Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Orsieres to Bourg-St Pierre June 24

                                                                        Current Day.                        Trip to Date

Distance walked- miles.                                      9.9.                                      563.1

Gross Climb- feet.                                             3527.                                   44,744

Song of the Day: and it Stoned Me by Van Morrison

Oh, the water
Oh, the water
Hope it don't rain all day

Then the rain let up and the sun came up
And we were gettin' dry

Oh, the water
Oh, the water
Oh, the water

Get it myself from the mountain stream

The weather Gods are definitely looking down on us!  When we got up at 7 am, there was a steady rain coming down.  By the time we left our hotel at 8, the rain had stopped, and within an hour, the sun came out!  Once again, an hour after we arrived at our destination today, the rain started up again.  The forecast for tomorrow is rain all day- we will see if we can best the odds again!

Even though we did not get rained on, the story of the day was definitely about water.  Most of the hike was along a series of mountain rivers and streams.  The combination of the visual and sound effects of the water was very soothing and made for a terrific walk today.   I can only imagine that hydraulic engineering must be very popular in Switzerland.  We laughed a bit- on the hills above Orsieres where we stayed last night, the water sprinklers were on all night long, even though it was raining.  Good the California water police didn't see that!

The trail was often on narrow paths, along steep mountains.  While not as dangerous as yesterday, we did none the less have to pay attention to what we were doing.  At one point, I tripped over the wet roots of a tree and fell down.  Fortunately, the only damage I got was a face full of damp wet grass!  Since we are walking in the Alps, I call that a drink of Mountain Dew....  

We are now at an altitude of more than 5000 feet.  We started to feel the effects on our walking today as we acclimate to this altitude.  Tomorrow, we will top out at around 8000 feet.  You can also tell from the photos that the trees have changed to be much more pine trees, etc.

Once again, we got lost today.  We passed a woman who was walking and decided to ask her for help.  Linda tried her best French on women (Linda speaks great Spanish, pretty good Italian, and knows some phrases and words in French).  The woman responded in perfect British English!  Turns out she was an English woman who moved to Switzerland 25 years ago.  Very nice woman and helped us get un lost..

The trail signage in Switzerland is definitely better than it was in Italy.  However, it can be confusing.  First, they have lots and lots of trails in Switzerland (this is a nation of hikers).  So, you have to pay close attention to the specific trail you are on.  Second, they post their distances in terms of time- ie how long the hike is to a certain point.  Here is an example:

We strongly believe they use some 25 year old Olympic athlete with no backpack as their basis for the times estimates, because we almost always are slower than the posted times!  By the way, the pink sign to the right of the yellow sign is for snowshoe hiking in the winter!

Tomorrow, we have another big climb of almost 4000 feet to the peak of the Great Saint Bernard pass.  We are told that we will likely walk on snow for part of our hike tomorrow.   Tomorrow night, we are staying in a sort of hospice maintained by the monks.  Should be interesting.  Then on Thursday, we emerge back into Italy.

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