Yesterday evening, I left home at 7:20 pm to go on a run to my favourite lookout point in Lausanne. For many years, Signal de Sauvabelin had enjoyed the top position among my favourite running destinations from home, especially when I lived closer to the city centre. Then this changed to Plaine de Mauvernay at Chalet à Gobet although I would still to like to go running down to Sauvabelin because I would be back home in less than an hour.
However, this winter the sight of the exhaust chimney of the nearby waste incinerator belching out a plume of smoke somehow put me off from Sauvabelin (as I felt that I would be inhaling the fumes from this plant) and I decided to be a little more adventurous and to look out for different itineraries.
So rather than turn left after this awful bunker of a building (so representative of contemporary architecture here in Lausanne), only 5 minutes from home, to carry on towards Croisettes, then through the wood along river Arzilier and then on a several kilometre-long uphill stretch to Mauvernay, …
… I turned right, passed the football pitch of Valmont (which had served as my running track for my very, very early morning runs when I had been preparing for the marathon of Geneva a couple of years ago) …
… then I ran through the cooperative residential area of Praz-Séchaud until I reached the wood just next to the motorway. I do not like the first part of the path through this wood because it runs too close to the motorway with all the cars zooming past at full speed – which, of course, makes me feel the exact opposite of the ‘quasi-transcendental state’ I am trying to reach whenever I go out on a run in the countryside or through the woods! (Hhmmm, maybe this phrase was too strong and I should change my wording a little, say, to a ‘sense of communion with my environment’.)
However, once I reach this point, I simply love it. The path not only goes deeper into the wood but uphill shortly after, which makes it a little harder for my legs 😉
Yesterday evening, I was able to enjoy the added benefit of seeing the beginning of sunset through the trees, which is such an invigorative sight.
For me, the icing on the cake is that once I have reached the top of the hill, I stand before what I believe it to be the remnant of a Celtic artefact: a giant cupula. Despite the fact that this circular patch of excavated ground is left ‘desecrated’ by the litter the revellers who use the spot for bonfire purposes (probably because it is a wonderful lookout point onto Alpes Vaudoises) unashamedly leave behind them almost on a regular basis, the mere sight of this giant cupula after my steep uphill climb always makes me feel that I am being rewarded for my aching calves and thighs. 😉
No longer in Lausanne, I then go through a nice and tidy residential area in Epalinges along a narrow road at the end of which starts another nasty uphill stretch. The object of my run, the lookout point standing before the Protestant church of Croisettes, is visible on the horizon of this picture shot in April of this year.
Although the church (built 1653-1662) is now really within grasp, there is still one very steep hill that needs to be tackled. It is probably the steepest of the whole course …
But once up there, this is the marvellous landscape that is offered as a reward to the eyes of the beholder. It stretches from Alpes Vaudoises (on the far left) with a tiny bit of a view of the Alps in Valais to their sisters in Chablais, then across to the Voirons and Mont Salève (closer to Geneva) and finally to the Jura mountains (on the far right). What a beautiful panorama of Lac Léman and of the surrounding mountains. Having reached this point and enjoyed the view, I usually head back home. But not yesterday as I felt that my legs needed a little extra exercise. So I decided to go a little further up into another wood, that of la Chapelle (unless I am mistaken), up another hill …
I quickly reached the higher parts of the hill and made my way to an area where many trees had been felled, from where I knew I could look onto the farmland below and, further afield, onto my beloved Alpes Vaudoises.
On my way out of the wood, I was fortunate enough to admire a beautiful sunset through the trees.
What a marvellous sight: the departing sun was casting a beautiful orange glow through the trees which illuminated the dead leaves and other tree materials on the ground and it also brought out the dark green of the top of the trees with a nice yellowish band undulating in between. I enjoyed this almost quasi-spiritual scene for a few minutes only because I wanted to see how the ‘Lady of the Hill’ (my nickname) would look like under the last few rays of the day.
Even though I had reached the church too late to enjoy the panorama illuminated with the full force of the sun’s dying glow (from the lookout point behind the church), I got to notice a tree (l’Arbre de la Liberté) which had been planted in 1903 to commemorate the centenary of the Canton of Vaud’s entry into the Swiss Confederation because of the weak orange glow that was reflected on its trunk when I passed by it.
The view on the other side of the church was still very impressive, but I enjoyed it for only a few seconds as I wanted to catch sight of another sweeping view of the lake from a much lower vantage point closer to home, i.e. above Boveresses/Praz-Préchaud.
It was too late: there was only a very faint line of orange on the distant horizon. It did not really matter, however, as the memory of the sunset through the trees at Bois de la Chapelle really made up for the slight disappointment of having reached the place probably 20 minutes too late.
I decided to return home via chemin des Boveresses and through Praz-Préchaud even though I was not expecting much of a view from the bottom part of route de la Corniche. Indeed, at first I wondered why I could not see Tour d’Aï and Tour de Mayen.
It was simply because they could not be seen from that vantage point. A couple of metres further down the road and I could see two very woman-like swellings. How tantalising they looked to me, but not because of their feminine shape. The red circle on the right is a mountain I would have liked to visit this summer — maybe it is not too late …
[View from near La Berneuse, 18 July 2014, 8:05 pm; click to enlarge]
They looked tantalising to me simply because I love going up these peaks (as recounted in two entries: Running in the mountains (Alpes vaudoises) after work part 1 and part 2).
With a sigh, I continued to run down the slope and thus closer to the ugly architecture that has been (and is still being built) near home …
Fortunately, about 20 minutes after having reached home, I remembered to check the view from my study. I was thus able to see the dying glow of the sunset over the Jura mountains. A beautiful scene to close what had been a really beautiful evening.
- Postscript of 13 May to ‘Rain, please go away’
- Running in the mountains (Alpes vaudoises) after work
- Running in the mountains (Alpes vaudoises) after work, part 2
- Running when there is snow at Parc Sauvabelin
- Mauvernay on a Sunday afternoon in winter