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June so far in the Forces-of-Nature Diaries
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Member#: 6644
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Registered: 27-05-2007
Diary Entries: 1721

8th March 2019
Hiking - Walking:  La Chevrerie to Lac de Petetoz in France
Wind Direction:
Wind Stength:
Surf / Sea State:
Air Temperature:
Sea Temperature:
Weather: mainly high cloud.
Max Speed:
Distance Covered: 7.50 miles (Nautical Miles - unless stated otherwise)

Friday 8th March – Snow shoe ***** + La Chevrerie to Lac de Petetoz in France – mainly high cloud.


5 hours 45 minutes out, 7.50 miles covered.


Another good night in our lovely little campervan by Lac de Vallon just outside La Chevrerie and was expecting -4 in the night but it was not that cold:) We were expecting this to be our last day in the mountains and with light snow and cloud forecast all day it looked like it was going to be our 10th snow shoe of a very active month away. So, after breakfast and with picnic packed, we drove the mile up to the ski lift to make up our mind, ski or snow shoe? Although the snow looked good, we thought the cloud might come in so decided to get walking. There are several routes to chose and we have already done a couple in previous years but today we went for the one to the tiny but very beautiful Lac de Petetoz. You leave the chairlift behind you, past the four howling huskies sad to be left behind on the latest sledge run, up past a coach loads of school kids having fun on sledges with their teachers trying to keep up with them! The forestry track climbs up and up and this area must boast some of the best mountain scenery in the whole of the Alps enhanced today by the recent snowfall leaving the banks of pine trees covered in white, a truly magical place. We soon leave the lift noise behind and the only sound is our snow shoes crunching in the snow with the magnificent Roc D’Enfer in front of us. There must be a foot of fresh snow on the track but our progress is made easier as we follow tracks made earlier today. We are getting high now and we can hear skiers returning from doing the La Chevrerie/St-Jean D’ Aulps loop which includes two 5km runs that are in the middle of nowhere. With the Col de Graydon (1880m) in sight we turn right up higher leaving the ski runs behind. Then we actually come to a sign directing us almost straight up to the Lac and no one has been up here since the latest snow so we make fresh tracks all the way to the Lac. Mag video’s the last bit but you just can’t capture with a camera just how stunning it is here. The little frozen Lac is only a 100m round three quarters surrounded by snowy pines with the far side a sheer cliff face. As with my previous visit I could not resist walking across the Lac, I think I was pretty safe with a foot of snow on top of the ice, but we call it snow vandalism by messing up the pristine Lac with my footprints!! It just had to be done, the track on Google Earth will look cool, like I am walking on water! Mag finds a top place to sit by a snowy fallen tree and we enjoy the peace and quiet but not for long as half a dozen Belgium walkers appear. A few mess about just on the Lac and then leave so we give them ten minutes to get ahead. We know from previous experience that the route out to the Chalet Petetoz is a steep uphill climb but well-marked with yellow on the trees. It was easy to find the route as we just followed the trail left by the Belgian’s ahead of us. Now this section of snow-covered pines is hard to find the words to describe! How beautiful this is! we are so lucky to be fit enough to do this and love our VW for bringing us here! We leave the trees and exit onto a large snowy area, pasture for summer grazing, with the Chalet Petetoz right in the middle. We were going to stop for our chocolate bar but the Belgian’s were having their lunch so we carried on. With no tracks to follow and no markers in sight we made our own tracks down to the pine forest. There was a lovely snowy gulley that lead down to what we hoped was La Chevrerie but we should have realised not to go that way when we had to climb over a barbed wire fence! It was at this point that things started to go wrong! It started off great as we meandered down the deep snow gulley, I was leading with Mag following but things started to take a turn for the worse when the gulley turned into the ‘Ravine of Death’. In places it was nearly vertical down narrow openings in the rock, the only way down was to gingerly slip on your bottom and hope for the best. Mag face planted once and managed to lose her snow shoe with her walking boot still strapped in! She dug it all out and put it back on. In places you just had to slide off the steep bits and hope the snow gave you a soft landing and it just went on and on! I had to help Mag down one really difficult section and we both ended up in a pile in the snow, we are just thankful we didn’t break anything! In the end we got safely through the difficult bit and actually found sound snow shoe tracks which we followed down to rejoin the proper path. Apparently, it is ‘International Womans Day’ and I have a candidate for star of the day as Mag did a wonderful job of getting down yet another scrape, I led her into, my hero!!! She also lost her pink skiing fleece which she had tied round her middle! We were sadly not going to go back to get it!! We took it in good humour and even joked about it once on the easy path! Now back nearer to civilisation we spotted several huskies with kids on board doing a circuit. Back near the finish of the walk the sledges past us and we watched them being tied up, they seem to love it if the excited barking is anything to go by. Now absolutely knackered we arrived back at the van after 5hrs 45 mins covering 7.50 miles of some serious up and down, they say do something that scares you every day and we certainly did that today! We will stay here today and if the weather is OK will ski tomorrow failing that we will start the long journey home. It will be nice to get back to Felixstowe for the rest but we just love the mountains!!!!!



Photo Gallery Here


Toys Used:
TSL snow shoe  Approach 226

 

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