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带着父亲重新踏上布朗峰徒步之旅

更新时间:2018-2-22 19:53:50 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

A father-and-son pilgrimage on the Tour du Mont Blanc
带着父亲重新踏上布朗峰徒步之旅

It was on a grey winter’s day in my parents’ house outside Glasgow, watching storm clouds gather and sparrows dive for shelter in the garden, that I first suggested Mont Blanc in summer. After what had happened, I knew I should make more effort to spend time with my 74-year-old dad, but what I was proposing at his age was a risk. A 10-day hike around one of Europe’s highest mountains seemed a little extreme.

那是一个灰蒙蒙的冬日,我在格拉斯哥郊外父母的房子里,看着外面阴云密布的天空,松鼠在后花园寻找遮蔽处,夏天去一趟阿尔卑斯布朗峰(Mont Blanc)的念头油然而生。不过我知道父亲已经74岁,这趟为期10天在欧洲最高山脉的徒步旅行多少有些冒险。

“Old age doesn’t come alone,” he replied, implying the aches and pains, arthritic hands and memory loss from a recent life-threatening stroke couldn’t be ignored.

"老了,身上所有的机器都不灵了。"父亲说,不久前的一次中风不仅令他丧失了记忆,而且各种病痛也随之而来。

He glanced at me with a fatherly look, suggesting he knew better. I wondered if he could make it. In his youth, unquestionably; but now I wasn’t so sure. Perhaps a trip hiking Mont Blanc’s steep-faced valleys, following a hut-to-hut trail through France, Italy and Switzerland, was already past him.

我也有点儿犹豫。父亲年轻时酷爱旅行,这样的旅行绝对没问题,可现在,我不那么有信心了。或许在险峻的布朗峰旅行,穿越法国、意大利和瑞士的野营方式已经不再适合他。

Now a grandfather, he had spent his best years in the Alps – summer after summer, in fact – and to take him along this pathway in search of a route to his past, to stir memory in long-forgotten footprints, seemed like the right thing to do.

父亲年轻力壮时总是喜欢在夏天去阿尔卑斯山区旅行,现在他已经当了祖父,带他重新追踪当年的足迹,再访阿尔卑斯山,似乎是一个不错的主意。

“You’ll remember the mountain refuges are beautiful,” I said casually, compelled to disturb what lay hidden in his memory. “That’s half the reason for going.” It was shrewd of me to work in the idea of fondue, red wine and good company; we booked a flight, and four months later, arrived in the shadow of Mont Blanc (4,807m) in Chamonix, France.

"你还记得那些山脉多么壮丽吧?"我轻松地说,希望激起他内心深处的记忆,阿尔卑斯山的美丽只是部分原因,还有美味的奶酪火锅、红酒和相互的陪伴,都是这趟旅行的诱人之处。我们决定去,四个月之后,我们飞到布朗峰地区的法国霞慕尼(Chamonix)。
 
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a challenge for anyone, regardless of age, condition or state of mind. A bucket-list pilgrimage for long-distance hikers, it is a 170km, high-altitude journey on foot, a ritual walk through great landscapes and drama that plugs hikers in to something unquantifiable, yet life-affirming. While I travelled for a love of people, food, drink and culture, my father had always been drawn to places that weren’t as easily accessible. The mountains appealed because of their unreachability. Hikers, he once told me, came to learn about themselves.

布朗峰徒步之旅对任何人都是一个挑战,这是所有喜欢长途跋涉者的朝圣之旅。全长170公里,在高海拔地区远足,宏伟壮丽的山区景观撞击心灵,常常令旅行者思绪澎湃。我旅行时更喜欢人文景观,美食和文化,我父亲则总是被那些充满艰难险阻的地方所吸引。高山的魅力在于它们的难以企及,父亲有次对我说,登山者在攀登过程中重新发现自我。

That first sunlit afternoon, it was instantly obvious we’d made the right decision. The pathway ahead was quiet, little more than a few bell-clanging cows, a couple of errant dogs, a rosy-cheeked French farmer en route to his summer cottage. Hedgerows and thickets of wild Alpenrose lined the trail’s edges. On the horizon, stone-faced peaks sat above the plateau, skirted by pine forests and chequerboard fields. Quick-footed hikers trotted past us, eyes focused on a ridge that marched south to the Italian border. But there was no sign of worry etched on my hiking partner’s brow. Only determination.

旅行第一天下午阳光明媚,我们马上就感觉到,这次旅行来对了。前面的路途安宁平静,带铃铛的奶牛悠闲漫步,狗儿在山路上欢跑,红脸膛的法国农夫正返回自己的夏季农舍,路边是成排的矮树丛和野花。放眼望去,天边是肃穆的布朗山巅,四周松林环绕,田野有如棋盘。一些行旅匆匆的远足者超过我们,向南方意大利边境方向走去。父亲脸上没有任何担忧的神色,只有一直向前的决心。

My dad’s hazy accounts of his time in the mountains remain among the defining stories of my childhood. The first time it left an indelible mark was when flicking through a junk box full of projector slides taken circa summer 1970, when he and two friends completed a previously untried route up the notoriously dangerous North Face of the Eiger (3,970m) in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland. At the time, he was 27 and to scale the final 1,829m North Pillar wall on the way to the summit was unthinkable. The extreme highs and lows were not easy for him to recount. Along the way, he suffered frostbite, dealt with unexpectedly bad weather and bivouacked night after night in sodden climbing gear on treacherous, ice-coated vertical slabs. Afterwards, he was quoted by The Herald newspaper, the expedition’s sponsor, saying: “I'll never set foot on that bloody mountain again in my life.”

父亲在阿尔卑斯山的旅行故事一直是我童年最清晰的记忆。那是1970年的夏天,我翻弄着一个杂物箱子,里面有很多用于投影的底片。从底片上可以看到他和两个朋友刚刚征服了一座极难攀登的山峰——瑞士伯尔尼高原(Bernese Oberland)的艾格尔峰北坡(North Face of the Eiger),海拔3970米。当时他仅27岁,攀登北峰山顶的最后1829米简直难以想象。途中他经历了极端险峻的情形,气候恶劣,皮肤冻裂,多少个夜晚露宿在垂直险峻的冰崖上。之后,一篇报道文章曾引述他的话说,"我永远不会再踏足这座该死的山峰了!"

Still today, it’s almost inconceivable for me to comprehend.

In those days, there were other equally spellbinding tales, most of which took him to the Chamonix valley. He summited the Grandes Jorasses (4,208m) in blinding sunshine. He scaled the ice walls of the Aiguille du Chardonnet (3,824m). Hell, on one occasion, he even posed atop the remarkable Aiguille du Grépon (3,482m), a fist of angular rock crafted like a church spire – an exploit that would test the mettle of even the most carefree climber. To an eight-year-old boy, these were unforgettable adventures, shaping my travel perceptions in years to come.

像这样的旅行故事还很多,大多发生在法国霞慕尼峡谷,他曾登上了海拔4208米的大乔拉斯峰(Grandes Jorasses),他攀爬了海拔3824米的若昂峰(Aiguille du Chardonnet)凛冽的冰崖。他甚至站在最令人仰望的海拔3482米布朗峰山巅 Aiguille du Grépon拍了一张照片。对一个当时年仅8岁的儿童来说,这些令人震撼的探险经历对我未来的旅行生涯产生了巨大影响。

That was now more than half his lifetime ago. And, yet, here we were, marching side by side around the Mont Blanc massif, tracing an invisible route with our fingers over the same harsh and elemental summits he’d conquered long ago. What I’d always seen as an unhealthy obsession with the mountains revealed itself to be a bond I never knew we had.

对父亲来说,那是50年前的事了。而现在我们一起又踏上了布朗峰之路,再次体验父亲半个世纪前的经历,试图征服那些他曾早已征服过的山峰。我曾不理解父亲对高山的痴迷,而现在正是大山让我们父子俩从未如此亲密的连系在一起。

As day one drifted into days two and three, we crossed from France into Italy, over the Col de la Seigne, a crested hilltop long an ancient gateway for shepherds to the Aosta Valley. The southern aspect of Mont Blanc and its fraternity of Italian-set buttresses and peaks – Punta Baretti, Picco Luigi Amedeo, the Grand Pilier d’Angle – were spectacular, and had him reminiscing over a glass of wine in the resort of Courmayeur on our third night. Never one with words, he was hard-pushed to explain why these landscapes meant so much to him. Words failed and he shook his head as if to free a lost memory.

旅途第二天和第三天我们从法国徒步到了意大利境内,越过了法意交界的塞涅山口(Col de la Seigne),沿着牧民古老的山路到了奥斯塔山谷(Aosta Valley)。这是布朗峰南部,连绵山脉景色壮观。我们在第三天晚上的下榻处喝了杯红酒追忆过去的时光。

The days passed and began to take on a predictable rhythm, the path carrying us ever forward. We rose late, left later (stalled by having to medicate my dad with a daily dose of pills), stopped for lunch then enjoyed a beer on the back of a farmer’s wagon. Finally, after some 20km of up and downhill slog, we’d reach our stop for the night, long after everyone else, but just before stillness descended upon the valley.

随着旅途的进展,我们找到了徒步旅行的节奏。我们早上出发晚(早上父亲要服用药),晚上到达目的地也晚,午餐过后,或许在农夫的大车上小酌一杯啤酒。下午上山下山地走上大约20公里,终于到了当晚的宿营地,总是比其他徒步者晚得多,但总在夜幕降临峡谷之前。

“Wait for your old man,” he’d sigh, struggling to catch his breath. “We’ll get there eventually.” And yet this ticking time bomb soldiered on. The base-camp beard and summit gleam from the 1960s had disappeared, but the smile stayed put.

父亲常喘着气说,"等你老爹一下,我们早晚能走到目的地。"60年代的风华已经不再,但父亲脸上的笑容依旧。

By week’s end, now back in France after more than 150km through the Swiss farmstead villages of La Fouly and Champex, I sensed we may have achieved what we both had thought impossible. We made our final push towards the Col du Brevent above the Chamonix valley, side-stepping along a devilishly narrow path, then tackled a series of unforeseen rudimentary ladders bolted into the rock, my dad enthusiastically swearing with every rung. It was an apt final hurdle. We climbed up into a narrow world of stone, light and echo, meeting Mont Blanc face on. An ailing Scottish grandpa in good company with the grandfather of the Alps.

一周过去了,我们走过了150公里,穿越瑞士的弗利河谷(La Fouly)和尚佩克(Champex)再次回到法国境内。我感觉到,我们父子俩可能成就了最初我们都以为难以完成的旅途。最后一站是霞慕尼山谷的布雷旺峰(Col du Brevent),山路极为狭窄,还得攀登嵌入岩石的悬梯,父亲一边攀援一边咒骂,但充满热情。我们终于攀上了山巅,放眼环顾布朗峰,回声朗朗。一位苏格兰老爷爷在儿子的陪伴下攀上了阿尔卑斯山!

To capture the moment, I took a family portrait, but only then did it dawn on me it was nearly the same composition as on a slide I’d first seen in one of those junk boxes, taken almost 50 years ago. There was that smile, those eyes fixed on the horizon, the beautiful Alpine ridges of Mont Blanc crowding out the background. For a split second, it looked like nothing had changed.

为了纪念这一难忘的时刻,我拍摄下我和父亲的合影。此时,我突然想起将近50年前我在那个旧箱子里第一次看到的胶片,现在我加入了父亲站在同一个地点摆出同一个姿势。父亲笑容依旧,放眼远处的天际线,背后是壮美的布朗峰连绵起伏的阿尔卑斯山脉。恍惚之间,似乎时光倒流……

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