Mountain walk

A little diversion from weeding and harvesting to bring you some higher mountain snaps.

Whenever I accompany David to Alpe d’Huez where he cycles the Marmotte bike race I tend to do a rather good but sensible plod to the Col de Serenne.

It’s about 15kms or so round trip.  There are plenty of opportunities to gaze on peaks as you wend your way around the mountain.  The usual traffic (about six vehicles an hour) is on two wheels so you tend to share the joy in the day with fleeting greetings with passing cyclists.  And the gritted teeth eye rolling hiss of complaint as the motor bikes roar past.

Botanizing is a delight. Especially as the weather was not so blistering. But after about four years of walking the same route I can see that I have certain spots where I take the same photograph of the same thing.  Dare I do more?

After reaching the Col and smiling with pleasure at the walk I turned round and headed back. A few noisy bikes decided me. I just didn’t fancy just heading back.  The lure of those tantalizing signs pointing the way up…

And of course I had the thought of David toiling brilliantly up his cols all day on his bicycle.  So with only the mild tingling of the inadvertent close contact with the stinging nettles at the beginning of the trail it was a sunny and wildflower-tastic plod.

And then reaching the top. Well the saddle afforded this marvellous view of yet more mountain peaks beyond.  Glory be.

I then had to make a decision. Two paths.  One on the left went up steeply to (I think) Cassini.

To the right was a longer but lower plod to another. Sela?  I really ought to have packed a proper map.

I could fib and say that I caught a glimpse of these fascinating plants in the distance on the right hand path. But actually I was feeling puffed and unfit.  Garden fit. Yes. Long slow plod along a road for hours fit. Certainly.

But would I have enjoyed the pull all the way up to the higher peak?  The sign declared it would have been a two hour detour. Added on to my already long walk. Those signs always err on the side of slow.  And David was predicting an eight hour ride at least.

Shamefully I didn’t test myself. To the right I went. And it didn’t disappoint.

Gorgeous carpets of flowers, A narrow animal track to follow up to the summit.  I had the whole area to myself. Not a soul about. I suspect they were all either hurtling downhill on mountain bikes (looking like extras in a Mad Max film in all their weird garb) or wending their way around the Marmotte course.

I had my lunch gazing at the distant Alpe d’Huez  and just marvelling at the day.

It’s chastising how little I do away from my own garden and farm. How little time I take to see a bigger horizon, the last ‘holiday’ was in Prague in April.  Perhaps because our farm is so beautiful and I still can’t believe it is our home, I rarely feel the need to go further and look longer. But I was so glad I did.

If only I had remembered to bring along my guide to Alpine plants; then my walk would have been complete.