I’d been longing to do this inn-to-inn Alpine trek since 2000. During an annual ski trip that year, my friend Lynn Angell raved about the Alpine trek she and her husband had done the previous summer. I didn’t know such a thing was even possible and promptly made it a life goal.
As I hiked through a cool, wildflower-studded forest on the first morning of a weeklong trek in the Swiss Alps, I was struck by the quiet. There were no cars. No sirens. Not a single person yelling into a phone. But as my ears adjusted, I started hearing more: birdsong, the sound of my friends’ poles spiking the trail, and wasn’t that rushing water somewhere?
When my friends and I reached a vast meadow with mountain views so astounding we needed a stop to catch our breath, we heard something else, too.
“Where in the world are those bells coming from?” asked Susan.
“You’re not looking up enough!” answered her sister Marianna.
Sure enough, in a rocky meadow high above us, we spied grazing cows, each wearing a clanking bell. (How did the cows get up there, anyway?)