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Jul 15, 2016

Updates on Jean Hartley's Alpine trek for Ibba


FIGS Trustee Jean Hartley set out on 10/7/2016 to trek from Oberstdorf to Merano, a 126km walk along the Alpine E5 route involving over 5,000m of ascent, in aid of Ibba Girls Boarding School. She will be sending us regular updates, so do keep checking back on this page to see how things are going for her. If you would like to sponsor her trek in aid of the girls at Ibba Girls Boarding School, visit her giving page here: http://ow.ly/wyOU302cV6p

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14/7/2016 Unfortunately Jean has had to alter her planned route, due to unusually bad weather. Read how the start of her trek panned out in her own words, below:

"Dear Chernise,
Update on the walk.

We have had to change our walking plans due to exceptionally severe weather with heavy rain and snow and with the paths closed by the authorities. 
We arrived in Oberstdorf in sunny weather but knowing it would not last. We decided to walk to the first hut, stay overnight and come back to Oberstdorf on the second day. But our plan was foiled. We set off on the 5 hour walk and after a couple of hours it started raining heavily.  We pressed on and were about an hour from the mountain hut when the path went under several impromptu waterfalls. We splashed through the first two but at the third there were rocks and stones coming down with the water so we turned back. On the way down streams were turning into raging rivers and one we had crossed only an hour before was impassable.  We walked a long way upstream to cross it.
We got back to Oberstdorf safely and have now gone to the southern part of the Alps near where we are due to finish as the weather is due to improve earlier here. Overnight we have had snow.

Chernise I will send a couple of photos. 
Best wishes,
Jean"

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15/7/2016 Things are looking more positive today for Jean and her three walking companions:

"Dear Chernise 

We are having a great time so have overcome the disappointment of the changed route after months of planning. 
Here is something from yesterday.

We have found 2 small apartments on a farm in a remote valley in the Italian part of the Alps. The village is called Scaling. (This is the German speaking area of Italy). The weather is not great yet so we woke up to snow on Thursday and walked up the valley in a snow shower. We walked right into Switzerland and stopped at a mountain hut for coffee and brilliant apricot strudel. 
Photos to follow: A) Brigitte crossing the Swiss border, and B) Near the mountain hut.
Best wishes,
Jean"

 

Jean sent through a second update on Friday, complete with a photo of her in her FIGS T-shirt at the (very cold) summit of a mountain called Watles:

"Dear Chernise

On Friday we had an easier day and went up a local mountain called Watles doing the first part by ski lift. It was a very cold day with a strong wind so it was full gear including hat and gloves. We got wonderful views from the top. The photos show me wearing my FIGS T shirt. I briefly stripped down to T shirt but as you can see I kept my gloves on!
Best wishes,
Jean"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16/7/2016 After a rough start, the weather has continued to improve on Jean's trek, and was very good indeed today.

"Dear Chernise

On Saturday we woke up to a blue sky at last. Hurrah! The sky was nearly as blue as the flowers in this photo.  We walked high up on the shoulder of a mountain and then crossed over into Switzerland again. We walked along an Alpine valley relishing the sunshine and then walked through a steep canyon where the path had been cut into the rock. Quite spectacular - see photo. 
Best wishes,
 Jean"

 

 

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19/7/2016 It's the last day of Jean's planned trek today, and they've actually been able to complete a portion of the route as originally intended - but her intrepid group haven't quite had enough yet, and may still do another walk before leaving tomorrow! Here's Jean's update:

"Dear Chernise 

For our final day of the Alps walk we decided to do the final day of the original route. So we started at the finishing point which was by a beautiful lake (see photo). The walk up to the Similaun Hut was a steep and unrelenting climb which took 4 hours. We all felt the altitude towards the end and arrived out of breath. We ordered apple strudel at the Hut but initially were too tired to eat it! The Hut was on the Austrian border with glaciers a stone's throw away. (see photo) We returned the same way and we are now in Merano and have tried out the thermal pools here.

We are all fit and healthy after lots of walking in all kinds of weathers over the last week.  We may do one more walk tomorrow before returning home. 
Best wishes,
Jean"

 

 

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21/7/16 Having spent the past week walking in the Alps, Jean reflects on her journey:
"What is a footpath?  I have been thinking about this quite a bit as we have walked up, down and around mountains over the last week. 
On one level a footpath is a physical feature in the landscape and is characterised by absence of vegetation, or where the ground has been worn down. 
On another level a footpath is a gift between people.  By walking on a path one gains ease of movement and direction from people who have gone before and whose imprint on the earth shows the way. And by walking oneself one maintains the path and this is a gift for the people who walk that way later. A footpath is about human connectedness. 
Best wishes,
Jean"

Category: Support Stories
Posted by: Figs
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