Monday, November 16, 2009

Hike To Salève (from Geneva)

I'll be quick because I have lots of studies to read still. ^^

But yesterday's hike was awesome -- and as I'd been looking for hikes around Geneva for weeks and could find nothing I think it's worth sharing.

The only information I'd found online is here and there are maps available about the hiking routes here, here and here and about the surroundings here. We had this saved on a Blackberry so that we wouldn't get lost (the middle pic applies to our hike). Also there's an official group that leaves around 10 every Sunday (google it, plenty of information to be found) but we thought we'd rather go the 2 of us.

So about the hike. It was amazing. Using the tpg route planning website (<- see sidebar) it took us around 30 minutes to get to France (Croix-de-Rozon Douane, accessible by bus no. 44 for instance). From there we walked a little to a village called Le Coin through the village of Collanges-sous-Saleve. As soon as we got there a path led into the forest on the left so there was not much opportunity for as to get lost =) (I'm stressing this all the time because usually we're so careful not to get lost that we do. One shouldn't think too much on which way to go when climbing a mountain. Up is up... =]) Then we took path 22 on the map, towards Orjobet. We left the path only once =) but following blue-and-red signs all the time should take you through the walk. Switzerland's hiking routes are nicely marked so you can enjoy the scenery without worrying about which way to go.

And what a scenery to enjoy! People say the hiking season is over with October when the skiing season begins. So not true! The forest was gorgeous and although the clouds and the fact that it was "almost raining" all day should have been discouraging, we had a wonderful time. The fog in the valley made the forest so mythical we were constantly listening for dark clad riders and joking about approaching orks =D (OK, this was when the camera played around with the white balance...)

It's difficult to describe such a marvelous sight. I'm not a writer so I'll let the pix speak for themselves. We were zigzagging upwards till we reached a passage in the rock going steeply up. Later we crossed the small wooden bridge (a plank really, fixed to the surface of the rock over the gorge) and took the steep stairs up through the "hole" in the mountain. We'd been deprived from exercise way too long. So it took us some time but was a hilarious experience!

There are many ways to "climb" the Salève. We didn't stick to route 22 but as soon as we reached the signpost for Grande Gorge/La Croisette, we took number 19 (direction La Croisette) instead. It took us to the mountain top and we could have had coffee at the bar =) but the sign telling us that the téléphérique was 1 hour 30 minutes away was too tempting. ^^ So we followed the motor road that led in that direction through the fields. At one spot we spotted Mont Blanc ^^ and took the appropriate pics with us grinning in the wind and all that.

We got to the téléphérique/cable car/funicular in about an hour (the whole excursion took us 6 hours home to home, we didn't really care about time while there). And then the descent began. It's a MUST to try this thing! It was awesome! Check out the video at the end if you don't believe me! =D

It took us to Veyrier in 6 minutes [so short!:'( ] from where we walked to the Swiss border (I love Shengen! =D) and took bus 8 that took us home in 17 minutes. Had a hot shower and a nice dinner and talked about the wonderfulness of life in Switzerland over a mug of hot Swiss chocolate. ^^

See also on youtube.

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