotten your Swiss alps geography (shame, reader), this is essentially making an “n” shaped path, where walking would be an “_” through the Val de Arpette. Lesser men may consider using the autobus on the haute route to be a sign of weakness or sexual infirmity. Tut tut, I say, it is a fine time to observe the Swiss transit system at its finest: swift, clean, efficient, timely, and, on this particular branch, even branded with fuzzy wuzzy St. Bernard dogs. Each bus unloading cartfuls of eager backpackers, Switzerland clearly knows its mojo is the mountains.
The failure of these French language tapes has motivated me to start Selfish Crab’s Language Program for Travellers. Here at SCLPT, our 30 minute comprehensive program teaches you four essential phrases: “sorry”, “English”, “thank you”, “please”. The bonus supplement will teach you “how do you say…”. Because the SCLPT program believes you should be able to learn shit on your own, in the wild, to fill in gaps of knowledge you need. Here’s what we don’t teach you: we won’t waste 4 lessons like those OTHER GUYS teaching “excuse me do you understand English?” Whether someone speaks English will be perfectly fucking clear in about 15 seconds. “Hello” and “bye” are universally understood, and no one’s impressed you learned to butcher their language from the get-go, on step zero (I’m looking at you, “nihao”). Order now.
3pm. I wake up and I’m in Champex. Campsite (CHF 14). Make camp. Throw up 4 more times, now in front of my tent. Orange like my dried mangoes. At one point, don’t even have time to turn and hunch over: it’s all over me. Have I been descriptive enough? Do you feel like you’re right there? That’s my role here. To put you in my size 10’s.
I try to sleep off whatever it is. Drifting in and out. Can’t even bother to walk 10min to use the Internet.1 That’s how bad it is. (some longtime readers are probably now reaching for the telephone number of the Swiss Heli Rescue, I know). I reach for a diversion: I’m reading Revolutionary Road. 30 pgs in, it’s excellent.
Dinner: banana. tentatively.
Fever through the night. New idea: I soak a rag, wipe my face. Leading diagnosises are bad water (which makes me nervous about drinking any water), dehydration (which means I need more water), sun stroke, exhaustion??? WTF do I have? Mental state: all time low. It rains at night; the dripdrops wake me; I drag my pack into the tent with me; I hope for the restorative powers of sleep; I hope for a better morrow.
- Wifi at le club alpin, CHF 5 for 1 hr. [↩]