The Valley Of The Dry Water

Gentlemen, respect the memories

Participating in sports (although sporadically yet spectacularly during my childhood in Poland) has always been important to me. However, it was upon my arrival in Switzerland that I started to run regularly, like… a Swiss watch.

Lausanne’s sporting infrastructure in particular is naturally designed to encourage more physical activity. With lakeside promenades, health paths in the city and wilder but still well-maintained trails in the surrounding mountains and forests, how could anyone resist the urge to work out?

Creux du Van

Creux du Van

Since the International Olympic Committee and Museum as well as other sporting federations are headquartered in Lausanne, people run, swim, ride a bike and rollerblade, both in the organized sport competitions, as well as every day.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
/Bruce Lee/

I started to enjoy all these favors and facilities. Motion, running especially has become a steppingstone for me from “shrunken” working mode over the keyboard. Nights and days spent in the office caused that the body in its natural wisdom sought a counterweight and opportunity to straighten up.

The pleasure of running is cleansing, refreshing, uplifting and motivating. It is wonderful to start the day with running. You wake before dawn, feel the morning chill, meet a hedgehog or two returning to his burrow, hear birds singing, wake up witnessing the morning auroras arise

When the morning auroras arise,
Thee earth, Thee sea.
Thee sing every element,
Be praised, great God!
 
[...] I can barely wipe the eyes,
Soon to my Lord I cry,
To my God in heaven,
I’m looking for him around me.

/Franciszek Karpinski, Song of the Morning/

Then you come back home, shower, eat a breakfast rich in carbohydrates and rush off to work. And there are deadlines, not mine millions to count, the atmosphere of stress at the level of surgical operation on infant’s open heart, a virtual budget and the same deviations, “proactive reactions”, coming out in front of a team, jumping on the job and building a career path. The brain is so charged with endorphin after a morning run, that all these problems are not terrible, what’s more, they are ridiculous. Yes, my dears – sport is health and a sound mind in a healthy body.

Wait a minute, I should have not to write about work and just look into the bright future. But I see that seventeen years of life cannot be just erased. That’s the way it was, sometimes better, sometimes worse and sometimes horribly, but it was a part of my life. Very big part. As the song says:

We pursue for the happiness, we reach for the stars,
Rapidly we want to change the world,
But it is most important what lives inside us,
Gentlemen, let’s respect the memories.

/Skaldowie, Respect memories/

Now, in retrospect, I see that it was a life in a golden cage.

Mirrors on the ceiling

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said, ‘we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’.
/Eagles, Hotel California/

Fortunately, I already left this cage or rather was kindly removed for the common good because I would never made this decision myself.

Who of you raise a complaint, for me his complaint
Will be like a dog’s barking, who so deploy itself
To patiently and long worn collar,
That finally ready to bite the hand that jerks it.

/Adam Mickiewicz, My Muscovites friends/

In addition to the pleasure of running, which has always been and is the most important, I managed to complete some official running events:

• three times the half-marathon of Lausanne

• Morat-Fribourg run

• Grand Prix of Bern

• 10 km and 20 km of Lausanne

• two times the inter-company course BOBST

• marathon Nice-Cannes

• two times Sierre-Zinal mountain run

Sierre-Zinal

Sierre-Zinal

and my race calendar for 2014 has been already set.

If you don’t practice you don’t deserve to win.

/Andre Agassi/

Sierre-Zinal

Why on the run?

I ran today… for enjoyment, health and strengthening of willpower. Running, like many other aspects of life, needs consistency. Receiving natural vitamin D from the sunlight, must also take place regularly. Samurais used to say that “consequence is more important than the sword”.

This time I ran in the area of Cheseaux-sur-Lausanne and Crissier. The path was so interesting that it’s technical description I placed in a separate article “Through the gorge of La Mèbre“.

As it often happens during the run, the crunch of stones under my shoes, the wind and the sun on the face introduced me into perfect mood for reflection. In previous post I wrote why Mammut. Now the time has come to explain the meaning of the second part of blog’s name…

…why on the run?

If this had happened 30 years ago in Poland, one would assume that toilet paper was thrown to the shop and I run to take a favorable place in the queue or even though subscribe to the waiting list. On the run I pray that bang goes the communist authorities, central planning and the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, and to finally the capitalism has come.

No! Mishit.

I am on the run now, when coveted capitalism dominates around the world (with a few exceptions like “Patria o Muerte” of Fidel Castro). So maybe I’m on the run to adapt to the rushing world, which still accelerates in pursuit of profit and where the name “rat race” does not apply to these rodents from “The Plague” and ” Ratatouille” but to elegant ladies and gentlemen in suits:

My colleagues are racing with me
Because everyone is ready to the race
My colleagues are the best of the better
Thirty- floor in the office building with the glass doors.

/Kazik, Youngsters/

No! Mishit again.

Simply, “one day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run” – I hope you recognize the movie I am referring to.

I was running mostly in Cracow, where the concentration of particulate matter in the air exceeds safety standards. I really liked traffic free road through the rail loading station in Bieżanow. It was built by the Germans during the Second World War. Via this route I was running towards the Monument on Mount Kaim, which commemorates the refutation by the Austro-Hungarian army, the Russian army offensive, wanting to get to Cracow during the First World War.

Monument on Mount Kaim

Monument on Mount Kaim

Sometimes I was running outside the city, mainly to Wolski Forest which dominates over contaminated Cracow hutch. I even managed to accomplished the First Run Through Będkowska Valley and run-up or rather walk-up to the Three Crowns peak in Pieniny.

Three Crowns

View of the Tatras from the top of the Three Crowns

The real (re) start, however, had a place “over the water large and clean”…

Over the water large and clean
Standing rows of rocks
And the transparent water
Reflected their black faces.

Over the water large and clean
Black clouds sailed,
And the transparent water
Reflected their miserable shapes;

Over the water large and clean
Flashed and thunder roared along,
And the transparent water
Reflected the light, the voice disappeared.

And the water as it used to be clean,
Is large and clear.

I see this water around
And all faithfully reflect,
And proud rocks forehead,
And the lightnings – I skip.

Rocks have to stand and threaten,
The clouds rain carry,
Lightnings blare and die,
Me swim, swim and swim.

/Adam Mickiewicz, Over the water large and clean/

Over the water large and clean

Over the water large and clean

La Cascade de la Mèbre

Through the gorge of La Mèbre

The trail, which I will describe as the first one in my blog is not so easy. It includes some muddy, steep and slippery places but most of it is simply a pure pleasure. I will point out in the description the areas that need special attention, but everyone who is going to run this path, does it at his own risk. I share this route with the readers of the blog Mammut On The Run since it is picturesque, varied and most importantly, little frequented. It passes through the northwest of Lausanne between Cheseaux-sur-Lausanne and Crissier where the river La Mèbre cuts a fabulous gorge in the sandstone rocks. With the suburban train LEB, the route is easily accessible from the center of Lausanne, from the initial station Lausanne-Flon. Stop where you need to get off is Bel-Air. Train timetable is available on http://www.leb.ch/.

Drivers can use the car park for guests at the Fondation de Vernand, Chemin de Praz-Lau 5, Cheseaux-sur Lausanne. Just remember not to occupy the parking spaces reserved for the foundation. It is a charitable organization, created in 1972. It looks after about 600 children and adults with intellectual disabilities and personality disorders.

Run to the end of the street Chemin de Praz-Lau in west direction, bypass the trash and utility room and on the gravel path next to the forest turn left. The trail leads to the south. After about 1 kilometer run through the clearing, where on the right hand side there is the forest tree nursery. Our road turns a slight curve to the right, back into the woods. When reach the yellow signposts Vaud Rando, turn right towards Crissier. The trail is marked with yellow diamonds.

There is a clearing with picnic and fire places a few meters to the right of our route. In the autumn and winter clearing is visible from our path while in spring and summer is covered with lush vegetation. In the clearing stands a monstrous stone – La Pierre à Cambot . It is a granite rock of alpine origin which was brought here by the Rhone glacier from the vicinity of Martigny about 25,000 years ago.

Run to an asphalt road Chemin de la Pierre à Cambot, turn right and after a few meters turn left into the path of the forest to the west. On the right, another forest tree nursery. Gravel road turns slowly to the right, due north. When get to the place where there are yellow arrows on the trees on the both sides of the road, turn left to a forest path and run down by the wooden steps. Just before the wooden bridge over the stream, turn right down according to the signs. By the wooden steps and footbridges Le trou de la Sorcière run down. Caution, slippery! I know what I write because it happened that I landed here on my butt. Carefully reach the bottom of the valley and by wooden bridge cross the river La Mèbre, which will be our companion until the end of the expedition. We leave for a moment the yellow trail. Here we ran about 2 kilometers from the start of the adventure.

Behind the bridge slightly run up and turn left into poorly visible forest path along the river taking care to muddy and slippery places. This section requires a bit of intuition, because the path I trampled for you is not perfect yet. Run further having the river all the time on the left side untill the rock wall, which bypass from the left side, all the time with a stream below on the left. After a slightly muddy ascent reach the asphalt road Chemin du Devens and turn left, running down until about 3 kilometers from the start. On the traffic ban sign, there are again the yellow markings of the tourist path. There are also brown indicators Sentier de la Cascade which will help to find the way until the finish line. So, turn left, down to the forest, following the signs. The road is strewn with sawdust. Run to the fault rock and by the wooden steps reach the riverbed and the waterfall La Cascade de la Mèbre.

Stairway to the waterfall

Stairway to the waterfall

You need to hurry up with a visit to this place, because the water of the river La Mèbre carries a large amount of sand that abrades the layers of rocks forming a waterfall. When the water will reach the softer layers of sandstone, erosion will accelerate and from the waterfall only a flat bed of the stream will remain.

La Cascade de la Mèbre

La Cascade de la Mèbre

Continue farther due south along the river and run under the highway suspended on concrete pillars above the ravine. On the left side there are concrete water tanks. Interestingly, the river disappears underground for some time. The path leads still to the south. After a slight ascent cross the gate of rock and reach the next natural curiosity – La Pierre à Quatre Sous. Looking at the surrounding rocks and roots entwined around them, creating fancy supports, it is easy to understand the speed at which spalling of the sandstone occurs. From between surrounding boulders that us run out following the sharply path sprinkled with sawdust, and on top of the ascent turn left. The path rises and falls and about 4 kilometers from the start leads us by the next wooden bridge to the other side of the river La Mèbre.

To the other side

To the other side

Just after the bridge, turn right and continue our trip along the river, which is this time on our right side. All the time we head down stream. At the next signpost continue to run by the Sentier de la Cascade, leaving a yellow trail twisting to the right. We arrive to the residuals of channels for fish farming and to the area of the old water mill (Le Moulin – Dessus). The first mention of this place appears in documents as early as 1337.

Le Moulin - Dessus

Le Moulin – Dessus

The route leads further down the river and at about 5 kilometer from the start, runs along the fence of the used cars’ parking, and then to a busy street Route de Prilly.

Route de Prilly

Route de Prilly

It is needed still to run to the right, toward Crissier to the bus number 18 (Bre) and back to the Flon where the expedition started for people traveling by public transport. A motorized and/or more motivated must follow their footsteps and reach the beginning of the route and take their vehicles or again use the green line LEB.

Below the trail recorded by GPS:

2013-12-02 12.04.00

Why Mammut?

I ran today. For relaxation, for health, and to “keep all blog things, and ponder them in my heart”. Cold weather had to temper body and spirit, according to the principle anima sana in corpore sano, and beautifully shining sun delivered the appropriate dose of vitamin D. I ran down to Ouchy and continued the route by the boulevards along the lake to the east. When I ran by Quai d’Ouchy at the Olympic Museum I began to contemplate…

…why Mammut in the blog’s name?

Because I was impressed by carton movie “Ice Age” from 2002.

Reaching deeper into the recesses of the memory, I remembered that about 20 years ago I saw Mammut live “for the very first time”, like Roxette sings. It was the orange backpack with the lovely Mammut logo. It was totally different in comparison with the backpacks existing on Polish market at that time. This backpack had ventilation system which helps to prevent annoying perspiration. It was very expensive for Polish student but I couldn’t resist. I spent my whole monthly scholarship and I bought it. The backpack was with me on hiking and biking roads and on the running paths. I have it still today. Used… dirty… scuffed… but ready to be “on the road again”.

Eons have passed since my first and only purchase of the Mammut merchandise. One day I have landed in Switzerland, the home country of Mammut and realized that I have landed in paradise. Shops full of amazing goods with the Mammut logo on them. Those products are still the synonym of the highest quality for me. I bought already a lot of them like jackets, trousers, T-shirts, backpacks and hats… and it happened – friends started calling me The Mammut Man.