Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dent de Jaman


Sometimes it is worth hiking up in the shade, mud, snow, and the steep polished slippery limestone to get to the top! We had a wonderful view into Gruyères and tried to figure out all the Vanil summits, not sure we acheived it...but it was fun trying! The Rochers de Naye were covered in a cold blanket of fresh snow, but the sight of the lake lying in the sun below us made us chipper and we couldn't help feeling as though we were on vacation! After a delicious bowl of pumpkin soupe and local tomme (soooo yummmmmmy) we discovered the château of la Tour-de-Peilz and the old town of Vevey.


The locals build their roofs with wooden slates that are called 'tavillons'. I was lucky last year and saw them in action making one. These roofs are increadibly effecient, certainly as this area is not particularily dry or warm.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Snow all the way to Verbier

Today the first snow flakes of the season crept into town. It stuck up higher so we went to check it out. It surprised a few flowers that are still happy to be out. The heavy snow on the leaves of the fireweed (épilobes) and the alders (vernes) really made some interesting intricate designs that were worth admiring.

We roamed around in the clouds and got our feet a bit wet as we had to walk in the fresh crunch of snow! Ahhh, wonderful feeling! The frozen grasses on the hills of Savoleyeres were magical. I need to start polishing the snowshoes, but first I have to make pesto out of the basil I picked out of the garden in fear of it getting ruined from the cold. Yep, this snow surprises gardens too!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bisse in Verbier to Croix de Coeur


What a day to spend with fifty 11 year olds! They were amazing walkers and caught tons of crickets (yep, they know the difference between grasshoppers and crickets for sure now! Do you?). We hiked through the forest along the bisse de Levron, which had lots of water in it. The water was dirty, which once we got to the cows we figured out why! And then we climbed up to Croix de Coeur for a picnic. After checking out the views and the fresh snow on the Ruinette at the end of the valley, we took off down to the Marlenaz and back into Verbier. The weather was just beautiful!
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hiking in the Aiguilles Rouges reserve

Starting in the col des Montets we did a tour up and around the cliffs of Chéserys. The views were just crazzzzzy over onto the Aiguille Verte, Les Drus, Mont Blanc, and the glacier du Tour, Argentière and Mer de Glace (to mention the BIG ones). The ladders are part of the Tour du Mont Blanc, and are definitely the more sane way to get your knees up to the Flégère area than climbing up the way we went down, by the lake of Remuaz. Although the trails around here are kept in tip top shape.

But thanks to the way down we got to see some bouquetins (ibex) up close. We also got to listen to the mothers and children calling each other. Was exceptional!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eating wild food

In the woods you can still find lots of yummy things to eat at this time of year. A mix of wild myrtilles, rasberries, strawberris, and airelles were turned into a fine desert of a couly on meringues artisanales made with raisinée.
The yarrow, wild thym, lady's mantle, colt's foot leaves and plantain were made into a beautiful garden on pain de seigle.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


We hiked through the most amazing landscape where the Grosse Altesche Glacier used to be only 80 years ago! The forest was absolutely amazing! I really recommend it to everyone. The Pro Natura soceity has chosen to let this area be as prestine as possible and make itself into what it will. Really a unique spot. We crossed that insane bridge that they built to make one feel as though they are in Nepal. And let me tell you, I didn't see many faces looking super comfortable on it. 940 meters long and hiiiiigh off the ground, enough to make your birscher floppy! The Villa Cassel at the top is the home of Pro Natura, and it is worth checking out the expo they have on nature here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Sunrise on the glacier from the Oberaletschhutte. A beautiful day walk up to the hut from Belalp. As the glacier is going down 10 meters per year, with a whopping 16 meters in 2003, the hike has been 'moved' to solid ground. You used to access the cabane from the glacier and some ladders which were becoming ridiculously long...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tour du Grand Chavelard

We couldn't get our arms around this larch which must be at least 400 years old! But we did make it around the Grand Chavelard (2899m) in about 5 hours.

Just driving the road up above Fully to Chiboz is enough to get excited! The hike around the Grand Chavelard is fabulous, the views are breathtaking and the wind was definitely refreshing! After passing under the south face cliffs with the flat Rhone valley below, we entered the realm of the Lacs de Fully. Beautiful blue alpine lakes shinning in the sky with the original view onto the Dents de Morcles and the West cliffs of the Chavelard - where you can see the cross at the summit. Then you pass over the col de Fenestral and descend into Ovronnaz's ski area and hang right to come back around into a beautiful old larch forest with lots of tasty rasberries to pick!
Yep, that is the Pierre Avoi.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tettigonia viridissima - Big Green Grasshopper!

She is laying her eggs in the only spot she could find - between the road and a stone wall, the joint has a bit of earth for her to plant her rear into and lay her babies. The next morning I found her run over with a bunch of rather large black things around her and realized that those were eggs she had not lain yet. Well I hope she laid most of them... Nature is amazing, yet fragile
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hunting myrtilles

Yum Yum, the season is bountiful! So many little berries waiting to be eaten! It really is a pleasure to wander off the beaten paths to pick myrtilles (alpine blueberries) and get close to an array of insects and flowers. Once I looked up I realized I was in a field of arnica! And if you are silent and patient enough you might even have a deer and her baby walk right by you!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mont Gond

We opted out of hiking up the Haut de Cry - as apparently the rock is very unstable and should be done when the ground is frozen so you can get footholds in! It turned out to be a great idea to walk around the Mont Gond which is in between Derborence & the col du Sanetsch. We started off in the cow fields and soon found ourselves in a 'lapiaz' - a carsistic formation of limestone which has been worked-out by the elements (mainly water). Just overhead we had a juvenile gypaète flying in the bright blue sky! What a wing span, even for a young one!! Then up and over the col to the other side which was really a lunar pile of shale with massive rivulets from rainstorms.

Then it was picnic time with 25 to 30 bouquetins females with their young ones eating as well, the males with their huge horns were lying in the sun watching it all. The views were stupendous, the whole range of Valaisan Alpes from the Monte Leone to the Matterhorn, Grand Combin all the way to the Mont Blanc on one side; and the Sanetsch area to the Diablerets and Muverans - wow!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Barage de Mauvoisin

Went out for an original tour from Mauvoisin up to the Pierre à Vire which brings you around to a plunging view down onto the entire lac de Mauvoisin. Up to then the view is astounding and one we do not see too often with the hanging Glacier de Giétro and the Grand Tavé's East face. Then back down to the écuries, where a big white dog was tending to the cows, just in case we were wolves come to get a free meal. The mountain tops are white and beautiful, but it is a bit chilly out. Hopefully it doesnt mean the end of shorts yet! Stopped in at the Hotel de Mauvoisin which has been recently renovated by the commune. They have done an excellent job, the rooms and dinning areas are spotless and the terrace is lovely. A nice day, close to home!