The next day we decided on a short day so that both John, who had camped out alone in the forest that night, and Sylvie could keep up with the group, so we drove to Offensee, a charming lake nestled close to our descent of the previous day. We stripped off at the car park and sauntered along the forest track which skirted the lake. There was hi-jinks as we posed atop a fallen tree trunk on the lake side, and we met several day-trippers returning to their cars as we strolled along. After a short while we turned up into the trees, along a trail, and followed this for a while, turning to walk up the open valley of an old dry river bed. We left the trees, and the views became marvelous of the mountains around us, as we steadily gained height. We came at length to a dam designed to hold the stone back, and stopped for our picnic here. Salami and cheese, an apple and a little sunshine, good company and wild scenery – who could ask for more?
While we sat around, Sepp set off up the slope like an unstoppable mountain goat, he had a great deal of energy just bubbling under the surface, and before long he had nearly doubled our height gain in half the time, and nearly managed to crest the outcrop ridge behind us. After a while we set off once more, returning to the lake side to look for somewhere to chill out, near some water. We passed more people on the shore, and one woman stopped to ask us what we were doing, I offered her one of my “visiting cards”, explaining a little about Nacktivism, but she politely refused it, having at least read it though. We occupied a flat stretch of beach just around the corner from the gasthof and this meant we could nip around for an ice-cream, or cold drink. Meanwhile we went swimming in the cool but glorious lake, surrounded by green alps and blue skies, an idylic location. Pat floated across the lake, probably 1.5 kilometres across, on a large slice of log, which became waterlogged as he reached the other side. While he was walking back, Jacques, who was always game for a laugh, swam across too. Meanwhile we were planning an evening meal, and getting the French contingent all gathered in one place at any one time, was a bit like herding cats. Nevertherless, eventually we reached the gasthof on the other side of the lake, before they closed, and ordered dinner. As we started, the sky grew dark and heavens opened, the wind billowing the clouds around the valley, the rain beating down on the roof of our covered terrace. The meal was very pleasant and as we finished, so too did the rainstorm.
The party now split with half going to the student apartments and the rest of us heading back to the lake with our camping equipment for the night. As we put up our tents, with the ever focused Pat asking me what on earth I was doing as I crawled into my waterproof bivouac sack, the rain started again in earnest. This time the rain didn’t stop, and my bivvy sack proved to be waterproof no longer and I spent most of the night curled up trying not to squish the water with my toes in the now waterlogged sleeping bag. I hardly slept, and at about 5am I woke Christian and the others, and was gratefully sheltered in Pat and Claudie’s tent, until the coffee was ready. We packed up in the rain, tramping back to the car, some naked, some dressed, and all completely soaked, before driving to join the others for breakfast in their hotel, with our tails firmly between our legs. We were going nowhere today.