Sunday, June 15, 2014

A long walk from Delemont to Neuhüsli

The forecast is good in the Jura, but dodgy in the Alps and Voralpen, so today's idea is to cover some distance. We take a look at the map, see the nice-looking ridge running from Delemont to Erschwil, and decide that can be a good start. We don't have a set end point in mind, Hohe Winde would make an interesting line on the map, but it seems like it's probably too far. It's the Jura and we can grab busses all over the place, so we don't really need a full plan... off we go! :-)

We get a reasonably early start and are in Delemont shortly after 7:30. The markings take us through the mostly sleeping town and then to the start of the trail just outside of town. Here there's a sign for Hohe Winde: 8 hours 40 minutes... interesting... we have more than enough time to manage that, and we're normally faster than the markings anyway. Up, up, through the woods to the ridge. Now it's just lovely Jura ridge walking: under the trees, sometimes with nice views in one direction, sometimes in the other direction, always good walking. Greg's new toy (a Suunto Ambit2 Sapphire) can show both current and average speed, so we push a bit and go faster than what we'd normally do (we're doing a bit over 5km/h when it's flat); we're enjoying ourselves. After the first two hours we stop and take a short break in a spot with a good view. Here we see the first other people of the day. We're making excellent time, Hohe Winde should be no problem! Onwards we go, always continuing along the ridge, until it's time to start thinking about having lunch. The clearing at La Combe has great views to the South side, but the high grass is too wet, so we continue. At p875, the cross over Erschwil, we stop and have a nice lunch with a view out in the other direction. After lunch it's onwards again, to the end of the ridge and then down a bit, along the edge of the woods above Le Greierlet, along the hedge row across the field near Schemelhof, and then back up, up again. Along we go, in the woods, in the open, mostly contouring with great views, until we get to the last bit up to Hohe Winde. We push the pace for the last 200m up and get to the top slightly out of breath but smiling. It's taken us a bit over 6.5 hours, including the breaks. Good time!

We have another good rest to catch our breath, enjoy the views, rest our legs, and eat some cherries, and then decide to push on to Passwang. After descending a bit along the ridge, the trail takes us down to Vorder Erzberg. The unexpected chance to get something cool to drink is too much to pass up, so we stop for another break before continuing onwards. After some more walking we get to a fork where we need to choose between continuing on to Passwang or heading down to Neuhüsli; timing wise Neuhüsli looks better, so down we go. The last bit is an easy descent along more nice paths and we get to Neuhüsli, unfortunately just short of 30km total distance, with about 10 minutes to wait for the next bus. Good timing to end a nice, long, walk.

The track (data now being collected with Greg's new "watch"):
Stats: ~1580m up, ~1330m down, 29.7 km.

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