Making new friends
There have been so many people along the trails, trains, etc., that I have been making an effort to strike up a conversation with as many as I can. I have had some really interesting conversations, and I wanted to share some of those here.
Example of the painted trail markers that are seen along the hiking trails.
A typical view of what the hiking trails look like in many areas around Grindelwald.
While taking a rest on a boulder, I started talking with father and son once they realized I spoke English. We talked about where we were from; them, Seattle, me, New Jersey. And found out we had some Jersey places in common. I found out the dad is an oceanographer and we discussed some of the geology of the trail we just hiked.
I lunched with a family from the United Kingdom and a gentleman from Denmark. The two men found out that they were born at the same hospital (talk about a small world!) and we all discussed past adventures in the mountains.
And then I spoke with a new mom hiking with her baby and I expressed my admiration of being out there with the little one in tow. We all ruminated over the woes of being a working mother.
Something in Common
All these conversations had one thing in common. Talk eventually came around to what I am doing here in the Alps, so I would go into the details of my PolarTREC expedition. They all had questions for me about how this research relates to climate change and if it would help study it or prevent future change.
Everyone I spoke to had a personal story to tell about climate change. The native Swiss told me about how the summers have been getting warmer and the winters can’t quite figure out it is winter.
Gerald, the gentleman from Denmark, told me he has been coming to hike in the Swiss Alps for over 15 years and can see the glacial recession himself. There are many such instances of huts being built several decades before at the edges of the glaciers, but now hikers need to hike longer distances to get to the new edges.
The oceanographer and I postulated if there was a way to calculate the total volume lost on these mountain glaciers. The historic photographs clearly show the past locations of the edges, and combined with aerial photography, someone must be able to calculate this. The volumes are sure to be astronomical.
They all wondered why we are still debating whether or not climate change is real. This is something I have been asking myself for the past 10+ years too and we discussed some of the reasons why this is still the case. I don’t have an answer for them, but I will continue to share their stories to provide more evidence to this case.
Connections made, tell
stories of changing climates
Will it ever change?