.............not all those that wander are lost..............

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Too much to do now...........

...before I fly off to Gatwick tomorrow. Then (don't ask why) I'm catching a flight on Saturday to Bordeaux.
It's been almost a year but I'm taking up an appointment walk leading for HF Holidays for a couple of weeks.

Today I realised I hadn't kept up to date with my walk reports. And apart from last Saturday, which was declared 'Laura's birthday' even though it isn't really till next Tuesday, there has been a walk everyday.  I got a new rucksack (yes, I know I've got loads already) which hopefully will cover those day walks when I have to carry a lot. Such as when I'm leading.

So now I'm all packed up and ready to go. Except the computer cos I'm using that......

{Photo of Mont Viso, me and my new rucksack}

A brilliant walk to the viewpoint for Mont Viso. It's a beautiful valley, despite some large cows who were rather too interested in passing walkers...

{Photo of the longest bearded lichen I have ever seen}

This spectacular area of woodland was on the GR 50 - this time walking the other way from the house here. All the trees were festooned with lichen of all types. Quite magical.

{Photo from the terrace where I had a cup of coffee at Refuge de l'Ecole, Dormillouse}

Yesterday it was an afternoon walk up to Dormillouse. The village is at 1700 m and is occupied all year round. There is no road to it, so supplies still have to be transported up (originally on mules) or helicoptered in at great expense. A village founded by a protestant cleric in the nineteeth century, although the Romans were there earlier.  The tourist route up is a walk of about 1.75 km and takes around 45 minutes. Once there it's possible if you have enough time to carry on and visit two mountain lakes. It was too late in the day for this so I took the old mule track back down, then another path called the Sentier des Cascades which follows the river bank back to the carpark. Since I did this walk about 5 years ago there have been a lot of rock-falls and small avalanches, making the path a bit treacherous in places. The valley is full of birds, and plenty of butterflies, so it was a very enjoyable walk.

{Photo of the path fallen away - I took this after I'd clambered past it!}

And finally...........

{Photo of marmotte posing for my camera.....}

Genuinely taken by me - although I have to admit the marmotte lives on the hill under the Fort at Mont Dauphin which is just opposite the house here. Sadly the community of marmottes there are often visited by humans and inevitably fed all sorts of unlikely snacks. The diet of crisps, sweets and bread has caused the population to dwindle by half in the last ten years with a high incidence of diabetes, respiratory diseases and other fatal consequences (for the animals although it might be true of the people too!..) I walked up the Sentier des Marmottes, and was delighted to meet several very chubby marmottes. They'll be hibernating soon so they're at their fattest now. Over the six months they sleep they lose about 3 kg of weight, waking every two or three weeks to urinate (in a special part of the burrow.)

By the time I get back here (about 12th October) they might be sleeping................

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