National Geographic : 1925 Jul
TH NATIONAL GI~OGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by L arl Lutz A HERD OF GOATS: DISENTIS (SEE TEXT BELOW) At twilight the distant snow peaks went rosy in the wake of a sunken sun. Sleepy bell-tinklings came from homeward driven flocks, as we left the train at Di sentis, a hill-slanting village brooded over by a white, sky-shouldering alp. "You'll make Andermatt to-morrow," the host at our humble inn informed us. "That is, unless we're snowed in over night. The postal wagons quit weeks ago, and any morning we may wake up to find all local communications closed till next spring. You're about a month out of season." It wasn't encouraging. We went to bed feeling like the last rose of summer faced by a blizzard forecast. TIIE SNOW CRADLE OF TIIE INFANT RHINE Sheer apprehension woke us at sunrise. Luck had played on our side. By8 o'clock we were afoot on the still snowless road to Andermatt, intermittently shiver ing or thawing out as the mountainous route rose into sunny heights or dropped into valleys still dark in early dawn. At last the sun cleared the highest of the surrounding Alps and we beheld, crowning a world that might be snow bound to-morrow, the outstretched bril liance as of a perfect summer's day. Our 15-mile hike edged upon a dizzy gorge where, between the pines' spearlike ranks, rushed the turbulent \order Rhine, now laying some farm-dotted val ley, and at last pointing us straight at an enormous alp, rising miles away like some impassable snow wall across the world. Everywhere sounds of running water haunted us, coming from countless rills on their headlong way down into the gorge, and once, when we crossed a green meadow, it proved morasslike with its hidden springs. The whole region was contributing its moisture to the begin nings of the Rhine. Trite but true is the simile that likens man's life to the course of a river. Both have their cradle, their season of boister ous play, their gradual broadening and sobering for the ends of commerce and service. For six weeks we had followed Father Rhine's more than 6oo miles of varied life, until now he was a mere in fant of the Alps, fed on melted snows.