An active weekend

Last weekend was a weekend of keeping active and moving. On Saturday, I fixed my beautiful single-speed bike, which had been holed up in our kitchen with a flat tyre. I changed the tube and cleaned the bike. I greased the chain with Swiss-made chain lubricant, because if there is one thing the Swiss know how to do, it’s how to run a well-oiled machine.

Fixed and gleaming in the sun.

Once the bike was set to go, Tanya and I went for a ride out to Lavaux. We rode down to Lutry and looked at the lake. Then we turned uphill and rode across the steep terraced vineyards, which are autumn-coloured with the changing season. It was a perfectly clear day. As we got to Grandvaux, the Grand Combin appeared on the horizon, tall and white over the rich blue of the lake.

Lavaux is kind of a dreamy place. We climbed a bit higher above Grandvaux, then coasted down to Rivaz, and headed back along the flat road on the shore of the lake to arrive back in Lausanne as the sun was setting.

I know it’s October, but you try to keep Tanya out of a lake.

On Sunday we set off to walk up Le Toûno, a mountain in Val d’Anniviers. Le Toûno is 3018 m high, and it happens to be one of only four 3000-metre mountains in Valais that it’s possible to gain just by hiking.

Objectif en vue: Le Toûno as it appeared at the start of our walk.

We caught a train to Sierre and then a Postbus to St-Luc, and then it was time to start walking. The first part of the walk was through fantastically colourful autumn forest.

And she’s off!
Mélèze needles.

Once we got past the tree-line we were walking in grassland that slowly gave way to rocks. We skirted past the imposing north face of Le Toûno and approached it sneakily from its more gentle south side.

Le Toûno’s steeper side.
A lone mélèze.

The last 400 vertical metres to the summit were a lot steeper than the rest of the walk, but they were well worth the effort when we got to the top and could take in the huge panoramic view. We could see Bishorn, Weisshorn, The Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, Grand Cornier, Pigne de la Lé, Pointes de Mourti, Mont Blanc, Aiguille du Tour, and across the Rhône Valley the Bernese Alps.

Weisshorn in centre frame.
Handy to have a bench at 3000 m!
Bishorn and Weisshorn.

Right on the summit we had a most unexpected sighting of a lagopède alpin, in its mottled autumn cloak that forms excellent camouflage on partly snowy rocks. The lagopède scuttled down the snowy side of the mountain, and we decided it was time for us to scuttle down the grassy side and back towards St-Luc.

St-Luc and the mélèze forests far below.

Back in St-Luc we watched the evening shadow creep over the forest as the weekend drew to a close.

October 21, 2014

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