The wind was picking up at Ice Kapelle and there was a chill in the air that could be felt to the bone. That, and the combination of snow, the little run off streams and the dripping water added to the overall cold conditions. It was time to say our goodbyes and head for cover. We made our way back over the majority of the dried up riverbed, along boulders and faint signs of a trail that was mostly washed away along steep ravines. The boulders were challenging in spots, but still a better option than to slip and slide off the mountain in a not so planned descent. I have to admit I always have a bit of a phobia about that, as well as being buried alive by snow. I never had anything like this happen and I’m not sure where that fear is coming from. Maybe the hunch of a feeling from a past life or maybe intuition that all of these things are very possible when I’m out there. Perhaps it is exactly that, that is keeping me safe. The fear and respect to be cautious and not take things for granted. After a good distance away from the Ice Cave, the winds softened and the air didn’t feel as cold anymore. We spotted the perfect boulder for a picnic and this time I wouldn’t have to awkwardly jump off this one, like I had to from the one coming up the trail. The rock was flat on top and the perfect size. People were still coming up the trail even though it was getting late. There was no doubt in my mind that we would not make it back down to the boat ramp any other time than to take the very last run back to Schönau. The last boat would depart at 6PM and it wasn’t a surprise that this one would call our name. We always stayed until the very end, soaking up every moment, every bit of daylight and this time was no different.
Sitting atop the rock, the Ice Cave was to the left of us and you could easily make out the opening of the cave with it’s dark background. Mysterious and cold, it saw visitors come and go, throughout the years and the seasons of time. To the right of us was the riverbed that had widened now, and the woods that would engulf the trail on the way back down. Straight ahead was a sheer cliff outcropping of granite and with certainty it was where the rocks from the riverbed must have came from at some point. Slowly, it was eroding away and causing a variety of landslides, elevating the grounds of water, while reshaping the landscape. We sat in silence and ate, looking around until I spotted something a short distance down the trail from us. At first sight it appeared to be another person who had found their own spot on a boulder, but wait….no, that was no person, no way. I had a feeling of what it was and the excitement started to rise. Still, I had to zoom in with the camera to confirm my theory. Low and behold I was right and the so called person was actually a Chamois. And then there was another on a nearby rock and all of a sudden we spotted two more climbing on the sheer rock face as if it was no big deal. They sure made it look easy and you could feel dizzy just by watching, wondering how they could even get good enough hoofage (haha… footage and I made up a new word) in order to not fall off the mountain. Perhaps, we had been surrounded by these beautiful animals the whole time, without noticing until now. Of course it added to our experience and wildlife always does. Somehow the trip felt complete now, it had been worth it to tackle the switchbacks and the moments of “Are we there yet”. Besides the unexpected Ice Cave, we also were bestowed with the unexpected visit of the Chamois. Eventually, we bit farewell to these amazing climbers and continued downwards on the trail. If we wanted to catch that last boat back, we had to move it. I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if we didn’t made it, were people ever left behind before? Sure they had been, but of course we did make it back in time and spotted many more Chamois on the way. Aware of their presence, I was lucky enough to see them high on the mountainsides. Some alone, while others were grazing together and travelled as a herd. Life was good and I was grateful for the opportunity of being allowed to see such wonder.