Perhaps a little ambitiously, we decided to take the train from Chaminox to the Mer de Glace (glacier) and then tackle one of the hikes in the alps. We couldn’t help but get caught up in all the expedition atmosphere: the signs around the village warning about how to hold your ice pick in public, the uber-hiking boots worn by everybody, the rock climbing rope end-of-season sales, and Sir Edmund Hilary-wanna-bes in the village.
The sight of the glacier was a little disappointing. The HUGE valley carved deep by ice….and then the little itty bitty glacier up the top of the valley. Uh oh, lucky we visited now ’cause climate change is killing that kitty kat. Its more like an ice cube than a glacier.
So, on advice of the sign at the start of the path, we followed the suggested itinerary to the Temple de la Nature. What a bad idea that was…one hour in, and the sides of the track get narrower, and narrower, and steeper and steeper, and higher and higher, and – as usual – my mind starts predicting the worst: “If one of us slips and falls, who knows where here??? How would I get help?” That’s when I wondered where all the trekkers had gone? One lone, young lady, who looked like she was planning to sleep up there, on the side of the alps was the only person we saw the entire hour into the walk, sorry, expedition.
The narrower the track got, the more I wanted to dump the promised panoramic views, and join the beginners track….one hour back where we started.
Naturally, my increasingly intense whinging and stories of doom reached fever pitch and the keenly sought after tipping point, as they say, that we agreed to go back and follow the beginners track.
I don’t have photos of the first track we followed, because I needed both hands to balance and not slip off the slide of the alp into the glacier.
I do, however, have photos of us on what they called, the beginners track:
Helicopters were buzzing around us, practicing their mountain rescue skills. It was comforting to know that if we got ourselves into a scrape, then help was not far away.
At the altitude of the track above the Chaminox Valley, I was cured of my desire for paragliding (given we were at many stages above the altitude of the paragliders) and seeing the helicopter fall down the valley, cured me of my wish to take a helicopter ride around the alps.
Arrived back in the Chaminox Valley, and collapsed for a drink. A group of Brits sat at the table next to us, with their paste-y white skin, wearing Tenzing Norgay-ice expedition sunglasses, hiking boots, hiking pants, and ice picks. …..but there’s always one in every crowd, isn’t there. One guy, was so badly sunburnt, it was hard to even look at him. He went off to a farmacie to buy a hat. He returned with one of those pre-school kiddie, flap-type hats, and told his group that the pharmacist had told him: Too late. You think????
In an earlier post, I’d hinted that France would be even better, if Italians were running it. Wouldn’t you know it, but the very next day, every french person who served me at the cafe, restaurant, supermarket, hiking store, was really really helpful.
Am slowly making my way through every pastry offered for sale in the village bakeries. Haven’t encountered a bad one yet 🙂
And am continuing my quest to acquire every possible pillow perfume in the world:
Dinner has mostly been a picnic on our balcony, but tonight is the second last night in France, so we’re off to have our apertivi in the piazza and then savour more cheese saturated steak….mmmmm. It is good though in the evening to eavesdrop on all the hikers conversations and pictures of their day hiking on the glaciers and the mountains. Now, if eavesdropping was a sport, I’d be a gold medal winner every time!!