Saturday, 14 April 2018

Last few days in St Jean d'Aulps - Days 170 to 178

Yes, that is a goat she's stroking
Areas of resort are shutting all around us, the first was our little area up here, La Grande Terche, so we planned to be up early do a circuit or two and then go and have a fondue. This didn't quite go to plan, we did one circuit, which was good, but the snow wasn't going to get any better, so once was enough for me. He decided he was going round again so I headed off to put the lamb riblets in to marinade as our fondue lunch restaurant said closing Saturday, we assumed this meant after Saturday service, but no, it was too late, so that was the end of that. 
Broken ski boot
Repaired ski boot!
Wednesdays gentle walk through La Vernaz
Nice views of the river Dranse gorge
Cat number 1. The goat is at the top, haven't put cat no. 2 photo in!
Trechauffe walk - our route marked in red
As I took my boots off the one that hadn't been repaired obviously felt neglected and fell apart! So, once B got home we set off to Morzine Intersport where Quentin had done the first one, but no, he had no more rivets the right size, so we started walking..... six or so shops later a man shook his head at me and said "non". I just stood there and he took it away, walked off, and said come back at 6. That was three hours later, so we went home, not knowing quite what we were to expect. Rather than go back at 6, well that is vin chaud time, we went back the following morning, and there for the grand total of €15 was my repaired boot, half as much again as Intersport, but still much better than a new pair of boots!

Feeling much happier we popped in to see Judith, Si's mum, who we hadn't managed to see at all the last time she was here, so we had a good chat, lovely to catch up.

Monday we thought we'd better put boot to the test, and had a much better ski than expected, still all over for us by lunchtime, but good until then.

Tuesday 'housework' by which I mean ringing up insurance companies giving them our details and finding costs for two randomly selected motorhomes, just to check that having been of no fixed abode for five years we would be able to get insurance. Looks like we can, but it's the sort of thing that takes forever and is quite soul destroying!

Wednesday we went off to do a repeat of a gentle walk we did the first time we were here, both of us had had pain in our knees after the via ferratta, not to mention the strange feeling in the groin when you start swinging your legs after not really doing that for four months. The walk scored high on the Jackie scale, two cats and a goat for stroking. Not so highly on the Brian scale, but hey, he picked it. But, he picked it only because the one he wanted to do he thought would still be in snow. We drove to the start of it, it wasn't. Guess what tomorrow's plan is?

So an early start, not because it was a huge walk but because we'd passed a little restaurant on the drive back, with an amazing view and fondue on the menu. It's not that we are besotted by fondue, once every two years is quite sufficient, but somehow when in the mountains... 

There was some snow, even on this bit with metal steps
We left the apartment by 08.30 as I wanted, drove the half an hour and up the wiggly windy road to the Col de Trechauffe, and headed off up the steep hillside. It wasn't far till we found we were going to be in snow, so following the path was going to be a problem. Fortunately there were footprints in the snow..... as long as he knew where he was going! It would appear he did, though I suspect the path probably zigged and zagged a bit more than our predecessor who just went straight up. 
The final bit to the 1627m summit
So time lost kicking steps in snow/ice was probably saved by only covering 2/3 the distance of the path! The trouble with following footsteps in the snow is when the snow runs out, at least this was only at 11.00 in the morning in daylight, unlike Brian's favourite story of when we did the Aonach Eagach in Glen Coe, descending from the snowline at 11.00 at night when it had been dark since 4.00pm, only for his phone to ring and the mountain rescue man ask if we needed rescue? "No, we'll find the path in a moment" and so we did. That was a lot more serious, five of us, roped up, doing a seven mile ridge that there is no way off once you've started!



Rocky bits on the way down
So a quick blunder through the woods and found a sign post - you wouldn't get that in Scotland 50m right to the summit, before heading left, to start our descent. Back to the car, in less than signposted time, which is always very satisfying particularly when we've done no hill walking for a while, and signposts in France can be a bit optimistic!


Fondue with a view at Le Bois du Cornet in La Forclaz
Arrived for our lunch at 12.00, beer, fondue and plate of charcuterie, well deserved, delicious, very filling, and enough for the next two years.


Brian, Jackie and Josee in Evian
Yesterday was also a lunch only day, we headed into Evian to meet with Josee, who we haven't seen since we were in Patagonia November '16. She lives and works in Lausanne and is a lovely lady. We originally met her and her friend Nancy on a bus, which didn't make it to its destination so we ended up sharing a room in a hostel in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. After that every walk we did, they were already there, at the top, chilling, as I arrived sweaty and grumpy!
(Here's links to our blog entries of when we first met Josee in Argentina: Ushuaia-days-59-to-64
El-calafate-days-65-to-66         El-chalten-mount-fitz-roy-national-park)


Lac Leman (or as we know it: Lake Geneva)
As the crow flies, Lausanne isn't that far, but she has no car, and to drive, it's a long way, so she got the ferry across Lake Geneva to Evian, and we met her there. We pottered, chattered and had a very nice lunch before waving her off at 16.15. We had to then return to the garage just outside Evian where we had left the spare tyre, B had commented it was flat, which it was, so check of them all before Wednesday made sense. Sadly poorly valve, so air in, air out! Fortunately the garage was also a tyre place, hurrah, new valve €15 and untold piece of mind!

Jackie and Josee in front of the source of Evian mineral water
Last ski in Les Gets this morning, better than expected, till suddenly it reaches the tipping point and goes from ice to slush. I didn't want a long day as I've come down with a horrible cold, so all good, except hope he doesn't get it for the drive home! More meals using strange cupboard ingredients, and we've defrosted the fridge this afternoon.... it's all getting very close!

There is still snow and skiing! This is today in Les Gets
A few other photos from the last few days. We saw lots of crocus on our walk over Trechauffe summit. Is this saffron stamen in the centre?
Framing a photo. I didn't bother posting the result, you can imagine what it looked like
Not a bad lunch stop! That's Lake Geneva below that haze
Jackie taking no notice of signs
She didn't mention the thunderstorm we had earlier in the week. It rained - a lot and the drainpipe leaks, as you can see!
Frequent visitor Whitey cat falling asleep on our windowsill

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