Author’s note: This is a continuation on my series of trekking La Vanoise National Park in the high Alps of France. To see all posts in this series, click here.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” - John Burroughs
After a rough night’s sleep, I gathered my wits and set off with our group a little past nine o’clock to the rising sun. The fresh air seemed to help immensely and draw me in. Soon, my three-hour night’s sleep was all but a distant dream and I was in my element. Embracing life and breathing it all in with each and every step.
Before we departed, we gathered up all our belongings and shoved our picnic lunch for the day into our full packs. I was happy to leave the Col de la Vanoise hut and looked forward to our next refuge at l’Arpont, about a five hours hike away.
It was another spectacular cloudless day. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun sparkled, the mountains loomed and the air was as fresh and pure as can be. I felt more alive than I had in months, for I was in a spectacular setting, working my body and I was free.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” - Helen Keller
As we rose over the crest of the hill, we saw a sparkling blue lake below. I had finally found serenity, for what could be more spectacular than the glorious views.
“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.” - Henry David Thoreau
I easily forgot my fatigue and continued along with my eyes wide open, stopping often to take yet another picture. As the day went on, I lost track of how many photos I took. One hundred. Two hundred. More? I could hardly resist as everything was a work of art, the sensational beauty that makes nature such a priceless gift.
As we hiked further into the depths of the mountains, people became less frequent and the terrain changed. The dirt path had vanished as a steeper, rockier trail appeared. I could no longer watch the panoramic horizon and unfortunately had to keep my face down, watching each and every step along the way.
We took a brief break for a snack and rest. The view continued to get more fantastic each step of the way. I understand why Vanoise became the first national park in France. It is a treasure worth celebrating.
Stay tuned….the journey continues and more lovely pictures along the way.