gmhTODAY 23 gmhTODAY Dec Jan 2018 - Page 94

through verdant green hills dotted with moss-covered rock outcroppings and mountain streams to reach the hamlet of Gruben (5,012 feet). It was dinner and then hit the pillow after another satisfying day. The next morning brought them face-to-face with Augstbordpass (9,550), the last major pass to conquer on their trek. Just on the other side lay the Valley of the Mattervispa, and a long, 5,900-foot descent that was white-knuckle steep. They opted to take an extremely steep cable car down the last 2,000 feet. “We’re all a bit type-A, so we were all about getting to the destination. We had to remind ourselves to pause and take in the view of all these peaks. The Weishorn, Breithorn, Mischabel and others, every one of them 14,000 feet or higher, reaching up into the clouds. It just puts things into perspective!” They stopped to eat lunch at Jungu, overlooking the Village of St. Niklaus far below. From there, they were transferred to Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn. After a farewell dinner, they enjoyed the night skies, blanketed with stars, lit by a moon over the Matterhorn. A spectacular sight. Their last day included a four-hour hike in the hills above Zermatt and then said their goodbyes. For Laura is was a trip well worth having taken. “I started with brand new hiking boots and by the end, they were trashed, but they did their job! I’d seen a few folks get hurt out there, but the funniest thing was, I made the entire trek without a problem on the trails. It wasn’t until the last day, I tripped over a picnic bench at the inn. Can you imagine?” Some time after her return home, Laura spoke to an attentive group of seniors at the YMCA. “They were really delighted to see my photos and hear 94 about my trip. Some just assumed they could never do a mountain hike. Hearing that, I just couldn’t help myself, I told them ‘It’s never too late to take up hiking or diving. I’ve been div- ing with people in their 70s. Just start small and then go big!’” Recently, Laura took her 18-month- old great granddaughter out for a walk and ended up teaching her how to scale a small gully. “I coached her along as she scrambled up and down the bank of the gully. As we headed back home, I told her, ‘Someday you’re going to hike mountains with me, and you just had your first lesson.’ Seriously, I had just as much fun with her in that gulley as I did hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro!” GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN december 2018-january 2019 Laura’s not one for sentimentality, but she admits traveling has brought out her philosophical side. “My travels benefit me because I set a goal to be active, try new things, stretch myself a little. I train during the year and anticipate the trip. I go with a mindset to enjoy every minute. Before the after-glow of one trip wears off, I’m setting a new goal and planning my next trip.” “We can’t spend life thinking, ‘Someday I’ll do this or that.’ Someday may never come. We all have jobs and responsibilities. But we have to live life!” So if you’re ready to hike the Alps, bonne randonnée! gmhtoday.com