Thursday, 9 September 2010

Hiking to Lac Blanc Refuge

A couple of weekends ago we finally got ourselves oranised (ie: Linda organised us) to hike into a Refuge in the mountains near Chamonix.
We'd been wanting to do something like this for a really long time and, with the hiking season drawing to a close, we decided it was time to get on with it!
The Refuge is situated by a lake across the valley from the Mont Blanc range of mountains and the walk in was really amazing even though it was quite cloudy for much of the walk (and it was consequently quite cold).

We followed the path into the national park, seeing some Chamois and plenty of small lakes and ponds along the way, and occassionally the clouds would lift giving us a view across the valley.
Once we finally reached the refuge, we familiarised ourselves with the way these these work (not having stayed in a refuge before) and took ourselves out for a walk out by the lake, returning in time for dinner. We had a feast for dinner; soup with slabs of cheese dropped in it, beef bourguinoin and pasta for mains, and something else delicious for desert.
However we pretty rapidly lost track of what was happening then. Everyone around us bolted off for showers and bed, and we discovered that the hot water was soon to disappear as were the lights for the night. So Linda and I did our best to get our selves off to bed but were hampered by our locker jamming up on us. I stood there in the dark using my phone screen as a torch trying to figure out how to unjam our locker for some time before one of the caretakers appeared and was able to help us.
Our sleep wasn't brilliant either, with refuge sleeping being very much a dormatory style affair filled with snoring adults and sleep-talking children (and anyway we were pretty wound up after our locker lock-out).
So it wasn't much of a surprise that we woke up for dawn and so we went out to watch the sun rise over the alps. This was amazing, with clear skies and some whispy clouds in the valley below us.
After the sun was up and we'd had our breakfast, we hiked up the mountain towards Lac de la Perserverance. This wasn't actually our plan, as we though we were just going to do a walk around Lac Blanc itself but evidently we got on the wrong track at some point and ended up somewhere completely different.
Not that this was really a bad thing, as it turned out to have been a very interesting destination - a lake high in the mountains that was still largely frozen over even at the end of summer.
After this we back-tracked to the Refuge for a final hot chocolate before deciding to head straight back down the mountain because the weather was starting to close in (and a storm with snow was forecast!).
We had a very nice walk down the mountain, passing many people going in the opposite direction who were apparently taking part in some kind of mountain walking event in Chamonix that weekend. We stopped by a small lake that was fed by a spring, and we drank from the spring (an occasion for which we had specifically brought camping cups) and snoozed in the sun by the bubbling stream.


swandives said...

Oh wow...that is incredible!

Kathy said...

Spectacularly beautiful! Thanks for posting.