Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saut de Brot

Today Payton and I and the Marciondo's hiked down a portion of the river Areuse. It was fantastic. You will see in just a minute.

We didn't drive and instead took the train from Neuchâtel to Noiraigue. From here we hiked down river to a really cool foot bridge - Saut de Brot - over the Gorges de l'Areuse. This leg was about 1½ miles. Our second leg took us to the small town of Champ-du-Moulin where we hopped the train back to Neuchâtel. This too was about 1½ miles. This was an easy hike with wide smooth trails - sometimes paved.
Here is our group with fresh legs and ready to go. Behind us is roughly north. We headed off west - our left. We didn't go far and Payton tripped and skinned both knees. Not too badly, but it sure hurt. He overcame the pain and kept on walking. Our hike quickly took us to the river which we walked along the whole way. The water was moving fast and with all the snow melt I bet it was cold. You wouldn't want to fall in.

We walked a little bit and came to a river crossing. We crossed on the same bridge as the train does. Just a thin railing separated us from the tracks. As the water crossed under the bridge it dropped off into a fall of about 40-50 feet. It was loud. Payt and I went down some stairs to get a closer look. It is early April here and there is still snow in the mountains. It melts everyday. I figure this fast water flow is due to this. Check out the picture comparing this waterfall spot at different times. I pulled a picture of the 'net and inserted into the one I took today. The river can be quite different in the summer time.
There wasn't just a walking trail alongside the river. We walked past a couple of small hydro-electric plants. It is a good place for them. Even with slow water they are able to channel what they have into the plants to generate electricity.
Payton was pretty smart around the river. He knew to keep his distance. I told him to, but really he didn't need to be. He was reluctant to even have his picture taken close to the river.
We were finally approaching the gorge. This river gets choked down on each side by very steep cliffs. All the water of the river gets forced through a narrow that is easily half the size of the river we had been hiking beside.
Where did the river go? It is going over yet another waterfall. Can you see how dangerous... no not dangerous... how responsible you must be for yourself in Switzerland? A few feet to the right of Katelyn and Payton is a 10 ft. drop off into a raging river where you will immediately plummet over a waterfall and be forced through the gorge to come. Nary a guard rail anywhere. There were a few, mostly in the gorge itself.This warning sign says something about it being a natural site of great beauty; however its geological structure experiences moving earth, falling trees and rocks. Be vigilant, don't leave the marked path and don't stop at places of great exposure. And of course, you are solely responsible for yourself. Fair enough - let's move along.
The Marciondo Men at the falls Katelyn and Payton were walking by.

Lucas, Payton, Katelyn, Christa and Maggie cross the foot bridge over the falls. To the left of the bridge is down river and the beginnings of the gorge. To the right are the falls you can see in the previous few pictures.
Really, really cool eh?

The three boys - Devin, Payton and Lucas before walking down into the gorge and to Saut de Brot.
Payton questioning whether to continue down, down into the gorge? Nah. We happily went.
This is what we came for - Saut de Brot. I can't say I understand exactly what that means, but this is one cool bridge. Note the path carved into the cliff on the right.
Here I am standing on the bridge looking up river. You can see how much the gorge narrows the river - at least half its width from up river.

Well we saw what we came for, but we still had more to do and see. Just after the bridge there was a clearing. Somewhere in this clearing was a geocache filled with little goodies. We searched and we found it hidden in a tree trunk.
After taking a break we resumed our hike. We came upon a cool waterslide of sorts. It wasn't meant for people. It just channels water down to the river. The water was maybe 2-3" deep and running really, really fast.
Devin, the oldest Marciondo off spring. He and his little brother Lucas and sister Katelyn are really good with Payton. Payton loves them much. He seeks and enjoys their company.
Check this out. I don't know how Payton scored this ride. Jason packed Payton on his shoulders for a good kilometer or so. Payton claimed his knees were hurting. I think he just saw big shoulders with a view.
Well by now we were reaching the end of our hike. A fork in the path came before us. Which to choose? We chose the smoother and easier fork. Easier until the end. We had to hoof it down a bunch of steps to cross back over the river and head for the train station.
The steps behind Devin and Christa go back up the hill and then switch back and forth a few times to that 'easier' path. Better to walk down than up.
One last look up river before we head back uphill to the train station home.
One the way up this hill we had one more geocache to find. We found it. Kids like to geocache.
Gare de Champ-du-Moulin. We had some time before the train came. We rested and cooled ourselves at the water fountain.
Our hike was over. But wait, where were Kathleen and Parker? Unfortunately a few days earlier Kathleen tweaked her back. She wasn't quite 100% so she decided to stay home. She spent time with Parker instead. When she's better we'll do this hike again so she can see all that we did. I think the next time we'll start somewhere down river and hike up. You know, shake things up a little.

Here is a map of our hike. We hiked left to right - west to east. Click on it to enlarge.

1 comment:

  1. You look like a giant standing next to all those people in those pics!


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