St-Imier to Neufchatel 26 km
Walking a narrow river valley, turning at a gap in the surrounding range to climb over to the next, then crossing it for the next– that’s walking in this corner of the world. Each kilometer brings something different– wheat field, yew forest, meadow with milk cows, beech forest–sometimes walking a dirt path, sometimes a paved narrow road–the greatest variety. What was supposed to be a long day was thankfully shortened by good surface and steady walking. The first day in a very long time that started off warm and just got hot. Crossing the middle valley near Chazard was in full baking sun which, because of my perpetual spring year, I have rarely dealt with. Some excitement occurred when closing a steel gate. I accidentally punctured a can of Budvar (Budweiser from the Czech Republic– had an extra one left over which I stuck into the outside of my pack). Suddenly something was foaming down my back, which we resolved by drinking it down–a substitute for our usual mid-morning break. Rounding the last ridge, we soon could see lake Neufchatel with the alps in the distance, starting to feel like the Switzerland I expected to be hiking.
T. Hugh Crawford