With a name like Heidi, all of my life people have asked me if I was Swiss or German followed by comments about Peter, Grandfather, and goats from the book Heidi. In fact, their stereotypical questions are not far off. If you didn’t already know from my books, I was named Heidi because I grew up on a hobby farm in a rural Wisconsin valley of hillside orchards. Unlike the book, my family had sheep instead of goats, but potato potahto.
This summer, I took a break from Cuba to adventure to a new destination, the Engadin Valley of Switzerland, the place where the book Heidi takes place. If you have not been there, this part of Switzerland is breathtaking. Not only is Engadin OMmazingly beautiful, but also many of the best views are achieved at elevations of 11,000 feet or higher, which literally take your breath away.
To add to the epic natural landscape of the Alps with its glaciers, rushing rivers, and glistening lakes, it was the beginning of summer with wildflowers in bloom. The hillsides became tapestries of majestic purples, blues, yellows, and pinks. However, just like a trip to Switzerland would not be complete without enjoying Swiss chocolate and fondue, nor would be hiking the Alps without doing a little yodeling and spotting the famous, but rare Edelweiss flower.
After nearly a week and over a handful of hikes in Engadin, neither my mother nor I had spotted one. We were in the right places as apparently these wooly white flowers bloom in July mostly on South facing slopes and at 9,000 feet. However, I began to think that Edelweiss was an Alpine myth. So, high in the Alps, I practiced my yodeling while in search for Edelweiss.
On our next to last day, we misread one of the trail signs, taking a detour. After proceeding mindlessly fifteen minutes uphill, I stopped. Something felt wrong to me. I took out the map looked at our approximate location and then our destination. Somehow we had taken another trail that was heading back up the mountain instead of down to the town. Off autopilot, I put the map back into my pack and retraced our steps. On that very same trail, but in reverse was when I spotted Edelweiss.
It just goes to show that when on autopilot, you don’t really see. It’s a reminder that adventures and sometimes their misadventures and detours force us to be in the moment and really see.
That’s why I say, “Adventure is my meditation.”
Here’s to looking up!