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

Monday, 3 February 2014

A good day to practice.......

The weather forecast for today was for rain or even snow, so I was surprised to see only clouds when I finally got up this morning. These clouds were sitting quite low on the mountain tops but this side of the valley, above the house, there was a hint of some blue sky.

I've been waiting for the opportunity to get my snowshoes on and go out for a little stomp. With the sore shoulder/arm last winter I didn't do very much - using the sticks was rather painful. There are a couple of interesting looking 'intineraires' in the Queyras that I fancy exploring so a couple of hours practice was called for - this could be the day for it.

It didn't take long to get organised once I'd made up my mind and I was soon marching purposefully up the road behind the house. My plan was to work my way up through the forest until I reached the church at Reotier. The snow pack was quite hard but not icy and there were patches where the sun had melted most of it away but not too many. It never really became a sunny day but it didn't rain and there was no wind.

{Just enough snow on the path}

{Ooops! Turning round and following my own prints.}

Following my usual pattern I turned too early and then had to retrace my footprints to arrive high enough up the hillside to reach the church above the village of Reotier. There are about thirteen small hamlets that make up the village - we live in one of them slightly round the side of the hill away from the main settlements.

In summertime it's possible to climb a steep zig-zag path through the trees but I find it easier in the snow to take a longer route. There are several paths which look surprisingly similar until you round the bend and discover a dead end - which I did today but fortunately only once.

{Finally the right way}

I had also forgotten how narrow the path is in places and with the thick snow I had a few wobbly moments thinking about possible snow slides or avalanches. However, I discovered I can climb quite quickly in snowshoes when the adrenaline kicks in and I was soon out of 'danger' and onto the wider path.

{The end of the snow - looking towards the lunch spot}

I reached the junction and descended towards the church. Along this path the snow finally ran out and I carried the snowshoes to the bench above the valley where I planned to eat my lunch. The sun was quite warm when it did shine on me for brief moments, so I arrived carrying my gloves, hat, buff and jacket in my rucksack.

{Brilliant view over the Durance valley for lunch time stop}

{A new board beside the bench}

The original plan was to retrace my route back home but I decided to continue on through the village, mostly walking on the roads and make a circular day of it. There was still no rain.

The small village roads wind down the hillside - passing old and new houses and eventually deposited me on the 'main' road. It's been a while since I walked this way. Some of the roads are too narrow for today's traffic but easily wandered down on foot.

{View over Reotier from the high road}

{Fascinating example of the old architecture}

I arrived back at the house after being out for nearly four hours. This was much longer than I had originally planned but very enjoyable.

It was the first time I'd used the Keen winter boots in my snowshoes and  I was very impressed. They're comfortable to walk in and I know they're waterproof as well as warm in the snow.


Louise said...

Do you know, that sounds quite good fun. Well jel x

Howellsey said...

I tried snowshoeing in Andorra last year and I really enjoyed it!