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4th March 2020
Hiking - Walking: Cret de Chatillon at Semnoz
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Weather: sunny periods
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Distance Covered: 3.75 miles (Nautical Miles - unless stated otherwise)

Wednesday 4th March – shoe snow ***** Cret de Chatillon at Semnoz – sunny periods.


Our second quiet night near Lac Annecy at St Jorioz and woke to more sunshine with Mag walking over to the Lac to do her exercises:) Then after breakfast I decide to take the yoga mat over to the same spot to do my back exercises but with Mag joining me to read her book and watch the many rowers out I do all my exercises. Even with the sun out there was a cool breeze and we both got cold! It was then back to the van, drive to a small supermarket and then up the mountain to Semnoz. You take the Col de Leschaux road which winds up through hill farms and small hamlets surrounded by tall mountains covered in pine forest all covered in snow, absolutely stunning especially with the sky a lovely shade of blue:) You reach Leschaux and the whole valley floor is covered in snow and then you start the best drive of the holiday so far, another pinch yourself moment as we drive up with snowy pines both sides of the road and stunning views down, really really fantastic!!!! We reach the smaller ski station part of the Semnoz area and have a quick drive around the busy carpark with loads of skiers making the most of the good snow and sunshine:) We continue right up to the top where we have stayed a few nights in the past and this section of road still has a layer of slushy ice but we make it OK to the Nordic ski centre and find a space which was lucky because again it was busy, this is a popular spot for skiers, walkers, snow shoers and cross country skiers. The unusual thing about this resort is you park at the top and then ski down to pay! Mag makes some top sliced nut bread sandwiches while I sort out the snow shoes. While taking some pics before we set off, we help push out a car stuck in the snow. I tried to park in the same area and was lucky not to get stuck too, in fact we saw other cars having to be pushed out! We then walked up to the start of the pisted Three Lacs walk which takes you to what I think is the highest point - the Cret de Chatillon. In fact, most people walking it were in boots but we put the snow shoes on so we could go offpiste in the deeper snow making our own tracks through the snowy pine trees:) We pass the chair lift and then continue up to a button lift as the cloud starts to move in. It is a bit of a climb to the top of the Cret which keeps disappearing in the cloud! There are already a couple of lads up there having their lunch but there is plenty of room for us and we have more company, a pair of beautiful Alpine Accentors similar to a Linnet because of their red sides and they got very close waiting for some of our sandwich. When they were not searching for tit bits at our feet, they were waiting patiently in the top of a couple of snowy pines for their opportunity:) It was a great spot for our picnic with 360-degree views and we were entertained by the cross-country skiers and walkers. We then walked down to the Chalets de Guffy, a small restaurant in the middle of nowhere the destination for most of the walkers who must have been doing a roaring trade in hot chocolate! We meet a lovely family out ski touring with the Dad towing his 16-month-old and the Grandparents trying to keep up on snow shoes! It was a steep climb to a barbed wire fence which we followed for a good distance back. There was a steep drop down to the green valley far below with Lac Du Bourget in the distance. It was a tiring trek back to the van - perhaps we are getting on a little for all this adventuring but to be honest there were loads of people our age and older so never give up!!! We were relieved to be back at the van and amazed we had only walked 3.75 miles – it seemed so much more!! Mag made some absolutely delicious whipped thick hot chocolate using nearly a whole bar of chocolate and hot milk!!! We then drive down to Annecy past Semnoz ski station and wind our way down through lovely forest with the floor covered in beech leaves past the enclose with the deer and back to St Jorioz for our third night. With torrential rain forecast for tomorrow we plan to sit it out and perhaps go skiing at Semnoz on Friday if there is any snow left! We are knackered and I only sorted out my photos being too tired to do my blog, then at midnight while sound asleep the local Gary boys turn up wheel screeching doing hand brake turns in the nearby car park with loud music blaring, you do feel very vulnerable in this situation , I must invest in a Baseball bat me thinks, but lucky for us the forecast rain starts so the Pratt’s bugger off and we could get back to sleep!!!


Photo Gallery Here


Thursday 5th March – Relax and sightsee travel **** - rain, rain and more rain!!!!


After last night’s unwelcome noisy interruption, we sleep well and woke to rain which fell all day and is still falling now - I think an Ark might be more suitable than a campervan! Still we were expecting it so had a really relaxing morning in the van before setting off to do a circuit of Lac Annecy. You turn left at the end of the Lac past the nature reserve and head for Talloires past a sign warning to be careful of wild boars crossing :) Mag loved this as she loves to see them - sadly we don’t spot any although the terrain is perfect for them! The roads run right along the lac side to Talloires which we have a quick look at but nothing much there. The road then heads steeply up and away from the Lac and we see a sign to the Col de la Forclaz where we have skied at a tiny two button lift resort in the past. It was great fun so we decide to make a detour up the mountain and are very glad we did as this was the best part of the whole trip! The road raises high above the Lac, past the Ermitage St-Germain where we have stopped the night, to the Col, a busy spot despite the weather and well known for its wooden hang glider launch and amazing views down to the Lac. There was a noisy do (a wake?) going on at the take-off restaurant as we both braved the rain to take in the view! The little ski resort is just down the road but sadly it looked very sad due to lack of snow and was closed:( The little white road on our map continues down and as we have never been that way before we decide to give it a whirl! At the snowy village of Montmin we head up a dead-end road which has been blocked by a pile of snow which might make an interesting snow shoe to a refuge one day. We then follow another tiny dead-end road to the very old hamlet of Plan Montmin before heading down the fantastic gorge road with a mountain stream tumbling through, in fact there is water pouring down everywhere. Every gap becomes a waterfall! We stop at a small shrine to look at the gorge and love the colours, vibrant green moss and brown/red beech leaves. We come out in the valley at the bottom of Lac Annecy and have to do the Talloires section again stopping by the Lac at Menthon-St-Bernard for lunch right by the Lac. It was then onto Annecy in search of a supermarket but spot a couple of windsurfers out enjoying a good breeze so I stop to take a few pics! Unlucky for us we find a huge commercial centre with one of the largest supermarkets we have ever been in. Why you would want the choice of a hundred different cheeses at extortionate prices is beyond me and we will be sticking to our much-loved Lidl from now on! It must be hard to make ends meet in France as everything seems super expensive compared to Supermarkets in the UK. We were soon back on the Lac road back to St Jorioz for our fourth night, hopefully less disturbed than last night. As for tomorrow with all this rain even up at Semnoz it can’t have done the snow any good and I am tempted to try a snow shoe where we went today, we can make up our mind in the morning!



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