Nov 24

Celebrating Bounty

Traditionally speaking, Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate a bountiful harvest. It’s in this spirit that we post today’s image. But first, a back-story.

The valleys of the Alps have been inhabited for thousands of years. In the beginning, Neolithic people settled in caves like those at Wildkirchli in the Appenzell region of eastern Switzerland. Over time, as the glaciers receded and the climate warmed, the cave dwellers emerged from the rock. Low lying villages took hold. As the years went by, the villages grew, populations expanded, and the surrounding resources dwindled. Eventually, the needs of the population surpassed the carrying capacity of the land, and the inhabitants turned their eyes skyward. They needed more space. The villagers cut meadows into the slopeside forests, digging, chopping, and rolling boulders as they climbed. The mountainside became an extension of the low-lying farms, and the new pastures, literally hand-hewn from the mountain slopes, gave farmers new acreage to graze their livestock. Thus, a new tradition was born. Cattle migrated to the high pastures for summer grazing, while grass grew and villagers stored it away for winter down low.

Fast forward to today.

Mountain people still maintain traditions from long ago. At first glance, this scene may not evoke the stereotypical image of a bountiful harvest replete with turkey, pumpkins and all that jazz, but to an alpine farmer, this picture celebrates bounty just the same. A simple pile of grass promises one more winter that is free from want. It promises another glass of milk, a wheel of cheese, and an extra pat of butter. It’s meat on the table and winter heat from sleeping livestock. (One of the main reasons that mountain homes were built above barns). In the mountains, a barn full of hay means security. It means a day’s work accomplished and the promise of a good night’s sleep. Like the proverbial woodpile, banked against the oncoming storm, this is money in the bank. This is self-sufficiency at it’s best. This is bounty.

When I look at this photo, I see a story that transcends time. I see a tale of the hills. Ultimately, I see thanksgiving, and I’m thankful that I get to witness this traditional style of living first hand.

Image: By Ken Fuhrer. From the alpine pastures of Slovenia’s Julian Alps.

You Might Also Like...
While the world is slowed to a stop, at Ryder-Walker we have been reminiscing about
Quarantine Routine with Babsi Glanznig The intention of this short sequence is to ground and
Six Yoga Postures for Hikers, Backpacker’s & Stay-at-Homers Easy but very effective yoga asanas (postures)
The Health Benefits of Hiking When you are thinking about how to keep healthy where
Five Reasons to Choose a Guided Group Trek If you aspire to experience an unforgettable
4 reasons singles should book a guided Ryder-Walker trek! For years, Ryder-Walker has attracted couples,
Ryder-Walker’s Tips on Trekking Poles, Boots and Hiking Techniques Do you ever find yourself questioning
The Advantages to Booking Early for Your Ryder-Walker Adventure You might not be thinking about
The Perfect Holiday Gift This holiday season give the gift of a life-changing vacation with
Training For A Hiking Trip As you are preparing for your next Ryder-Walker hiking trip,
  Trekking Poles So, you are getting ready to embark on your Ryder-Walker hiking trip
Building Artificial Glaciers for an Agricultural Future in Ladakh Climate change continues its grim march

Travel and the Coronavirus for Ryder-Walker Guests

Ryder-Walker is monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and acknowledges that there is growing uncertainty about the safety of traveling right now. Currently, our guided and self-guided treks are on schedule to run. Should travel restrictions be implemented by local or global authorities we will post updates on this link.

For more information please visit the websites of the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.