Grazing on Wildflowers

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Contented Cows, Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland

Contented Cows, Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland

Before dawn I was planning a day at “The Top of Europe”. I went to the mountain train station to check the weather forecast and look at the video displays from the top stations.

Unfortunately it was going to be a very windy, stormy day on the summits. All the views were obscured by clouds. I would not be going to Jungfraujoch that morning.

It is hard to have a bad day in the Swiss Alps. So we rode the train down from Wengen to the valley below. We decided to explore the village of Lauterbrunnen and walk up the valley. Down in the valley it was a partly cloudy day and much warmer. It was May and the spring growth was progressing well.

The Lauterbrunnen Valley is a beautiful, glacially-carved valley. The sides of the valley are sheer cliffs and in the spring there are many waterfalls. You can hear the waterfalls from miles away. There are roads and trails that are perfect for long walks.

We could hear the sound of cow bells over the distant roar of the waterfalls. And as we were crossing the valley we saw these cows. When I started to walk over to photograph them we heard a snap and then flapping fabric. We looked up just in time to see two people, who had ‘base jumped’ off the cliff, float down the last few feet and land in a field nearby.

I quickly put on a telephoto lens and scanned the ledges of the cliffs trying to see if there were other people getting ready to jump. But I eventually got tired of looking and changed lenses back again and started walking closer to these cows. Then I heard the sound of a small parachute snapping open again. I missed the last jumper of the group.

These cows seemed very contented grazing on wildflowers. Perhaps that has an influence on the famous Swiss Milk Chocolate. Photo: 1/80 s at f/18

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