After reaching the highest point of our trek at Col de Chaviere and a stunning view of Mount Blanc nestled in the clouds, it was time to head down. Unfortunately it was a long, steep descent through a path of rocky glacier moraine. But at least there were plenty of beautiful views to keep me and my camera busy.
Amazingly enough, at the very top of the Col I found these beautiful wildflowers and could hardly believe that they grew in such a place. The top of the Col was surrounded in rock and normally quite windy. Yet life not only survived, it thrived.
We hiked down an incredibly steep and slippery trail for well over an hour. It wasn’t pleasant and I was relieved when we were finally at the bottom and my knees still felt intact. Finally. We had a picnic lunch against the rocks and rested. The hike was starting to catch up with me. I could finally admit I was a bit tired.
As we neared our final refuge for the night, our guide Mark took us on a little detour through a rock field (I don’t know how else to describe it). It was very hard to navigate and we had to be extremely quiet. We were on an animal hunt and Mark had a good feeling we would be in for a surprise.
Not long into our adventure we rounded a corner and Mark spotted a group of the elusive Ibex. We froze. “Do not move” he said for a moment and I was afraid to breathe in case I’d scare them off. Slowly I lifted my camera and took a few shots of these incredibly shy creatures.
We continued our approach as if we were walking on egg shells. Slow. Steady. And as quiet as possible when walking over gigantic, unstable rocks. Surprisingly, the Ibex weren’t alarmed and just watched us like deer frozen in the oncoming headlights of a car. We realized at any minute they could bolt straight up the steep edge of the mountain. But we kept on approaching, slow and steady, hoping to get a better view.
And there he was….
It was a thrill to see the Ibex so close and unafraid. We left them in peace and hiked the short half hour further to our final refuge for the night. It was a beautiful walk past two gorgeous vibrant green glacial lakes, one small and the other quite large.
The sun was shining strong and it was incredibly lovely by the second, larger lake. But a hot shower and Vin de Savoie was waiting. We were worn out and ready to take off our hiking boots for the day and relax. Or at least we hoped. For who knew how many people would be crammed into our room at the refuge. We probably were not going to be as lucky as the two nights before.
The refuge was located in the heart of a dramatic valley with stunning views. Although the accommodations weren’t the best, the views were sensational and breathtaking. A nice send off from a delightful week in the Alps.
Finally the refuge is in the horizon…
The views as we approached the refuge were unbelievable. What a way to remember the trip! Postcard perfect.
Would we be in paradise at last? Or would we be packed into a long, narrow room again like a can of sardines?
This post is a continuation of my series on my hiking trip, Tour de la Vanoise. To read more of these posts, click here.