Solalex: Tour de l'Argentine
A relatively easy run through a little paradise
Distant thunder shook the towering walls around us as we locked up the car, optimistic that MeteoSwiss was right about it being a dry-ish day. Had we used our experience, rather than our app, we would have spent the day in the office. It was pitch black. Off we went.
An hour later, with our shoes caked in mud and soaked from a fine drizzle, I uttered the words one must never, ever, say when in the mountains, "It's only another 10km, how much worse can it be?"
Of course it got worse, far worse, and our run of the French speaking Vaud's Tour de l'Argentine turned into a recon mission for a sunny day. Even with torrential rain, lightning strikes, and a dicey, slippery traverse, we knew this run was quality. We'd just have to return for photos.
Solalex, tucked away in a side valley near Villars, is one of those finds in the Alps where you just can't believe how pleasant life can be. And it's here where you start and finish the Tour de l'Argentine, a loop around a long chain of peaklets on the Arête de l'Argentine. This is a true running tour that really starts after the first climb to the Refuge Giacomini, after which is almost all quality, and not too steep, trail cruising. While not a tour set amongst big, alpine peaks, this is a route that will have you gaping at a utopia-like landscape, as well as impressive menu cards that include local faire with cheesy names like Croûte au fromage, le Modzet de Véronique or Vacherin Mont d’Or au four - of course there is always a crêpe.
While the Alps are surely the draw for most traveling trail runners, a visit to Solalex is not going to disappoint.
Start: 46.285747, 7.133198
With muddy traverses and sections of karst, the route is best done in dry weather.
Finish hungry, then visit one of the many valley restaurants for local cuisine.
At the top of the climb from Solalex and headed for the Refuge Giacomini.
Beginning the descent from the Col des Essets to the Plan des Bouis.
Letting the legs go on the long flatish Plan des Bouis.
With farmers calling in their cows for milking far below, we ran through a landscape we weren't sure was real.
Trail running at its very best.
Turning the corner on the Arête de l'Argentine and about to begin the big descent back to Solalex.
The last descent drops you into a wild flower filled meadow and lush forest, then right to the car parked at the Solalex Restaurant...
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