Friday, August 17th, 2007
A sunny day, so everyone was smiles... fair weather hikers! Today was almost like canyon hiking: down in the morning, up in the afternoon. We bottomed out at 636m when crossing the deep Val d'Illiez at the old Roman village of Trois-Torrents (from trans torrentium -- beyond the waterfalls) and then climbed up to almost 1700m where our accommodation for the night, the delightful Alpage de Chindonne, is located.
It was a fairly uneventful day, although we did "lose our way" (if errors of 50m count as losing one's way) a couple of times -- once when I took a turn too early,and once when Sally misidentified a yellow flower as a signpost :-). Overall, however, navigation is definitely getting more challenging: the signs and signposting are not as consistent or as reliable as we have become used to. I am starting to hike more often with the map in my hand, as I did last summer on the Coast-to-Coast in England, because unless I do so I lose track of where we are, and thus don't know which unsigned trails to take and which to ignore.
However, our most impressive experience getting lost happened at the end of the day yesterday in the fog. We managed in about 10 minutes to make a complete circle without realizing it and ended up at the same signpost we had started at 10 minutes earlier. It was pretty funny: I looked at a compass when we were at the signpost for the first time, and then again as we came back to the signpost for the second time, and for a couple of minutes was simply unable to accept what it was telling me. Afterwards we took the longer, but much more reliable, route via the road rather than try for a second time to follow the trail in the fog!
Big changes ahead: the weather forecast is fine for tomorrow, but on Sunday it deteriorates, and Monday through Wednesday are supposed to be crappy with heavy rain and the snowfall line dropping to 2500m (a figure we do not believe since the last time they said something like this, in Lenk, it snowed down 600m lower than they had predicted).
As a result we have decided to skip tomorrow's stage to the Lac de Salanfe and will instead just go straight to Barme (Stage 44). On Sunday we will hike to Samoens (Stage 45) and then spend two probably rainy rest days there hoping that the weather is better by Wednesday when we hike to the Refuge de Moede-Anterne.
I pointed out to Russell and Sally that contrary to their many and various accusations and insinuations, I am capable of diverging from the planned route when conditions demand it! Which brings up an interesting point: it is remarkable how different both their expectations and their experience of the H2H is from mine. I'm a little too tired tonight to do the topic justice, so I'll try to return to it when we are in Samoens.
And with that soap-opera-quality cliff-hanger-ending I'll bid you all good night....