Haute Route Hiking Stats-Day 9Cabane du Moiry to Zinal
|HR Hiking Time:||50:30|
|HR Distance Hiked(mi):||87.2|
We had a nice typical breakfast at the cabane. One notable thing was the large loaf of homemade bread that was exquisite. We then packed up and headed on our way down towards Lac Moiry, which was the same way we had come up the night before. I had had dreams about going down the steep, rocky section during the night, so I was a little apprehensive given the heavy rain that had fallen during the night. It was also quite cold out this morning so hats, gloves and jackets where in order.
We got out behind most everyone and eventually had to pass most people as Denise was going exceptionally fast this morning. I was seeing so many photo opportunities which were hard to pass up at times. We had to pass the large British group right on the steep, rocky section which made it extra unnerving for me. We eventually headed down and up to the Morraine and saw some Ibex feeding on the hillside. We eventually caught Nate and Ann and passed them. We then picked up a trail that traversed the hillside for several hours to the end of the lake right before the climb up to Col Sorebois, our only climb of the day. Denise decided to pick up some extra speed at this point and ended up walking quite a distance ahead with another guy from our group. I kept a decent pace but never caught up to them. I pretty much hiked alone this day. I passed by many photo opportunities which was a bit disappointing. I am not really liking that part of this trek since we are always rushing ahead to get to the next destination before everyone it seems. I would like to do this taking a little more time.
I needed to decide whether I was taking the bus today or not. My knee was feeling really good today and I wanted to hike the whole thing, but I didn’t feel right leaving Denise taking the bus alone. I eventually caught up with her right before the decision point and decided to go with her on the bus. Part way down we saw that Leeza, an Israeli girl in our group, was heading down to the bus also so I changed my mind and decided to hike out the day. I gave Denise her bus pass, some money and the info on the hotel to go to. We said goodbye and I headed back up the hill. I figured I had hiked alone all morning anyway, so I might as well hike out the day alone. It was a good decision.
As I started on the ascent up to the col, I ran into to Rich, Marteen, and Kathy from the group who had given me some cheers for changing my mind. We made our way up the col along a good series of switchbacks leading to the top. It was difficult, but not as much as most of the others we had down. When I reached the top the four of us hung out for a while taking some pictures and having some food. Eventually Bob and Matthew showed up and took a rest as well. The views from here were awesome. I was so glad I came.
We eventually packed up and made our way down the 3 hour descent to Zinal. The guide book made this sound as if it was going to be brutal on the knees. The first half led down a utility road through the ski area following the ski lifts. It was not bad at all. We came upon some really cool sheep that were grazing and took some close up photos of them. Every so often the clouds would open up reavealing a spectacular moutain and glacier on the other side of the valley. It was like a little window with the mountain in it. We continued down and came upon a huge herd of cattle that was relaxing all along the trail. We all took and posed for pictures with them. It was pretty cool. I actually missed on of the trail signs as a couple cows were standing next to it and hiding it from my view. I eventually realized that things didn’t look right and looked back and saw it.
The trail meandered gradually down the hillside until reaching a wooded forest area. It then became very steep, wet and rooty. I was no alone again since I was taking my time through the steeper section. It got pretty hairy in places and I fell twice landing on my bad knee both times. The second time I had just passed a young couple who were standing letting me pass. I am sure they were quite amused by the display and I never looked back to see their response. It actually hurt my shin pretty good and I had a small abrasion from it.
I had my iPhone in my camera bag with some tunes playing most of the time alone and it was a very peaceful, although treacherous, walk down into Zinal. The village below looked pretty cool with a bunch of large chalets. I eventually bottomed out to a more flat, wide path and came to a bridge that crossed a turquoise colored stream coming from the glacier above the valley. I stopped at the bridge to take a few pictures and then got out my iPhone to look up where our hotel was. Just as I was a few yards past the bridge I heard Denise yelling my name from the hotel just above me. Nice! Guess I don’t need to find that now.
I headed up to the room and settled in. I was really hungry since I had only eaten a Cliff bar and some cookies at the col. We headed down to the hotel restaurant, but the kitchen was closed now being 3pm. We walked over to the nearby grocery store and I grabbed some bread and Gruyere cheese. We also got a couple single beers and Denise got a Guinness. I then enjoyed a nice lunch on our little deck in the afternoon sun. Next I did some much needed laundry in the tub and then showered up myself. Being in the valley the sunlight is limited so not sure if it will all dry tonight.
We then headed out to stroll around the town about and scout out a place to eat. Most places seemed to be closed on Monday and Tuesdays, so are choices were limited. We ran into Rich on the one street and chatted about. He and the others were all staying in the hotel nearby where we were standing and heads started popping out of windows. We all decided to eat at our hotel since they had pizza. We strolled around some more and headed back to our hotel and waited for the others.
We had a good time all chatting about and a good dinner as well. I had tried to order a regular pizza with pepperoni, but somehow got anchovies and black olives too. I had to send it back because there was no way I was eating anchovies. Even taking them off left that nasty fishy taste.
Some of the trail gang where possibly going a different direction after today so we said our goodbyes and headed off to sleep. It was after 10pm and we were both tired.