swiss.crossing - Stage 10/12

Stage 10 – Guggisberg-Charmey – 30.4km (total 315.8 km) / 965m D+ (8'888m, Everest beaten) / 21 bridges (82) / rock in shoe 1 (6).

The one where I crossed the rösti barrier (or röstigraben, depending on which side of Switzerland you are), and I ran with cows.

All you want to know about the swiss.crossing Lake2Lake adventure, is here.

Beautiful sunshine in the morning, it’s a change. And it starts with a very hard and steep descent for 2 km, that changes as well. But the slope is so steep, that I really don’t go faster than if I was climbing… and my knees are squeaking a bit…

Of course, when I reach the bottom of the valley, I have to run up the same slope on the other side. At the beginning it is not too bad, on a country road, then I enter the forest, and there I notice that despite the sun, it will be a very muddy day.

Halfway up this climb, I reach a forest road, which is flat for a good kilometer, which allows me to run with a little speed and enjoy good running feelings.

Then it’s back to the steep forests, and the muddy and muddy mountain pastures. Considering the difficulty, and the heaviness of the terrain, I don’t really move fast, it takes me almost an hour to reach the first summit at Brönnti Egg (alt. 1'203m). 

And it goes down again, still in the same terrain, except for a little bit of road, on which I take some speed, and I pass a pen with a herd of cows, which start running with me along the road. It’s very funny, and one of them even goes down the field from higher up to join this happy group, and has to brake hard in the muddy grass not to break the fence and fall on me. Wonderful skid perfectly controlled… I must say it has a 4WD.

A little further down, just before arriving at Zollhaus, I pass a pen with small calves, which are panic-stricken by my presence, and start to run far away, break the electric fence, slip and fall, and go back to their stable, in a din of little bells. I approach the farm to try to see if there is anybody, and inform them that the pen is broken and that the calves are back, but I find nobody. Too bad, I continue my way, apparently the calves want to be in their stable more than running away.

I arrive at Zollhaus, at km 10, where the warm and cold Singine (Sense) rivers meet, which is also the border between the canton of Bern and the canton of Fribourg, and the official limit of the “röstigraben” (fried potato fence), the linguistic border between the German and the French speaking parts of Switzerland.

From there, I run up the course of the warm Singine towards the Lac Noir (the river is not warm, it simply owes its name to the fact that it comes out of a lake whose temperature is slightly higher than the lake from which the cold Singine escapes in another nearby valley).

It’s a nice trail, much less muddy than before and much less steep.  I run up it, for about 6 km. It’s quite nice and it feels good to be able to move forward.

When I arrive at the Lac Noir (Black Lake), I have a picnic on a bench in the sun, enjoying the panorama of the lake and the beautiful mountains in the background… I still have about 13–14 km to run, and a 400 meters ascent before arriving at my destination.

As after every break, the restart is particularly hard, even on the flat lake shore. At km 18 I start to go up, and quite steeply. It’s a gravel mountain road, so I can’t blame my very slow pace on the terrain, which for once is quite runnable. I don’t move fast on this first half of the climb.

When I get to the alpine pasture, it’s a little less uphill, and I’m moving through a beautiful narrow valley, between alpine pasture and fir trees. 

There are less than 3 km of ascent, to reach the small pass of La Balisa, but more than 400m elevation. I reach the highest point of the day (alt. 1’411m).

I now only have to go down to Charmey, through the valley of the same name. The mountain road quickly gives way to a small, extremely muddy path as soon as I enter the forest. There are even several torrents to cross (that rinses the shoes a little), and when it is a question of crossing alpine pastures, with herds of cows in the middle of the way, it is not less muddy, and there we know that when we put the feet in the holes and all this mess, it is not only in water.

On the Pré de l’Essert mountain pasture, a small chapel is enthroned on a hillock, and gives a nice view on the val-de-charmey on the right and on another valley on the left.

As I descend, I catch a fleeting glimpse of the Valsainte abbey on the other side of the valley.

I continue on freshly mown paths to the small village of Charmey, and I settle in a gîte called La Grange, a beautifully renovated and decorated stable. It’s so clean, I hardly dare to take a shower, and what about washing my socks and the rest of my stuff. I left my shoes at the entrance, but I think I’ll go and put them outside before they stink up the whole household.

Lodging : La Grange, Charmey


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To look at the planned route (zoom-in) for this stage, on the national swiss map, click here or on the map

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