Sunday, 16 September 2012

Snow fun

Well it is fun getting to play in the snow, and that's just what I managed to do on our next walk up near the Lac d'Anterne.  First though we had a day of mooching about.  He said they were tired after two days walking.  I said I didn't understand that, after all I felt perfectly fine and for me it had only been ONE day. (You're not going to forgive me are you?) Nope, why should I? (Ah get over it there's not a lot we can do about it.)  I'm going to huff for ever.  (No you're not, you're a happy bear and happy bears can't manage a petted lip for very long.) Well, OK then, you're right sticking out that lower lip was getting a bit tiring. Shall we get on?

After a day of mooching around and reading and stuff it was time for the hills again.  The weather forecast was good so I got to go, though when we set out in the car the cloud looked a bit low and misty.  It reminded both John and himself of 2004 when they had walked from Samoens all the way to the lake and to the next refuge.  We drove and drove for what seemed like ages and dodged the road crew who were laying tar and stones until we finally made it to our car park quite high up the mountain at 1180m/3870ft in fact. In 2004 they had walked all that way first and the cloud only lifted when they walked through it after the lake where we finished up.
It was still a bit gloomthy when we set out through the woods, but as we got higher up the sun came out and suddenly we were above the clouds.  Staff says it's called a temperature inversion, but how can that be when we weren't standing on our heads.  We were definitely the right way up, so that can't be right.  (It just means that the valley temperature was lower than that higher up so all the mist was down low and it was sunny up on top.) Well it's to clever  by half, and much too much for a bouncefill brain.
We stopped for a break to take in the view and I got to sit on John's rucksack for a few minutes. Isn't it pretty with those mountings sticking up through the mist?  In the second picture you can see that I'm taking on plenty of water.  You have to do that when you're walking and I hoped John wouldn't notice.  (Well, he did notice later when he ran out of water just about this point on the way back down!) Oops, sorry John.  (No harm done, I think he's forgiven you.)
On we walked, and on and on. Before he says anythin' I suppose I should say - on they walked and on and on. They walked off the track so we could see this view of the valley.  Isn't it gorgeous?  It was a bit scary standing down by the cross, because just beyond it was the very quick way down to the valley. The cross was already at 1818m/5965ft and the valley just behind was at about 1318m/4325ft, and that's a long way down in one step!!!!! About 640m/2100ft up from the car park and more to come. 
My tummy was telling me it was time for a little something, and just in the nick of time we reached the Alfred Wills Refuge. Now remember that genepi liqueur? Well it turns out that the Mt Blanc Brewery makes genepi beer, so we just had to try some and very very tasty it was too.  He and I are licking our lips at the memory of it.  It slipped over very nicely indeed, but at 5.9% we decided that one bottle would be plenty.
Lunch when it came was a fantastic plate of charcuterie, two types of sausage, dry cured ham and three sorts of cheese.  Coo, it was all we could do to finish it.  I liked the gherkins too, but they made me burp later on and he complained about that.
He has written a blog about the organisation of these refuges on his work website It's something to do with Lean processes, but after we finished all that food we weren't feeling lean, quite the opposite. He witters on about how the people who run the refuges have to be very smart and plan to get the food, beer and wine up there on donkey back. Not to mention the gas for cooking.  It's all very clever and he thinks so too.
We were soon finished and try as I might I couldn't get any more out of that beer bottle!

On we went even higher and we rushed on ahead of John. I was able to get my photo taken on he path to the top of the hill at 2120m/6955ft before we dropped about 50m/170ft to the lake, our final destination. If you look beyond John you can just make up the huts of the refuge where we had our lovely lunch.

As were neared the top of the hill I saw this friendly rock so I sat on it and had my photo taken again. Well it looked friendly, but maybe it was the beer that made me feel that way.

I had to be careful where I sat 'cos lots of dirty birds had been there and the rock was quite besmirched, poor thing.

At the lake we had a well earned rest and I decided to go down and maybe think of a paddle.  The water was very cold so I didn't go in.  It's a snow melt lake and there had been some recent snow though you couldn't tell it that day.  We saw  the curious sight of lots and lots of big plump tadpoles swimming in the shallows as we approached.  Imagine seeing tadpoles this late and not in March.  Aren't the hills behind the lake special?  Just beyond them is a dessert desert.  (That's right it's not a creme brûlée it's a dry place where it hardly ever rains and people come from far and wide to see it - though we didn't.) Those hills are the Rocher des Fizz, maybe you have to drink champagne when you climb them.

Then we looked around and saw some snow!!!! "Hooray," I said, "I want to make snowballs." I scampered over there as fast as my wee legs could take me. It was a bit warm really for snow and it was a bit soggy, but I got to sit beside it on a stone to stop my bot getting wet.

So that was about it. We had a lovely little sit down, but soon enough the rucksacks were slung on backs and off we tramped all the way down to the pub at the car park, where we just had time for a quick beer before we headed back into the village for our well deserved dinner.

Until next time, hugs from me,


  1. Oh Jock, SNOW. My humans miss snow so much. We are going to be on the move one more time. Yup, we are moving to New England and I will finally get to see snow. Mom says she will lay in the backyard during the first storm and let the snow cover her. That sounds pretty COLD. She is a nut - but really, really homesick.

    I love these pictures. Was the staff on good behavior?


  2. Well we hope you threw a snowball at himself, fancy running out of beer like that!

    Jack & The Clan

  3. Hi Jock,

    That was an amazing journey and the photos! Was it as breath taking in person as it looks to be in the photos? I do hope that you were able encourage your staff as they climbed because you know, they appreciate that kind of thing. You're a very hearty bear to hang on for that, but I have to say, it looks totally worth it!

    Thanks for sharing your adventure!

    ~ginger (& Sebastian)


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