mountains, mushrooms & a druid

Even though it was past midnight, I dediced to leave Bern the same night.

You might think that is too late, but no, in fact I think it´s quite useful to leave later rather than early the next morning.

First of all, I am sure to have everything packed before sunrise, I am allready on my way, while wildcamping with my hammock chances are high I wake earlier than sleeping late in a house 😉

So I sat on my new bike and enjoyed the bright glow of my new lamp, which was powered by the front hub dynamo.

At the back a small red taillight shone, which also serves you for a while when you stand still- but for the moment, my luggage was in the way. Gotta fix that once I make the next ajustments with it.

Previously, if I really needed light, I had used my headlamp (Forclaz Trek 900). (I can only advise against Decathlon for durable, high quality outdoor equipment – this one is one of the exceptions to this rule, together with shoes from Iowa)

light sourceadvantagedisadvantage
dynamo + bike light> independent energy source>the light level is not always where you want it to be
> minimal energy loss due to friction
head lamp> always shines where you are looking at> does not last forever, has to be recharged regularly

I think I will use both lights in the future on particularly difficult routes in the dark. Nevertheless, I am very happy with this highly welcome upgrade.

I didn’t go far that night. I wanted to spend the night in a nearby forest that was on the way (I knew that), and on a mountain (I didn’t know that).

I was able to find out that with the amount of luggage I have to ride uphill, despite a new bike, it is still really strenuous, and as long as I didn’t switch to a motorized vehicle, it would stay that way!

Once again I decided to radically leave what I don’t use regularly in my base near Sisteron…

I wanted to finish the stretch from Bern to Vevey on the same day. It was quite lev flat, I followed the big roads, made a wrong turn in Freiburg and once again felt that I should get a different saddle for longer distances …

The road suddenly went downhill sharply near Vevey, and I rushed toward Lake Geneva and Vevey in the dark with the wind howling in my ears. If it had been daytime, I could have enjoyed the mountains and a fantastic view.

a few days later I passed the same place again

Rushing down I was caught between the fun of the fast, never-ending descent and the nagging certainty that I would have to cycle up all these vertical meters again later.

When I finally stopped at the level of the lake in order to pinpoint the end of my journey, my fears became certain:

About 5km north of me, up steep vineyards, was my destination. If I had driven smarter or had reminded myself how steep Vevey is on Lake Geneva, I could have saved myself that.

Now the long and painful ascent began. Unfortunately, I still lack the retorical means to suggest how enormously difficult this section was. I had already covered over 120km in under 6 hours with over 20kg of equipment and food, it was raining and the small paths between the vineyards were in no way inferior to the slopes of house roofs.

In retro perspective, it would have been easier to follow the winding roads made for cars uphill …

Although I am proud to only push my bike when there is no other way, that was soon the standard. I reached my limits here – the paths were sometimes so steep that I pushed the bike with all my might, then pressed both brakes so that it didn’t roll back, drag my body after and start all over again in order to advance at all.

The short breaks that I took again and again lengthened more and more while I ate grapes that were just before the harvest and negotiated with myself how far I could go before I had to go to sleep on the spot.

I must have fought for a good hour when I saw a small horse paddock on a relatively flat area, next to a fence between an area filled with earth for parking and a small canal, and I decided to stay.

I saw only one way to stretch my hammock – between the fence and a tree in the paddock, above the small canal in which an even smaller trickle flowed. While inspecting the surroundings, I felt a slight tingling sensation on my right knee, similar to what I know from nettles, and therefore paid no further attention to it.

I climbed over the paddock to tie the hammock to the tree and the horses sped away. I attached the other side to the fence. I sat spotlights from the nearby house, and switched the mode of my headlamp to the more inconspicuous red light mode.

I swung myself into the hammock and noticed that I was touching the edge of the canal at the level of my thighs while lying down …

Oh, that’ll be fine, I thought wearily. In addition there is the insulation mat and


-zuup- I sat between the cracked hammock & the stones in the wet and was much too tired and still at peace with everything to get upset about it. I was planning to buy another shorter and lighter hammock anyway and had written to Globetrotter a good week earlier about a manufacturing error and a possible exchange. (just to be clear… the manufacturing error and me breaking my hammock are too entirely non-related topics… I was just lucky I wrote them earlier and could use this fact for my advantage)

The rain had stopped in the meantime and I put my sleeping mat on the soft ground next to the fence, covered my bike and equipment with a tarp and put another one next to me so that it was within arms reach in the case of a night shower – but I thought the chance of a wet night quite low, because the sky was clear now and in fact I stayed dry through the night.

Go to the next page to see some really neat pictures!

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