Friday, July 24, 2009

1st summer night away

After a slow morning together, I strapped on my boots and waved good bye to Elias and David.

Excited to enjoy my time...

It didn't take long before I began to notice my own thoughts in my head as I walked and sweated.

Strange to think I was in the alps as I could of been in the rockies or even New Zealand...

Asters and young sedimentary rock filling my imagination.

Beyond me, deep coloured seeded pod plants and in the distance one of my first of many passes.

But first, it's been over an hour or more, time for a stop for cafe at Refuge de Moede Anterne.

In case the trails weren't clear enough, a sign post for me.

On bluebird days it seems redundant but in whiteout the system is fantastic!

A quick look back as I ascended the pass, Mt. Blanc massif in the distance.

Notice the wind, this should of been a good hint for my next day's wx!

Across the other side and the terrain changed dramatically, no sheep grazing and a few hardy alpine plants.

Descending quite a bit we return to green.

And precious alpine variety of forget me nots.

By now I was thoroughly enjoying the the contemplative space.

A reminder of last few days storm rain and snow.

Dropping much more in elevation, I come to another refuge.

It's been over 3 hours of walking and incredible diversity.

I'm doing a loop around this island of rock, so I stopped for another break at the simple shacks below.

A look into a completely different valley and town.

After a massive descent I rebegin climbing up yet another valley.

Same rock but the walls are much closer together.

And gift me with a series of waterfalls.

Each few hundred metres of climbing I wander by another torrent, the cold air cooling my heated system.

The trail wound under and beside a cliff, handrails making the route seem easy.

Looking back....

And forward as I cross yet another col.

The terrain mellows out and reminds me of farming pastures.

I pass a church with a sign saying "chalet de sale" thinking it was some funny english joke...but yes, I have arrived at the town and refuge for my night de Sales.

After six hours of hiking I'm ready to hang out but unprepared for how much excess of time I felt.

Strange to be away from my role as parent, off duty...

After sharing a massive bunk bed with many others, getting up at 6am seemded like a great idea.

It was dark not from lack of light but storm and rain cloud dancing over me.

The sheep were better prepared than me as in my haste I had only jean pants and had to borrow David's long johns from his Matterhorn trip, yikes!

But here I am pretty happy to have the rainy trail for me, les moutons and chamoix (form of goat) that I found at the next pass.

Again the terrain changes, a blob of sedimentary rock drapes across my path.

In the distance, the wide notch is my need pass to ascend.

Looking back again as I go up....again this time alone as it is quite early morning.

I chose this route for diversity and for all its ups and downs.

So much french bread and cheese motivates me to work.

At this col, I actually get a chance to call home base, the cell phone range was blocked by limestone rock.

We make a plan for David and Elias to pick me up in two hours, just one more pass to hike up to!

Unfortunately I'm guessing these pricklies are a result of too much grazing by sheep and cattle.

Another landscape change as I enter into the dessert of rock and ascend to the next col.

After two hours of hiking and approaching lunch I find my mind wandering.

Remembering my lessons of being in present time, I stop to enjoy where I am.

And literally, under my bum, is an incredible array of fossils sticking out from the rock as if massive signposts to pay attention.

That I am....

The limestone forms incredible crevasses and caves which in summer are easy to jump but apparently in winter are hazardous combined with snow.

I'm apparently just about to enter a ski resort and dozens of lifts, telecabines and freaks....

Incredible how I can hike in a valley so close to development and have it not impact it.

Here we are, a high speed lift that I can jump on, to avoid any damage to my knees on descent.

Notice in the distance, Mt.Blanc massif has returned, stunning views from more afar.

Back to alps development and incredible engineering feats..

And to a rich, full and busy life with my big and little monkey...

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