Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Bucolic day of...

hiking before the storm. 

After a mellow respite in Champex, Switzerland (my favorite town so far), it was time to hit the Haute Route once again.

Today's ramble was mostly downhill through farms and valley villages. It was a slice of everyday Swiss life. I watched Grandma and Grandpa farmer rake fresh mowed clover. A school bus let out behind me. The kids shouted joyously as they ran past. A noisy quarry was busy crushing boulders or moving them about. Industrial strength sprinklers watered the fields. Black cows mooed about. I walked by the front and back yards of Swiss citizens. No one gave me a second glance. It was reminiscent of the Camino de Santiago minus the Pilgrims and frequent bar/cafe social stops.

This is my chill break before three stages of extreme hiking. Here's a few brief descriptors from my cue-sheets. "The most sustained uphill section of the Haute Route." (5,577" of climbing in 5.5 miles. OY!) "The going is particularly rocky and barren." And my favorite "Today is the toughest stage." 

My accommodations will be huts too. Yech! 

From my New Zealand Hut experience.

With flashbacks of New Zealand's backcountry dorms boogying in my head. (NZ's huts were similar to Chinese opium dens minus the drugs). I Googled my upcoming Swiss huts. 

My first shelter got Chicago's Waldorf Astoria reviews. (*****). The second not so much. Out of eleven TripAdvisor reviews, seven rated the crash pad "poor to terrible." There's mentions of bedbugs and non-potable water too. The shack has only two toilets, two showers and two urinals for 59 occupants! Triple OY! 

Let's say I'm not excited about Hut # 2. 

AND... the weather forecast is skunky! Today's warmth will give way to rain, wind, lower temperatures and more rain. I'm thinking this is a meteorological event related to Hurricane Harvey. ((Which we all know is Obama's fault). 

So now, I'm lying horizontal in my hotel room in Villette. It's a non-quaint newish town with loud multilane traffic. I'm not inspired to take a gander about. I'll conserve my strength for the hikes and huts that await me. 

Though I'll  save some energy for tonight's Happy Hour. I have my priorities. 

Cheers! See you on the other side.

Last photo: This wasn't the sexy French maid i envisioned from my previous post.

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