Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2017-2018

In the dreadful, and hopefully only, Year of Trump

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.

A springtime walk down the Gorge du Chauderon

The walk down the Gorge begins in Les Avants, a quiet village at 968m overlooking Montreux on Lake Geneva, easily reached on the MOB (Montreux Oberland Bernois) rail line.

We've walked down frequently since my first time in 1981, and on a fine spring day, 24 April 2018, it's just the thing for an afternoon's scenic exercise.

This little creek, running down from Les Avants, is one of several that feed into the Baye de Montreux, a mountain torrent that tumbles 10km down from 1,600m above sea level in the Vaudoise Préalps, into the gorge and out again into the lake in downtown Montreux.

The old path on the left has been replaced by this stair arrangement -- just around the corner ahead, the old path fell into the creek some time ago.

The entire path is well maintained, as the gorge has presumably been a popular outing for some pretty well-heeled people from early days (Joan Sutherland lived here -- Hemingway tobaggoned here just after the Great War). For Les Avants was a leading spot for English tourists in the early 20th century, accessible after 1901 on the MOB train and providing a skiing/sledding mecca with its own little funiculaire rail to a hotel above the village, built in 1910 and still in service with the original cars, renovated and also well maintained.

We're still following our little creek under the cliffs below the pastures around Les Avants.

Waterfalls along the way

The broad track is quite safe in fine weather, with steps and railings where they're needed -- but dicey in the rain, with a muddy trail, and (speaking from experience) with ice down in the gorge, dire.

Cliffs below 'Champ Avant' of Les Avants ('the field out front')

A little switchback

Jumbly old rockfalls


Another switchback down to a nicely secluded campfire spot for festive groups . . .

. . . though the last time we were here, a few years ago, we arrived just after a group had set off and left their fire boldly smoldering.

No fire this time

We've passed some kind of old utility building just above, and the path broadens out for a while from here on.

Roadside attractions

Our little creek has joined the Baye de Montreux a ways back, and now we are, too. ('Baye', according to Henry Suter, is, in many forms and spellings, an old French patois word, from medieval Latin, for a brook or torrent in a ravine.)

Crossing the gorge, at about 740m altitude

Down in the flume

A small road for a while, along the left side of the torrent

Back across to the right side, at 660m

Part of the old water system to Lausanne

Off the road at last, and down the stairs

Sometimes alongside the river, sometimes far above it

Across the stream again

High above the creek

The red-and-white trail markings indicate a mountain trail, requiring a bit of care, whereas yellow markings indicate a more domesticated route.

A bit muddy through this stretch -- very little sunlight to dry things out.

Another party ahead

Back on the right side again

We're not too far now from the end of our walk.

A look back upriver

The A9 motorway or autoroute

The Swiss A9 autoroute where it comes out of the Glion tunnel

Past venerable hydropower stations into the Les Planches neighborhood, Vieux Montreux, the 'Vieille-Ville' or old part of town

The cog rail line from Montreux up past Glion and Caux through tunnels to the mountaintop hotel on the Rochers de Naye at 2025m

In the Ruelle de la Baye (a.k.a. Ruelle du Chauderon) entering the old town

Looking up the Rue du Temple

Down to the Rue du Pont and a temporary traffic jam

The Rue du Pont and its pont, overlooking . . .

. . . the channeled Baye de Montreux, now for various reasons reduced to a trickle, on its way out to the lake

Through the old town

The Theatre Montreux Riviera and the Conservatoire de musique, and a fountain dated 1776

The Rue du Marché

Crossing the rail lines

And back to the rail station and a short ride home, after a scenic walk of about two hours at a comfortable pace.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 28 April 2018.

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