Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter hike in the Jura day 3: Ste. Croix -> Vallorbe

It rained during the night (scary when greg was awake in the night) but stopped by the time we got up. After a good breakfast we set out under cloudy skies out of town. Along the tracks for a bit and then up through the woods to the Mont de Baulmes. The views of the Alps would be spectacular if the weren't covered by clouds. :-S
Along the really nice ridge, spotting a chamois along the way, past dramatic drops, through woods, across fields, until we hit the summit of the Aiguilles des Baulmes. Here we choose to follow an unmarked trail that is on the high-resolution map towards the end of the ridge. As the way gets narrower and the drops get steeper, Greg starts to get nervous. Luckily Andrea is there to take over the navigation and lead us to the end of the ridge and then really steeply downwards to a saddle. Slightly surreal moment at one point where we come to a bit of a divide between the cliffs and encounter a picnic spot, complete with piled firewood and a brand-new picnic table. Those crazy climbers and what they do. :-)

Past the saddle we head long the road a bit and then go up to the Grange Neuve. This is of course closed due to the holiday, but we grab a sheltered spot to eat lunch. It's not raining, but it sure is threatening. During lunch the sun plays some games with us: coming out, hiding, coming out, etc. but in the end we get clouds. After lunch we walk around the shoulder of the Suchet and then up to the pass towards Vallorbe. The "pass" ends up being high enough that we are almost to the peak, so we go ahead and do that (again, the views would be spectacular if it weren't for the clouds) before starting on our way back down. After some nice green descending, we end up on a road that will, much to our dismay, take us the last 2.5 hours of the way to Vallorbe. Since we don't have a map of this last stretch we can pretend that we will find a path to take us off the road, but, of course, we never do.

Down in Vallorbe we find out way to the "hotel", shower, and then find the one open restaurant in town for a surprisingly good meal. A long day full of changing weather and path conditions... Very nice but now the legs are t i r e d.

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