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A walk up the Vallon de Nant, 2014

with the clouds in and out


The Pont de Nant is a nature reserve area in the shadow of the Grand Muveran, in the Swiss pré-alps, up the seasonal road from the village of Les Plans-sur-Bex: the "Réserve naturelle du Vallon de Nant".

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

We park at the trailhead at Pont de Nant at 1240m and start up into the closed valley of Nant. (According to Henri Suter, 'Nant' and its related forms are a common Swiss place name, from an Indo-European root signifying a torrent in a deep valley.) 2 June 2014.

-- Take it easy, girls. The grass will be coming along here, too, soon.

The restaurant at Pont de Nant

The restaurant, and the Lion d'Argentine up the hill a ways

La Thomasia alpine botanical garden, founded in 1891 in honor of a great botanist from the university, possibly the oldest alpine garden at this altitude -- it predates by five years the founding of La Rambertia alpine garden at the top of the Rochers de Naye overlooking Montreux and Lake Geneva.

There are 3,000 mountain plants here, from mountain regions all over the world (La Rambertia has 900). Not very colorful at the moment, but it's only the 2nd of June.

Perhaps that's the gardener's house.

We persist -- we're at about 1270m, with the walls of the Grand Muveran (3051m) looming down from the left.

We're following the creek L'Avançon de Nant.

Decorative reminders of former eras

Today we're just walking up to the only farm in the closed valley, the Chalet de Nant, about 3km up the track.

A carrefour of mountain paths, leading up both sides of the narrow valley. The tripod houses one of the 12 "panneaux didactiques", or information panels, spaced along the walk.

The head of the Vallon de Nant -- the top of the Dents de Morcles (2969m) is shrouded in cloud, but even if there were no fog, the summit wouldn't be in this photo anyway.

A herd of chamois displeased by our arrival on the scene

The Chalet de Nant (1500m)

A glance upward to the east -- the Petit Muveran is up there somewhere.

Chamois lurking in the trees, waiting for us to leave

The head of the valley, towards the Col (or pass) des Martinets

Towards the farm

Ambitious alternatives in all directions. The white-and-red decoration signifies "bring your best hiking shoes and leave your vertigo at home".

There's not much grass up here yet to make it worth walking the great beasts up the road.

Head of the valley

The Col des Pauvres, 2111m ('pass of the unfortunate people') somewhere up there to the west -- Marlowe's mom and I walked up over that and around down the other side in 1982; my notes just say "some scrambling".

Time to start back

The Vallon de Nant [a 'vallon' is just a small valley]

And piles of stuff that's been washing down off the mountain for millennia

This is a recommended walk -- easy, 45 minutes each way, and thought-provoking scenery in every direction.

A mess of stuff along the side of the Grand Muveran (which itself is way up there in the fog)

Another tripod of information panels on the geology, botany, etc.

Kristin's wearing her hiking sandals, which let the feet breathe.

Back to Pont de Nant. That thing up behind is the Lion of the Argentine (2273m), the southwestern end of the Arête de L'Argentine, a long impressive ridge that runs between the massifs of Les Diablerets and the Grand Muveran.

The Thomasia garden

And the restaurant (-cum-hotel) at Pont de Nant

This is the view up the other direction, towards the Col des Essets (leftish) and the Cabane de Plan-Névé (right, behind the buttress).


An earlier visit -- a long time ago

Marlowe's mom in the Vallon de Nant in 1984, carrying Marlowe along

Proud parents, two days before Marlowe was born


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 14 July 2014.


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