Annual Labor Day Weekend Hike

01 Sep. 2012

Up until the Thursday before the hike the weather forecast for the Labor Day weekend was excellent. From then on the arrival of the window of good weather shifted a day at a time. By the time we met at the bus stop in front of the railway station in Biel it was raining. Nevertheless, not counting the dogs, six persons showed up. The bus brought us to Les Prés d’Orvin from where we started walking. It was still raining. The higher we got the more we were enveloped in fog, making it difficult to follow the hiking path. Still, we managed to find the Métairie du Bois Raiguel, a farmhouse restaurant in the middle of nowhere, in time for lunch. We were quite hungry and wet and glad to be able to eat and dry out a bit. The food was delicious and gave us the strength to go on. Because the rain and the fog the hiking path was soggy and difficult to follow. So we decided to follow the country road after lunch. We stopped everyone we encountered, mostly people in cars and therefore not exposed to the elements, to make sure we were still walking in the right direction and to ask how much longer we had to go. Fortunately the distance remaining was becoming progressively shorter, which encouraged us to persevere. We were already on the grounds of the hotel when we were first able to recognize its silhouette through the fog. We stripped out of our wet clothes and had a warm shower before meeting for dinner. Again the food was quite good. Tired as we were, we still played a few rounds of the old parlor game consequences (*) before we retired.

The prospects for continuing the hike on Sunday as planned were dim. The outlook was for more of the same weather as on Saturday. We were considering breaking off the hike and returning home, when someone on the hotel staff suggested we could continue hiking at a lower altitude to escape the unpleasant weather at the top of the Jura. When on Sunday morning the weather looked as hopeless as it had been the night before, we decided to do just that. By a combination of post bus and funicular we descended to the vineyards above Ligerz where we followed the pilgrims path in the direction of Neuchatel. The weather was overcast but dry, balmy compared with the day before. By lunchtime we had reached La Neuveville (about half way between Biel and Neuchatel) where we stopped for a meal in a very nice Italian restaurant. The path onward from there to Neuchatel did not look particularly attractive and so we decided to call it a day after lunch. So we got on the train, each in his own direction. By the evening everyone one had return home safely.

Michael Helke & James Lu

(*) Here’s a sample of what we produced:

In the year 2525
in the nick of time
Mitt Romney
who is best know for throwing a shoe at George W. Bush
with Swiss precision
and the consequence was that they all got wet!