Mid-September 1985 was a weekend du visite at Perceval, Camphill. Co-worker and friend Elke Sixt, from Stuttgart, and I decided to take advantage of the free weekend with a two-day excursion, planning to hike Le Moléson, Saturday morning taking the CFF train, St-Prex–Lausanne, then a train régional to Palézieux-Gare, where we boarded the TPF (Transport Public Fribourgeois) for Châtel-St-Denis.
The skies were overcast, a muted silver-grey.
We hoisted our backpacks and headed through town and east along the road and field path just north of Fruence before crossing the Autoroute N 12 for Les Paccots about another three kilometres, then turning north near the hamlet of Les Rosalys, almost immediately crossing a stream, Dévins des Dailles, and soon after a larger one, Veveyse de Châtel—following a small northeasterly valley of woods past Vieux Gîte and between the two small patches of meadow and the farmsteads Moillertson and Les Pueys, winding our way up at La Pudze and Chalet-Jncrota along the western slope of the Teysachaux, 1909 metres, and further along the farms Le Villard and Gros Plané where we left the narrow paved country lane for the footpath east to the farmhouse Petit Plané at 1478 metres.
Here another trail, now ascending southward for our goal, Le Moléson at 2002 metres. By now, the fog had rolled in so thick, we could see no more than a few metres ahead. On occasion, we heard the small bells of sheep, and suddenly there loomed the building at the top of the gondola ascending from Moléson-Village.
We stopped for a tripod photo with my ever-reliable Nikon FE2 and lunched on bread and slices of smoked ham and fragments of Gruyère cheese.
Then, we had to find the trail down the other side, which we found, almost by accident, when I came close to stepping off into the pea soup at the steep edge nearby, thereafter maintaining a heightened awareness of our descent.
Down the steep slope we stepped, soon passing a Sennerhütte, alpine dairy, at Tsuatsau-d’en Haut, 1735 metres, with an exchange of “bonjour” with the young Fribourgeois repairing a broken window, now beneath the fog. Down we continued past -d’en Bas at 1349 metres, and picked our way down to the upper arms of La Marive, the gurgling stream soothing to the ear. Soon, the homestead of Plan Maro at 1136 metres, and a few zigzags later the Chapelle de l’Evi at 938 metres.
Suddenly, another 500 metres along and we heard the clanging and scraping of metal above. We both looked up to our left and, about 30 metres above, a grey metal door opened in the rock face of a cliff, revealing a Swiss soldier in full gear, dragging on a cigarette. He looked down, saw us, and slammed the door shut. This was again proof of the existence of tunnels and other hidden chambers and such in the Swiss mountains.
Soon, we were in Albeuve, situated on the rail line feeding Bulle, Gruyères, Château-d’Oex, and beyond. We rode the train down to Montbovon and transferred to the MOB (Montreux Oberland Bernois), riding through the western end of the Golden Pass into Montreux, arriving early evening for dinner.
We had originally intended to sleep in the mountains for one night—hence our backpacks—but surprised ourselves how fast we finished the trek in one day.
Elke suggested the Caveau des vignerons for raclette and a local white wine, which we enjoyed at a leisurely pace.
We got into Lausanne about 21.00 and were met with a 1½-hour wait—all trains between Lausanne and Genève delayed, as trains had to detour through the freight rail yard at Renens—the cause, an accident between two railyard shunters and the 12-noon train régional for Morges and St-Prex, the passenger train having neglected to stop between the yellow and red signals at 777 metres further on towards Morges. The driver had suffered a heart attack. All told, five fatalities—the driver, a conductor, and three first class passengers in the coach immediately behind the engine, a twisted wreck resembling crumpled paper, and 30–40 others with minor to serious injuries. One of the mother’s travelling to Perceval, for her child for the weekend, received minor leg injuries. We did not make it home until late, close to eleven.