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Peaks + Valleys

23 Oct 15
Heidi Kumm
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What do you do when the clouds take over the mountain? The same thing you do when it’s a beautifully sunny day — you get your tush outside and find trails to explore! I’ve done a fairly good job of winning the fight against the snot factory that took over my sinuses but the weather has not been very good at supporting my quest to spend all my free time outside. Rather than greeting me with sunny skies and tshirt temperatures it’s been doling out lots of chilly clouds. But I am nothing if not persistent…clouds or not, outside I went!

I spent so much time frolicking around in clouds, breathing in all their foggy goodness, I started to feel like we belonged together…we were getting along so well! After a few days of heading up the mountainside in hopes of finding sunshine above the clouds I gave up and headed into the valley. During my first week in Gryon I hiked through Les Gorges with Caroline on our way to our night at Cabana Plan Neve and was blown away by how beautifully green it was. It just felt like Wisconsin with all the moss, ferns and rapids…I would be back, at least once! As I had guessed, Les Gorges rocked the reds + oranges of fall even better than the greens of summer…

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On a random run earlier this week I came across a trail sign that marked a “secret”, off the beaten path route to Pont de Nant [the village just beyond Les Gorges] so I decided to make this trip into the valley an exploratory one. Even after the shortcut dumped me out onto the main trail I was the only one out and about. I spent about 3 hours running + hiking the 9.5mi/15k loop and only saw a few people as I ran through small villages. #offseasonFTW

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— not pictured: the actual narrow gorges as the photos will never do the experience of thundering rapids any justice…and I suck at water photography –

I’ve been running on roads a lot more lately and the roads around here are hilly + scenic enough to count as paved trails…the mountains just don’t stop! Add in a few fall colors and I’m yours forever, Switzerland! Today’s little romp in the wilderness had a healthy mix of dirt and asphalt, but no dirty laundry or scrubbed floors. Oops.

My original plan for my Friday was super exciting — spend the morning tidying up the chalet, finish up laundry and deep clean a bathroom or two. But then I woke up to clear skies. Suddenly the bathrooms didn’t look quite so dirty and the laundry pile seemed too small to fret over…outside I went! My priorities are clearly spot on when it comes to manning this chalet, am I right?! [don’t worry, all the arriving guests had plenty of clean sheets to cuddle up in!]

Tempted by completely blue, cloudless skies I left the chalet in a rush wearing the only clothes that weren’t damply hanging on the drying rack — leggings + race tshirt + plaid button-up. Yup, I was adorable, trust me. As for my route — I did the only thing that made sense on a perfectly gorgeous day, I headed up, up, up. In the past I’ve cheated and hopped on the telecabine in Barbelouse to skip a big portion of the trek up to Le Chaux but today I was too early so up the trail I went. Two hours later I was here…

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I think it is safe to say the trail going beyond Le Chaux is my favorite trail in the area. I pink puffy heart it so hard it makes my insides hurt. Every time I’ve come up to this trail I’ve found an excuse to just sit down for the sake of soaking it all up. Last week I watched clouds roll over the mountains, today I watched chamois bounce around in the meadow below me. This trail was made for mesmerizing moments and it’ll be on my “to visit” list every time I return to the area. Sure, it’s just dirt and grass but it’s some freaking amazing dirt and grass…that leads to some pretty impressive trails further down the mountain.

Every time I’ve wandered into the mountains I’ve taken a different trail. Sure, I may start/end at the same place but that in between trail? It’s different, every time. Sometimes on purpose [yay, exploring!] and sometimes by accident [whoops, I got lost] but every time it’s worth it. Today I found a fast, runnable trail through thick, green forest that is about 75% wooden bridge. If I hadn’t already given my heart to the trail above Le Chaux I would have tied it up in a bow and given it to this new-found trail. Lucky for my over committed heart the two trails of awesome connect so I can have the best of both worlds on the same run!

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All of my crazy babble aside, the moral of this story is…GO OUTSIDE! No matter what the weather is, get yourself outside! Plan out the ideal adventure or just wander around until you find what you didn’t know you were looking for. It’s always worth it. Always. If you’re anything like me the more time you spend outside the more fulfilling life becomes. It’s science, proven by my sanity.

Sure, I skipping some rather important responsibilities today but my time outside was worth it…and all those little tasks got done this afternoon. This is my version of my “work/life balance” at the moment and I couldn’t be more thankful. Maybe tomorrow will be another day of sunshine, but even if it’s cloudy I’ll still be outside. I need to get groceries and around here even that counts as an adventure — I’ll take the long way through the Salt Mines and up the single track buried under fall leaves. #winning

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