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

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A 'proper' walk......well, almost......

My arm seems to be healing a bit and is now more comfortable - although still prone to severe aching from time to time.

It seemed time to go further afield and try a 'proper' little walk. We set off to Briancon and then into the Val Claree.  During the summer holidays the road is difficult with narrow old villages to get past on-coming vehicles and limited parking areas. We drove as far as Rubion where the road is closed off and a shuttle bus runs up to Nevache during July and August. We parked by the bus stop but wandered into the village instead.

It was a pleasure to see flower-filled Alpine meadows where last winter I was cross-country ski-ing.

A small hotel/bar provided us with lunch although the service was slow it was friendly and the food worth the wait.

After that we went up and over the Col de l'Echelle. Despite its name the way up was gentle and easy - down the other side a bit more precipitous with several hairpin bends and a couple of tunnels through the rocks. This was the first time in 12 years we'd taken this road.

Eventually we reached our destination - a small car-park in the Vallee Etroite (Narrow Valley). The little walk would take us to a small lake - Lago Verde (Lac Vert or Green Lake). This valley seems to be undecided whether it is in France or Italy. The notices and road signs were in Italian but the architecture and most of the other visitors were French. Might be to do with the War?

{Setting off towards the Refuge}

Our friends (Maryann and Jeff) had suggested this trip and just as we turned a corner, before reaching the Refuge, we were astonished to bump into them - they were just coming down from Mount Thabor  - so an unplanned coffee break was in order! The prices were definitely Italian - 1 euro for a coffee!

{First stop - coffee break}

The valley is absolutely beautiful with high rocky sides and a river at the bottom. As is usual in these parts any walking paths were well signposted. I had chosen to wear my Columbia walking sandals - they're really grippy and comfortable. The whole walk should probably take just over an hour - but it would have to be at half speed for me.

{Easy walking with Mount Thabor in the distance}

I decided to keep going along the easy track but was prepared to go back if things became too steep or difficult. We crossed a small stream on stepping stones and then walked down towards the river where there was a bridge.

{Across the river}

Almost there, but suddenly I felt less confident - ahead was a steeper track winding up a well-worn hillside. Not so good! I persuaded John to go on to take a photo of the lake and I found a large rock to sit on and wait. The going up would have been OK but the coming back down looked a bit more challenging - with loose rocks and sandy soil and I couldn't risk a slip or worse, a fall. He returned after about 25 minutes and confirmed that it was more than I could have felt comfortable with - and that the lake was truly green!

{Lac Vert}

We took a different path back making a circular walk of it. There were some places I had to use his helping hand for security on little descents but through the forest was definitely cooler and we were soon back at the van.

There are plenty more walking routes in the area to explore and once my arm is more useful I'll certainly go back and try some of them. With the camper van, we will be able to spend a couple of days there. There are  bike routes too.

It was such a relief to get out; I think I was smiling for the rest of the evening!


Louise said...

Well done you! Must have felt fantasstic.

Alan Sloman said...

What Louise said
We finally have summer here!
Not a cloud in the sky.

Laura said...

Glad there's finally a break in the bad weather in UK - I feel quite guilty posting photos with blue sky and sunshine!

Thanks Louise and Alan for your comments! I shall be even happier when I can stop the painkillers!

Gayle said...

Glad to hear that the arm is mending enough to allow some walking. Hope it rushes forward to a full recovery.