Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Wednesday 9 September 2009 - Gentiana ciliata and the path to Hohtürli

There are two images today as I simply couldn't get the 'phone to focus on the gentian. So that poor image will be replaced when we get home. (Duly replaced, and now you can see clearly why it's called the 'Fringed Gentian'.)

The pretty blue flower, 1 to 2 cm in diameter, is abundant hereabouts. We also saw it around Chamonix. Curiously it doesn't feature in my book 'Alpine Flowers of Britain and Europe', published 30 years ago. Perhaps it has flourished since then. It's almost unheard of to find deficiencies in this book, but the correct identification was verified by two separate flower books that we spotted in Aosta a couple of days ago.

There are still some very pretty flowers about, despite the approach of Autumn, heralded by the Autumn Crocuses already referred to in these pages.

Today was another thoroughly summery day. We took the Öeschinensee cablecar then set about reversing the circuit that I found so exhausting last week. I was perfectly ok today, and we managed an extension beyond the sparkly lake by walking up to 2400 metres for lunch some 400 metres above last week's high point but still 400 metres below the Hohtürli Pass.

Two sheep tried to share our lunch, but a nearby flock of yellow beaked choughs (which we would normally expect to intrude) must have had other things on its mind.

The postcard shows Sue at this spot below several glaciers, with Hohtürli and the Blümlisalphütte high above her head, on the horizon. Our lunch was punctuated by the crash of avalanches near the feet of these glaciers. The path follows a lateral morraine, and there are steep drops down to where a huge glacier once flowed. I can recall the moment on my first visit to this spot over 20 years ago - when a rather frightened pair, Dave Scruby and I, turned around in a July snowstorm and returned to Kandersteg.

Sue and I turned around today at almost the same spot, but for a different reason - we had never planned to go to the pass, and time was against us.

We found the descent easy, and chuckled as we overtook a mountain biker on a wired section. Then a young calf approached Sue "may I lick your leg?" his little bell jingled. "Of course" replied Sue. Having extracted a mixture of salt, sun tan cream and dead skin from the leg, the calf proceeded to try to untie her shoe laces. Its mother stood nearby, unperturbed. Here the cows roam freely, much like sheep in the UK; dogs wander without need for leads. Strange to contrast this with angry UK cows that trample folk to death.

Finally (for those still awake - and my own level of wakefulness is very low!), thanks Mark A for your comment on yesterday's entry. It's always good to receive your words of encouragement, and despite the paucity of comments at present, I know there are a number of other readers out there.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors, and do take care.

Next day


Martin Rye said...

Friendly cows ? makes a change. UK ones are defiantly to be avoided. Much like the streams where you are judging from your other posts.

Alan Sloman said...

It would be just plain wrong of me to abuse you any further Martin...

I could lick Sue's leg if she prefers...

Phreerunner said...

Actually, Martin, I like UK cows. I've never encountered an angry one in over 50 years of country walking. Dogs, however, are a different matter (excluding Bruno and the like, of course).
Here in Kandersteg the streams are fine. My comment was made in the context of the effluent that is deposited by the high huts on Mont Blanc.

Alan, I have discussed your proposition with the Lady in question, who says your tongue couldn't possibly be rough enough! I say no more. (That means I'm lost for words...)