view from the Furka Pass
All this time waiting for the local mechanic meant I was free to explore the glacier. (Further note, don’t expect phone reception after you’ve passed the entrance). There’s some signage as you’ve passed through the barrier that explains the geology of the area, shows how rapidly the glacier is shrinking, and fills you in on the surrounding rock formations. Descending further on a winding dirt path, the temperature begins to drop and the breadth of the glacier comes into full view. Squint and you can just make out the people walking across it in what I hope are lethally spiked shoes, and look down to about your five o’clock to see the enormous sheeting covering the ice to stop it melting. It was a bright September day, and all you could see were the stereotypical tourists taking selfies. Leaving all of that behind, I got to the entrance of the glacier and found that I had the place completely to myself!
An eerie sort of silence befits the place. A constant, repetitive drum of dripping water, the odd crack as the ice expands. But silence all around. There’s a circular route inside the middle of the glacier, with the one main path leading you to and from it. A Swiss flag hangs proudly, and you can see crevices packed full with soggy material to slow the melting. Not really giving it much thought, I got to the centre of the glacier wearing just a tshirt, and only stopped to put my hoodie on because I was getting wet, not because I was cold. The acoustics were fantastic; voices emerged out of the dull thud of the water drops, so wishing to avoid company I doubled back and went around the other way. Alone once more, I was captivated enough to make my journey all over again. Such a sense of stillness and calm inside this gigantic natural wonder, if you’re tackling the Furka Pass, be sure to stop and explore the Rhône Glacier.