Monday, September 21, 2015

Walking in the White Pods

Today was definitely different for me. I had a fun daughter & mom group that were working towards their Daisy hiking petal. It is a Girl Scouts of America group living in Switzerland.

Through different activities they all earned their hiking badge, and so did I!!
They learned how to walk through a cow herd. These cows were just chilling out looking at the view, but they are impressive and had horns too.
The Dent de Morcles popped out of the clouds for us as we sang blindfolded through the fields. The White Pods prepared us a snack, which included chocolate fondue!! What an afternoon!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Col de Jaman

After the greatest downpour of the year the great winds blew all the clouds away and revealed a magical 360 degree landscape of absolute beauty!

The lac Léman and Jura were cleaned. The air was magnificient. Chasse season opened today so if you go for any of the many beautiful hikes here be aware. We bumped into some hunters who had hung out in their cars during the storm. 
This is one of the spots migrating birds fly through at this time of year. They know the pass will be the easiest place to fly through the Alpes. Hete the black nets used to catch and study them has been taken down because of the rainstorm, which just ended. We got to see some birds of prey and a few pipits.
The geology of this area is fabulous! The limestone dried up almost instantly, it was amazing. 20 minutes ago there was practically a stream flowing through here!
The architecture of the cheese house is typical and unique to this area. The roofs are made of tavillons, which are wooden shingles. They are an art to produce and to place on the rafters. They kept us dry as the rain came down in sideways sheets! Viva natural materials!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Val d'Anniviers Illgraben walk

Here is a spot that will amaze and astound anyone! Just after the sweet village of St. Luc is the bulging metropolis of Chandolin, population 63! 
After a beautiful hike in one of the highest forrests of Switzerland, due to its protected exposure, you arrive at the impressive geological face of the Illgraben.
The views down into the Swiss German side of the Valais are breathtaking! On the other side are views all the way down the Rhône valley. Really a special spot!
If you get up for the sunrise you will see alot more than mushrooms. The area has the black cows of the Val d'Hérens grazing at the moment, but there are lots of wild chamois, and deer too. 

If you see the amanite mushroom, be careful it is toxic!
If you are lucky, as we were in the morning before the Foen wind picked up, you will see the Matterhorn on the horizon. Just another reason to visit this valley!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bisse de Bruson

The valley recently renovated their ancient irrigation systems for walkers. Not only are they fun to stroll along, but the cultural heritage they attest to makes them fascinating spots to discover. I cant wait till it snows to snowshoe along here.

There are some openings in the trees, where one can catch glimpses of Verbier & Sarreyer. The fresh snow at the end of the valley was really pretty to see when the clouds moved away from the Ruinette. Such spectacular views!
There were some awesome mushrooms all over the green luscious mossy carpets!

Gorges in Zermatt

A well kept secret spot indeed! The gorjus gorges of the Gornera are an easy and exquisite way to get away from the crowded streets of Zermatt.

The waters of the torrent are an amazing color and very refreshing. The serpentine rocks have been carved into wild shapes and lead your imagination to thoughts of just how much water has gone through here. There are some surprising arolla pines growing here.
Out of the gorges and into the sunshine! The hamlets of Blatten & Zum See are so cute that they are almost unbelievable. The cows were grazing happily on the flowers used in Ricola candies!
The Cervin, Matterhorn, was as impressive as ever. 
On a sunny day, Zermatt delivers once again to a happy guide & hikers!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Mysterious Mountains of the Val d'Hérémence

This might have been the first time I walk below the Grande Dixence Dam. It was cloudy and snowy above, so we chose to change the plan and go to the top of the Pointe de Mandelon. We were there to spot animals, but as I learned you need to be there before 7a.m. when the herd of 20 or so deer are in the fields below grazing peacefully. It is amazing how they just vanished into the larch forest to never be seen again. How do they do that?!
There is not really a trail, so we walked over the reindeer lichens and gneiss rocks to the top. The view of the Rhône valley sort of came out at one point. And I cannot wait to return to see that view as well as the one into the Val d'Hérens.

Reindeer Moss - which is actually lichen. 

Juniper bushes helped us and our cheese warm up during our picnic. At the base of the mountain there is an alpage you can sleep and eat at. It has just been renovated and looked beautiful, oh and the coffee was good!

We walked along the ridge and returned to the alpage de Mandolin through the fields, making a loop. You might find poles helpful as there is no trail and you have to rock hop around looking for the best spot to place your next step!

Pooof! End of summer for this one!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cabane Panossière & Cabane Brunet

This walk has so many amazing aspects to it that it is hard for me to start writing about it!
The walk up from Fionnay has changed now that they have rebuilt the Bisse de Corbassière, it is a fabulous walk, you just have to get out of the steeeeep valley first.
We took our time walking up and met these black faced sheep along the way.

Sun-set & moon-rise on the Grand Combin from the Cabane Panossière. We had a delicious meal at the cabane. It may even be the best cabane food I have ever had! 

 The Cabane in the morning. We got up and took the path that crosses the valley to get to the Cabane Brunet. They now have a hanging bridge accross where the Glacier used to be, making it easier than climbing down a crumbly moraine to get there!

The suspension bridge takes you accross to the land of minerals and polished rocks left behind by the glacier's passage. It is quite a surreal area.

From here you see the top of the Glacier de Corbassière and the very bottom of it.

If you are lucky (or walking with me!) you will see Edelweiss growing over here. They were really fuzzy and fresh when we passed them.