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Monday, July 09, 2007

The Caradhras Adventure

To get into the right mood for this year's Middle Earth Festival (MEF) about fifty brave souls clad in medieval or fantasy clothes met to climb the Caradhras pass. We started from a gondola station close to Goppenstein. The weather was overcast and quite fresh, however, this didn't stop us. Soon after leaving we encountered the first snow flakes. Fortunately they didn't last long.

At the first resting point we were greeted by blue sky and the sun. So we dutifully applied sunscreen to prevent sunburns. Maybe we should have known better than to scorn Saruman and Petrus... And so they decided to send out everything they got. The first warnings of what was to come arrived about thirty minutes later with the first snow flakes. This time, however, it did not stop, on the contrary, more snow started to fall and a piercing wind accompanied it. So it shouldn't have come as a surprise when we faced a snow-covered way. Only the footprints of the leading group showing us the right way... At times we were facing up to 20 centimeters of snow and sometimes we preferred to walk up the riverbed, which wasn't empty by the way, instead of in the snow.

After a pretty long and difficult climb we caught up with the leading group. They had stopped next to a big rock because they could no longer fathom where the way was supposed to lead! It looked like Saruman would triumph and we would have to turn back! But then help came from an unexpected side, a group of hikers descended from the mountain and they could point us in the right direction. And even better, we could follow their footsteps almost all the way up to the pass.

The weather there wasn't any better. Heavy snowfall, a biting wind and temperatures around zero degrees centigrade. Nevertheless we stopped there for almost twenty minutes to wait for more people. Yet not everyone was content with waiting in such an exposed spot where Saruman could spot us easily and send even bigger foes than the weather. And so a brave fellowship consisting of thirteen people started the descent from the mountain.

The shelter we hoped to find on the way did not turn up, but we did see improvements, for there was less snow on the way than before. We could even see a couple of flowers which weren't completely covered in snow.

After another tiresome two hours of walking we came to a crossing where our destination wasn't marked, still it had to be close-by, we were sure of that. After deliberating for a while the fog started to lift a bit and we could see a big house on top of the next hill. Guessing that this had to be our destination, or at least a place where we could get directions, we started walking again.

To our great relief, we discovered that we did guess correctly and that we finally reached our destination. We were welcomed with warm tea which we drank gratefully. It took almost another hour until the last people arrived. But we all made it in one piece. We managed the thing that the Fellowship of the Ring could not, we bested Mount Caradhras!

Pictures from this adventure

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