Monday, October 12, 2015

Trail Vallée de Joux

We spent a lot of time over the summer exploring the Jura, and in particular the Vallée de Joux. Daniel does much of his training here and we both love the area for its rolling hills, forests and open spaces. On Sunday, Daniel rounded off his trail running season with the Trail Vallée de Joux, a 54km race on some of our favourite hiking routes.

The race started in L'Abbaye before heading up and down to Dent de VaulionCol du Mollendruz, Châtel, Montricher, Mont Tendre, Col du Marchairuz and ending in Le Sentier. It was a fast race and Daniel did brilliantly to finish third overall - his second podium finish in as many weeks!

It was a beautiful time of year to be in the Jura as the landscape is a riot of rich Autumn colours, providing beautiful pictures and great backdrops for action shots of Daniel!

Daniel at Col du Mollendruz, an hour after the start 

The road down from Mont Tendre

Arriving at Col du Marchairuz

The finish was in Le Sentier

Daniel smiling as he heads down the finishing straight

Daniel on the podium!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Col du Mollendruz - Châtel (5: Jura)

We enjoyed a scenic autumn hike from Col du Mollendruz to Châtel in the Jura. The hike started at a cross country ski and snowshoe hut (something to check out when the snow comes next month!) and went up through the forest to La Buvette du Châtel, which lies at 1,432m in the Jura Parc Vaudois. The colours are changing on the leaves and it is a beautiful time of year to be in the mountains!

We went up par le pâturage and came down par la route

Through woods...

... and forests

At the top!

Beautiful autumn scenery!

A great trail marker!

Cute mountain cottage... One day... :)

Turnstile on the way down

On our way there we passed a traditional 'Désalpe', a bringing down of the cows from the mountains to the lower pastures for winter. The cows are garlanded with elaborate flower designs and their cow bells are ringing proudly - it was quite a sight!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Les Diablerets 2015

We went back to the Alpine town of Les Diablerets for Daniel's second Humani'Trail race. Last year it was his first trail race in Europe and he finished 5th; this year he gained his first podium finish in a European trail race in 3rd place! It was a tremendous improvement on last year's race and he ran 37 minutes faster than in 2014!

Daniel running into the halfway checkpoint
with the snowy Alps in the background

A winding wood chip path in the race

A suspension bridge with Tibetan prayer flags over the Grande Eau river.
All the proceeds from the race support disadvantaged children in Nepal.

Coming down to Col du Pillon having just gained 3rd place!
Daniel eventually finished 23 minutes ahead of 4th place.

The awards ceremony with an Alphorn band!

Podium finisher!!
The goodie bag contained fondue cheese,
local wine and Alpine breadsticks :)

While Daniel was out running the 55km race, I explored the Parcoursvita on the edge of town. It was a crystal clear Autumn day and I enjoyed a 6km stroll around the base of the Alps, enjoying the Parcoursvita and an Alpine garden.

Les Diablerets village

Beautiful green fields on the outskirts of the village

Autumnal scenery in the Alps: the view from the
suspension bridge over the Grande Eau river

The Les Diablerets Parcoursvita which was also part of the race

Nothing like an Alphorn band in the Alps!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Vallorbe Circuit

Vallorbe is a small town in the Swiss Jura, nestled in a valley basin between the Dent de Vaulion to the south and the Mont d'Or to the north. It gained importance in the Middle Ages for its iron ore deposits and later for its large supplies of firewood. Its location on the French border also made it a travel hub in the area.

We visited Vallorbe to do a circular trail around the town past some its main attractions. We walked through the town to a beautiful forest which led to some small caves which are part of a large network of caves in the region.

Forest on the outskirts of Valorbe

Risoux Forest

Risoux Forest

Always following the trail markers

Entrance to some caves

We continued through the Risoux Forest to reach the Juraparc, a wildlife sanctuary with bears, wolves and bison. We didn't go in, but the trail led past some of the enclosures and we saw some bison and caught a glimpse of bears through the fence! The trail eventually widened into a road which led us back down into Vallorbe. It was a great 11km circuit and we saw many other attractions in the area which we'd like to explore on a return visit.

Forest trails

Forest trails

Bison in the Juraparc

A winding road back down the valley

Vallorbe nestled in a sunny valley

The River Orbe

Our route

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Black Forest

The Black Forest covers an area 160km long by 60km wide in south-west Germany. The area is densely wooded and was settled in the High Middle Ages. We camped just outside a small town called Herrenwies on the Black Forest High Road. The Westweg is the most famous trail through the Black Forest and runs right through the area where we were camping. It is 285km long, but we only explored a small section of this trail, following the white trail signs.

Herrenwies Cathedral

We followed white trail signs

We entered the Schwarzwald just north of Herrenwies and worked our way up to the highest point of the district where the Friedrich Tower stands. We climbed 168 steps up the spiral staircase of the tower and through the iron dome at the top. The views from the top were beautiful - forest stretching in every direction. We then worked our way back down through the forest to the picturesque Herrenwies Lake.

Leaving the campsite
Entering the Black Forest

Friedrich Tower

360° views over the forest from the top of the tower

A forest trail on the way down

Herrenwies Lake

After a very peaceful's night's sleep at the edge of the forest, we headed off to see the Gertelbach Falls. These are a continuous stretch of cascades and pools running down the western side of the Black Forest. We then drove round to the town of Forbach to walk another section along the Westweg, this time to Schwarzbach, a large hydroelectric dam.

The trail to the falls

Beautiful bridges and moss-covered rocks

Part of the Gertelbach Falls

Schwarzbach lake

A squirrel in the forest

Lots of forest

The Black Forest is a beautiful part of the world, full of interesting trails, lakes and waterfalls. Next time we might explore one of the Wine Routes which runs through the forest!