Tuesday, November 18, 2014


This is a fun little summit to get to, it doesn't take too long and is not too steep, but the views and all the animal footprints all over the place really make it a unique spot. Just nestled between the Chamonix Valley and the Valais, all the summits are out on a good day!
Didn't need snowshoes today!
In the early fall the myrtilles are delicious! And a good reason to come for a walk here!!

 Le Grand Chavalard and the amazing area around the Dents de Morcles was all over the horizon!
 Saw a few chamois, and lots of wild hare, chevreuil, squirrel and wild furry prints on all sides. It is so much fun to try and guess who has left the prints behind, and where were they going, and why?
 Of course I cannot go up here and not give you a photo of the highest mountain in the Alps! So here is the shot of Mont Blanc!
But for me the most stunning view of all is the Rhone valley. The absolute flatness of it is shocking with all the mountains rising sharply up above it. Some have year round glaciers covering them, and others are a bit lower, many have grape vines if they are on the correct side for the sun. Here the view also shows the crazy drive up to Sembrancher & Verbier. A unique spot for sure.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wild Summer Tea

The snow is starting to cover the mountain tops, does it feel like summer is slipping away to you? Well here is a good way to keep a bit of the summer beauty in your life : tea made with wild flowers and herbs of the mountains!
Hopefully as you have been out and about this summer you dried some of your favorite flowers or herbs. Just throw a handful of them into a tea pot, or add them to your favorite teas. They are also fun to cook with or toss into a fresh salad.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Start or end of Rhône?

Hidden away at the crossing of the Furka, Gothard, Oberalp, Neufennen, Susten passes is the start of the mighty Rhône River that travels all the way to Marseilles. At the same time it is the end of what was once the begining of the once upon a time mighty Rhône Glacier that travelled all the way to Lyon.

The strength and power of this area is overwhelming, and impossible to ignore. After all, Switzerland & France would not be as we know them had they not existed.
The feeling here is emotional as one wanders around realising how time & geology & evolution proceed.

Definitely a place to visit. I plan to organise some multi day walks starting in the Goms valley through here to Andermatt to Chur in the Grisons. Cannot wait!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Beauty of Zermatt

What a gorgeous walk through the Gorges of the Gornera bach. Nice to do it on a sunny day and take advantage of the freshness.

On a clear day there is just no question why Zermatt is so popular. All the 4000 meter peaks were visible and the glaciers clean & white.

The hills were alive with the sound of wildflowers! And a fabulous lunch accompanied by artists from the music festival were very relaxing.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dents du Midi Tour

Here is an excellent tour to do in 4 days. There are some summits at around 3000 meters that can be hiked to. Among them, the most popular is the Haute Cime - the highest and Westest summit of the Dents du Midi. There are a few chains on the tour and you need to be able to hike for 6-7 hours a day. But it is worth it. Here are a few fotos:
View on the Cime de l'Est, as you walk from Chindonne to Mex. The flowers were spectacular - as was some of the mud, after all the rain we have had this summer it was not surprising!

This way! Just don't forget your poles when you stop to picnic!!

View of the Massif des Combins from the col du Jorat. This is really a beautiful spot. It can easily be hiked to on a day's outing, coming up from the valon de van. 

Going up the Haute Cime and looking back on the lac de Salanfe. Breathtaking! 

Rocky shale slopes! Yuck! Not my favorite terrain... But down from the col Susanfe it becomes flowery eidelweiss fields and aconite purple bursts of energy! The cabane Susanfe has excellent real coffee & a smiling gardienne!!

Meeting the locals!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Grand Chavalard

The Grand Chavalard is beautiful! At the edge of a turn above the Rhône Valley near Martigny it is fun to walk around or up!

Ovronaz is right around the corner for a thermal bath!

There are also lots of choices for sleeping in a cabane here. The star gazing here is well worth spending the night for.

View on the Dents du Midi
Those brown lumps at the col are a herd of 12 bouquetins (ibex). There were about 40 more just a bit lower down on the slope! Amazing!
The Grand Chavalard summit, a few meters under 2900m. Without the clouds Mont Blanc would have been visible.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Where to go in the cold rain?

This summer has been unusually cold in the Alps, so hikes have to be chosen with care so as not to be caught up high in the snow, or in the torrential rains which dislodge rocks and create mudslides! The solution to this in the Valais is to walk along the ancient irrigation ways which were set-up in the 1400s!!

 There would not be much growing on the right side of the Rhône River without these irrigation ditches. And certainly the famous white wines, such as Fendant of the Valais would not be around!

In French they are called 'bisses' and in German 'suonen'. The locals built them with their bare hands, wearing leather boots that might have had 3 nails in them, often hanging off sheer cliff walls to dig a passage for the water from the glaciers to the fields that needed the precious meltwater drops.

 Some are easier to walk on than others, you just have to check the maps. Overall none are steep, but sometimes you do have to walk up to get to them or back down to get off them, as they do generally start at the base of a torrent emerging from a glacier above 2500 meters.
As you can see they pass through hot and dry spots. The vegetation is really fun to walk through.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Passerelle Panossière

A new addition to the hiking world in the val de Bagnes this summer is the hanging bridge between the Cabane Panossière & Cabane Brunet. You can cross it while doing the tour of the Bec de Serry, and go have a coffee or fondue at one of the cabanes while you are at it. 

The glacier has retreated so much, and so fast, that the crossing between the two cabanes was becoming a bit of an issue. The moraine is crumbling while the glacier is leaving behind a steeeeeeep uphill. So the passerelle is there now to link the areas. It helps in making hikes on the left side of the Dranse de Bagnes alot more accessible for everyone.

When you get to the bridge from the Cabane Brunet side, the rock formations that were created by the passing of the glaciers look like petrified waves - definitely worth going to see!

Lys martagon - martagon lilly
A rare & protected plant, it was bursting all over!

Alpine trolls don't need roofs! But they seem to like monk's rhubarb. 
Yep, this plant, Rumex alpinus, is wild rhubarb!

We even got to walk in the snow!! héhéhé!

Just hangin' out!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Eatin' wild stuff!

All of you who have been on a walk with me to have : wild flower pesto, eat weeds, tapenade sauvage, munch a bunch of wild flowers, etc... knows I could have a separate post for each foto that could go on longer than any of us have time for! So here are just some pretty photos of a recent walk in La Tzouma where we prepared a wild omelette and made some wild teas!

 The bountiful hunt!
 Wild yarrow, rose, geranium, daisy, veronica & thyme in this cup of happiness!
Wild spinach, sooo yummie!

Yarrow, good to stop bleeding, and good in salads & teas & pestos!

Phyteuma betonicifolium - Betony-leaved rampion

Thymus - wild thyme

Trifolium pratense - red clover

Wild geraniums 
Pretty as decorations, am not sure they really have any taste...?

Alchemilla vulgaris, common lady's mantle

Heracleum sphondylium - common hogweed (what an unfortunate name!!)

Larche tree & norwegian spruce new growths 
(they add a lemony taste to things, like an extra natural ziiiing!)


Wild roses

Silene dioica - Red campion

Veronica - spedwell

Forget me not!

Acinos alpinus / Calamintha alpina - Calamint or spring savory  
(I am not 100% sure of the name in English, or in Latin, but in French it is called Serpolet)
This is definitely one you want to pick and smell and eat in everything you make! I try to dry it, but it tends to be eaten up so quickly that it is pointless!

The final omlette! 
Oh yeah, forgot to mention we caught a wild alpine chicken and she gave us a dozen eggs! ;)