Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Saturday 5 September 2009 - A Second Home (from Home)

With six Belgians now settled in to Peter and Anne's pristine apartment in Kandersteg, we have been obliged to find pastures new.

"It needs an airing" said Janet, as she and John handed over the keys to their flat in Chamonix a few weeks ago.

So here we are, airing it. We've been here for a few days now.

We look out onto the Savoy Fields (nursery ski slopes) and over the rooftops of Chamonix to the pointed snout of the Glacier des Bossons, which draws the eye upwards towards the summit of Mont Blanc.

Today's postcard is this view from our living room window. We are so lucky. Often trainee paragliders can be seen frolicking on the lawn; in winter these are replaced by novice skiers. There's usually a wagtail, crow or pigeon grubbing around in the grass, and lots more to entertain the watcher having a lazy day in the flat.

Yesterday's sojourn in Italy allowed the French skies time to clear sufficiently to justify our catching the Brevent cablecar this morning to its mid station at Planpraz (2000 metres) and enjoying views towards Mont Blanc that we only briefly glimpsed through the cloud on our previous visit.

Even today, these views were hard won, as the cloud slowly cleared from our Grand Balcon Sud trail.

The path to La Flégère is fairly level. We romped along it in an hour and a half. Time for lunch! We've developed a habit of late starts and short days...

The binoculars revealed a procession of 'ants' heading down from Mont Blanc's summit towards the prominent spike of the Aiguille du Midi.

Then it was a gentle 500 metre ascent up to Lac Blanc - apparently one of the most famous walking destinations in the Chamonix valley. The path lived up to that reputation. It was crowded. A lower pond gave excellent views whilst we enjoyed a second lunch, but the vistas from the Lac Blanc area were all a bit much. The sun was too high to allow for any particularly good images, but we tried our best, next to a jovial Englishman with a huge tripod.

Sue's muscle problem forced her to retrace her steps and return via the La Flégère cablecar and a stroll beside the River Arve.

Meanwhile I enjoyed a longer descent via Les Tines - a beautiful route over mixed ground - including some ladders - then lovely woodland, with Mont Blanc all the while looming high across the valley.

During the descent I managed to escape from the multitudes. Over a two and a half hour period I saw just half a dozen people - English mountain bikers. They said they were enjoying it. They were walking their bikes down a gentle slope. For some reason, at that point I was going uphill towards La Flégère!

Sue had managed to acquire some grub, and a salad nicoise was quickly knocked up whilst we oo'd and ah'd at the sight of the sun's shadow slowly slipping up the side of the highest peak in Europe.

Time to turn out the lights.

I have a funny feeling that tomorrow we may bump into somebody we know!

Oh, and Alan, you should be aware that Sue is inclined to accept your kind offer - given its date, presumably to join you on next year's TGO Challenge. She travels light these days, Alan, but sadly does not come without 'baggage'. About 12 kilos, which she assumes you will carry in the manner to which I am becoming accustomed (without protest).

Thanks mate!

Next day


Dot said...

Hi Martin and Sue,
Very much enjoying your journey. Hope Sue's shoulder is getting better. It sounds as though she is being sensible! I am getting better every day but still not back to my normal self. I will get there.

Alan Sloman said...


Lord Elpus has volunteered his old capacious 90 Litre pack to carry Sue's belongings. He will be in charge of porterage and will be carrying it with pride.

I will be in charge of entertainment. A heavy burden.

Phreerunner said...

Sue is speechless.
Lilo and Trish are also speechless.
Can they come as well?
Is Lord E's bag big enough?
There is debate as to whether to take a llama or a packhorse.
Sue votes for the llama.
Lilo asks "will Alan be learning the lyrics of 'My Old Man'"?
Sue and Trish are practising some alternatives....