Thursday, March 29, 2012

Across from the Valley of the Dogs

At the end of February, right after my California road trip with Mom, Dad visited Mount Föisc. Trusty Steed 2 took him to the trailhead in the hamlet of Brugnasco near Airolo, Switzerland.


Located at the northeast edge of the Leventina Valley, Mount Föisc sits across from the Valley of the Dogs (Valle dei Cani). The Valley of the Dogs is not an actual valley, but a series of parallel drainages on a high elevation plateau.


The snowshoe hike up Mount Föisc is safe and relatively easy, and Lyra highly recommends it.


She could tell Dad is a dog person just by the way he smiled at her.


Lyra is a great big fan of Mount Föisc.


Playing in the snow is a lot of fun as a baseline, and even more so if you have a wotten waven view!


Airolo is home to the south portal of the 10-mile long St Gotthard tunnel. If you're traveling between Milan and Zurich by either car or train, you go right through there. Val Bedretto is nearby; that's where we got caught in a thunderstorm last fall on the day a smart ass called me a hot dog.


Lyra sent us a doggy-gram right away.


The top of Föisc offers a bird's eye view of Lake Ritom...


and the whole of Leventina as well.


A flock of birds were hovering over the top of Föisc...


creating art in the sky.


Back at the trailhead, Trusty Steed 2 was patiently waiting. By the time Dad made it back to the trailhead, all she wanted to do was hit the road!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tom-the-Cat

Dear Hearts and Kindred Spirits,

Our Tom Cat, who was named for poet T.S. Eliot, has gone to the great beyond.

"Let us go then, you and I, / When the evening is spread out against the sky," is a quote from T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." We read this at Tom's funeral.

Tom in Younger Years

Tom died faithfully and quietly in his house. He lived a good and long and outdoor life of at least 17 years, though perhaps more.

Once again in northern Idaho, the dogs are inside near the wood stove. But Tom is outside no more. He has gone into the sky. Shake-a-paw is no more.

We held Tom's funeral with fur-brother Truffle and humans Mom and Grandpa.

One Christmas, soon after my mom's brother died, we had one present. It was Grandpa's homemade house, which he built for Tom and set outside the back door up on a tall shelf above the wood pile. Tom's house had cedar shakes for the roof, a mezzanine, and a round window. Tom liked his house. We did, too.

Tom's House

Tom was buried inside his house and that house was put on top of a slash pile that we lit today.

"Let us go then, you and I."

Love,
Tootsie

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bridger Foothills Trail

Last December, thanks to Mom's Body of a Dancer Book Tour, we got to visit Bozeman, Montana. Bill, Dad's distant cousin, true friend, and long time Bozeman resident, treated us to a rejuvenating hike up the Bridger Foothills Trail.


I always take a moment to familiarize myself with the United States Forest Service regulations.


It was fairly cold and the trail was just a bit slippery...


but I have Four Paw Drive!


It's hard to read the signage when you're low to the ground...


but great views are easy to find in Montana!


My humans could hardly keep up with me...


so I figured I'd just keep going.


I barked like crazy when I saw Gallatin...


and next thing I know, I'm back on leash.


Whitney tried to scare me with stories of big critters...


but mine were the only antlers around.


Thank you, Bill, for continuing to be the best man long after Mom and Dad's wedding. I hope you forgave me for french-kissing your ear...it is a dachshund thing, apparently.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Jänzi

On a Saturday in late October, Mom had to travel to Bern to review a dance show. Dad and I planned out the weekend so that we'd get a hike on Saturday on the way to Bern as well as another hike on Sunday on the way back. For Saturday's hike, we chose the Glaubenberg area in Canton Obwalden. Scenic Switzerland at its best!


The signage leaves no opportunities for navigational error.


Soon, we had some very fluffy company!


Gupfi and Tschuggi were hiking with their grandpa, who was very sweet and gave a biscuit to all three of us! He was also genetically modified, and we couldn't even dream of keeping up with him and his athletic fur-grandkids.


Plus, I don't like to walk too fast, because I love to stop and listen to the sound of my thoughts.


Eventually, we did make it to the top of Mount Jänzi. The big mountain behind me is Pilatus, the Hausberg of Lucerne and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland.


It was time to take a well-deserved nap...


before walking down the north side of the mountain, which unfortunately had some ice and snow.


Dad got worried that my paws would get way too cold and carried me for a while.


I guess I should have worn the boots we found at the Langis trailhead...but they were probably a few sizes too big :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

One Mile Above Lake Como

Located on the west side of Lake Como, across from world-famous Bellagio, Monte Crocione arguably offers the most amazing view over the Lake Como area in return for a modest hiking effort.


In principle, one could drive all the way to the trailhead at Rifugio Venini, a mountain hut and restaurant with World War 1 cannons out the front porch.


The access road is very narrow and requires caution. The last segment from the hamlet of Boffalora is best avoided altogether by non-Italian drivers.


In fact, we parked in Boffalora and enjoyed an extra 2.5 mile walk (one way) to the trailhead.



From Rifugio Venini, the trail begins as a gravelly road and leads to the Cadorna Line fortifications built during World War 1 for fear that the Germans would invade northern Italy through neutral Switzerland.


Then, the trail becomes single-track and circles around Monte Tremezzo, offering incredible vistas of Lake Como that get better and better...


until you arrive at the tippy top, where you get to meet the friendly goats that call Monte Crocione home.


A seriously cute wirehair standard dachshund puppy by the name of Dexter joined me at the top with his family.


Being a puppy, Dexter was fascinated by the goats, and was getting a bit too close for his own good.


Suddenly, I had an idea...


and decided to teach him the facts of life.


After Biology class, Dexter calmed down and we could enjoy the view in silence...


and, of course, look for tidbits of food that our parents might have dropped one mile above Lake Como.


If you visit the Lake Como area and you only have time for one hike, pick this one. Just avoid Sundays, because the place turns into a zoo. We went on a Saturday at the end of November, and it was wotten waven!

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