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April so far in the Forces-of-Nature Diaries
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Member#: 6644
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Registered: 27-05-2007
Diary Entries: 1878

1st March 2020
Hiking - Walking:  Circuit of the Plateau Des Glieres
Wind Direction:
Wind Stength:
Surf / Sea State:
Air Temperature:
Sea Temperature:
Weather: Sunny morning cloud with strong winds and sleety rain later with thunder!
Max Speed:
Distance Covered: 5.11 miles (Nautical Miles - unless stated otherwise)

Sunday 1st March – First snow shoe ***** – Circuit of the Plateau Des Glieres – Sunny morning cloud with strong winds and sleety rain later with thunder!


A bit of a wild night with strong winds and heavy rain. We were wondering if there would be any snow left in the morning but we were snug in the van. It had cooled off at dawn and there was a light dusting of snow in the car park. The snow plough whizzed about first thing getting pretty close to us but there wasn’t much to clear and with a bright blue still day it soon melted and we couldn’t wait to get the snow shoes on for the first time this year! Being a Sunday with lovely weather the car park soon filled up with cross country skiers, walkers, snow shoers and families just sledging and we were entertained mainly by the skiers some good others not so! As usual it was the children that were the most entertaining – they are so tiny to cross country ski!! With a picnic packed we wanted to get going as the weather was supposed to take a turn for the worse during the afternoon. We left the van at 10.20 after a nice American Lady took our pic. We headed down to the walking path just below the van as a large group of teenagers passed us and headed towards the large monument dedicated to the French Resistance so we went the other way hoping it would be quieter. The path runs alongside the cross country piste to the first of several chalet style restaurants here, the Chez Merlin It is a beautiful spot as we walk towards an impressive line of high snowy peaks at the end of the Plateau surrounded on both sides by slopes covered in snow covered pines and all under a deep blue sky, just perfect:) I then make a small detour leaving Mag on the path and heading off piste up the slope to the tree line to make fresh tracks in the snow:) I am soon high above Mag treading where no one has been lately just loads of animal tracks! The only downside was I lost my camera lens cap while taking a selfie, I hope I can get one at Annecy tomorrow? I re-join Mag just short of the next restaurant the Chez Constance where a nice French lady takes our pic and chats about the weather:) This is the end of the short circular walk but we continue past some farm building about another mile down the valley with a group of teenage boys trudging the other way struggling with holdalls and sleeping bags, perhaps they had spent the night at the Refuge de Spee? It was at about this point we heard the distinctive call of a bird of prey and looked up towards the trees on the left of the plateau. We were rewarded with the most wonderful sight of three booted eagles!!! The one we could see the most clearly had a virtually white underside and the others were a little darker. We watched them swooping through the trees and up into the blue sky, calling to each other the whole time – it says in our book they are very vocal!! We hoped to loop round a large clump of pine trees and return on the other side but were not sure until with got to the bottom whether we would be able to do that. We were just reading the walking sign when two old ski tourers appeared and headed up the hill so we followed them to the best part of the whole walk. The first part was fairly steep as you wind your way up through the pine trees following the ski track and those of a couple of snow shoers going the other way. It was great to be making fresh tracks in soft snow, amazing condition considering the heavy rain we had yesterday! We found a lovely spot under a budding tree for our picnic before setting off as the dark clouds started to roll up the valley and the breeze increased. We followed fence poles to the top to get a great view back up the valley and Mag sat with the binoculars trained on a line of pine trees and was chuffed to see a crested Tit – her favourite bird. We walked steeply down past another car park accessed from the other side of the mountains. You can actually drive all the way over in the summer. A steady uphill slog followed with six-mile legs and achy hips to get a closer look at the large Monument. All the way around the walk we had been reading information boards telling of the history of the Plateau and its wild life too. There had been a large all year round community here before and during the Second War World several of whom had been shot by the Germans for helping the resistance:( The Monument just didn’t seem go get any closer but we made it in the end and you can go inside to what is actually a small Chapel dedicated to the resistance fighters, in fact some are buried by a flag pole nearby! It was then just a short distance back to the van for a well-deserved cuppa and chocolate and almond croissant and very yummy they were too. The weather has now taken a real turn for the worse with strong wind and horizontal sleety rain driving up the valley and we are here all by ourselves but we are not scared! Let’s hope it doesn’t snow in the night and we can get down the windy road tomorrow before the forecast heavy snow arrives!


Photo Gallery Here


Monday 2nd March – little travel then sit out the rain – Foul, started in snow then rained all day:(


Survived another night up in the mountains on the Plateau des Glieres with only a light dusting of snow and the strong winds disappeared too. Again, the snow plough whizzed about the car park in the dark clearing what little snow there was narrowly missing the van again! Read for a bit as the snow started to fall and as we didn’t want to have a problem on the steep windy road down, we decided to pack the van up and head down to Lac Annecy for breakfast. There were a few brave cross-country skiers out in the foul conditions with several more driving up! It is an amazing road down through the pine trees with some tall rock faces all around and the snow soon turned to rain as we dropped into the valley. We stopped to take a picture of one of the longest waterfalls we have seen and were soon on the Annecy road. We drove through the town and down to the Lac looking nowhere near as nice in the rain and stopped at a Lidl for supplies. Then headed towards the bottom of the Lac to our usual picnic spot Duinat but missed it the first time as they were sadly building chalets on half of one of the only green areas left by the Lac:( parked up eventually with the rain showing no sign of stopping and had breakfast watching the cloud obscure the surrounding mountains and the wind picked up too. So we spent a long day in the van mainly reading and eating, there is nothing worse than wet weather in a small campervan and the forecast for the next week is looking pretty grim, there was even talk of returning home early, shame really as we have had some great days along the way. Despite the great Lac view we had, it was very close to a busy road so we headed to a quieter spot for the night at St Jorioz and the rain shows no sign of stopping. Its looking a little better for a couple of days before more heavy rain/snow on Thursday, how we long for the 19 consecutive sunny days we got down here last year, I personally blame Brexit, Boris, Trump and finally Global Warming for all this bad weather :)


Toys Used:
TSL snow shoe  Approach 226

 

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