Saturday 3 June 2023

Indonesia recap and mountain hiking in Switzerland

It's been a while since I wrote a real post. The last during my first days of my trip in Indonesia was done from my mobile, which is a pain to write long texts on.

After reaching Brünnihütte from Engelberg

So what happened since then ?

Indonesia was a blast, but it was also really exhausting. After my sudden move to Yverdon-les-Bains, my still on-going recovery from Paléo Festival (yes it took way too long) and my new job position as a team leader all kind of made it difficult for me to get into my holidays that time. My friend Charles who joined me later for the epic dive cruise through Raja Ampat was missing for the first two weeks because of a big IT incident at his clinic.

Luckily I met a girl on long term traveling on the train, and we ended up a group of three girls and one boy (myself) for some big adventures. They researched, booked and managed the adventure to Bromo and Kawa Ijen. You probably already saw the pictures of all of these on Facebook. But here are a couple for reminder.

Mount Bromo at dawn

Kawa Ijen's blue flames

We had to do a couple of night activities to see the volcanoes at their best moments. We split in with a resting day in between. Many people do it on consecutive days, which leaves them with no proper resting time as the trip between the volcanoes is quite long. Apart from that, we also had to buy another flight to Sorong to catch our dive trip as the initial one had been cancelled. We had a direct flight from Surabaya to Sorong, but the next had a long layover in Makassar, which had us arrive as zombies on deck of the Carpe Diem. But an improvised breakfast and some rest afterwards the good vibes and the expectations of an awesome week ahead put us back up quickly. The trip back to Switzerland was a drag though, and killed my already poor energy reserves. When I came back from these holidays, I would usually sleep in to 10 or more every weekend for about two or three months afterwards.

What now ?

Some physical activity was necessary and I picked up running. I also started hiking in the mountains again which I must say makes me feel really good about life. When it's not too windy, I also take out my bicycle. I took it with me to Vincent's 50th birthday party in Châtelus, Allier, France over a long 4-days weekend in May.

Preparing the lamb on the grill

Hiking got picked-up again with exploring some local areas like the Chasseron. With Vivi we spent Easter week-end in Engelberg, but many parts of altitude hikes were still snowed in. We still enjoyed a very good hike and also explored the open part of the Aare Gorges in Meiringen.

From then on, I started looking where I could go hike in the Alps. My position from Yverdon-les-Bains makes it an hour trip to the Prealps of Fribourg. The great thing about that, is that there is no traffic jam on these routes, contrary to the routes from Nyon to anywhere at any time. 

Since April's Easter weekend, I went to another five hiking sessions. I started with the Patraflon, which is accessible from the Black Lake (Schwarzsee) with some 900 meters of ascencion. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the top, due to too much snow on the way to the summit. The next was the Chasseron next to me, which I did by taking the train to Vuiteboeuf and then walking from there all the way to its summit.

Sign for Hotel du Chasseron close to the top

Ascending Patraflon in the snow at end of April

After that I got really started with some smaller peaks like Dent de Broc, Patraflon again, Dent du Bourgo and Dent du Chamois. Unfortunately I also missed the top of Dent de Broc because it was some proper mountain (blue/white/blue) path, which involves minor climbing and extremely steep and somewhat dangerous steppings. Since my MS started, I lost some balance capacity which doesn't help in situations like these, so I skipped the last part. The climb was awfully steep and I think it's one of my toughest hikes so far. I chose another way down which was less steep and easier on the knees. 

Start of the steep climb

The second attempt at Patraflon the following day, seemed quite easy to me. I even prolonged it with hiking the lower hills instead of going back to the parking spot directly. The hiking signs can be confusing if you don't know them yet. That's how a indicated 3h30 climb ended up in a 1h45 climb. So that left me with plenty of time to explore the surrounding area further.

View from Patraflon

That's how the following weekend, I ended up skipping the Saturday morning market I like to buy my weekly veggies from. Even though I got home late the previous evening, because the Zürich office celebrated its 10 years of existence, I went to back to the Bulle area. 
This time I chose another low peak of the prealps. Their advantage is being so easily accessible from the small towns at their feet. 

Mountain flowers during ascencion of Dent du Bourgo

That's how I started that days hike with the goal to ascend the Dent du Bourgo at some 1900m altitude. That was fairly easy from the town of Estavannens at about 770m altitude. Although some rain was to fall in the area between 3 and 6 in the afternoon and a couple of storms were brooding nearby, I managed to complete the hike safe and dry. On the way down from the summit, I chose to walk to the col de la Forcla, which would provide me an easier way down in case it got wet and slippery. As the paths were pretty dry and cracked up, rain would make it slippery and with my Lowa trail shoes which are slippery on safe grounds, it would amount to taking a toboggan down. I also met some ladies on top of Dent du Bourgo who told me they were at Dent du Chamois before. So when I got to the col de la Forcla and saw the indication of 45 minutes to the summit of Dent du Chamois, I decided I would go for it. It should only take me 30 minutes. It ended up taking me 25 minutes.

View of Dent du Bourgo from Dent du Chamois

From there, the clouds got darker, a couple of raindrops fell down (literally a couple) and the wind picked up with gusts. I put on my softshell vest to hike down, but soon removed it again, because I was getting too hot.
The way down was incidentless and the whole hike was highly enjoyable. It was quite hard because of last nights party. But it was all worth it with the beautiful sceneries and mountain flowers blooming which provided colorful views.

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