FRANCE Chamonix from north (2) 2016 July

Chamonix, north side of the valley, part 2.

A scene descending from Lac Blanc

My descent from Lac Blanc was slow (for those just popping in to this one blog, my story of the Chamonix region is continuing from previous posts). I was in no hurry to leave – and I wanted the ice to soften to allow me to kick steps in the snow rather than slide perilously down it. I stopped en route to take quite a lot of photos of this lake here, even though the sun was already too high for the sort of photos I favour.

Such a great camping spot!
In another drop and rise manoeuvre, I descended to the Col des Montets and then further, down on the eastern side, to Le Buet, before climbing back up (north) to the Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard, arriving in time for a late lunch. I was so glad I hadn’t brought food with me, as the lunch I ordered was absolutely delicious. I had nothing special I wanted to do before sunset (other than eat more and explore), so I just hung around eating and chatting to the other walkers. Eventually I did manage to leave food, and people, and go and suss out the waterfalls and pay a visit to the Ibex playing in the névé up higher. I had friends up there camped by the snow to chat to later. The afternoon passed quickly.

The descent next day was quick. I was getting quite used to this pattern, and dropped and rose once more to my next lodging for the night, Refuge de Loriaz, where I had some soup for lunch before exploring. Some of the ruins of this ancient alpage date back to 1250. It was very quaint. Dinner later that night was excellent.

Sunset, Loriaz
I slept in a converted animal barn, which I had all to myself, and I loved it. It is off in the shadows to the right of this picture above, too small to be seen properly.

This shot is of dawn, but the evening before, while I was out shooting cows at sunset, they got rather excited to be photographed – famous at long last – and came rushing over to check that I’d taken some flattering images off them, and thought they’d show their love and affection for me by licking the beautiful GND glass in front of my lens. I was in the middle of a long exposure shot that was now being ruined, so I don’t know why I didn’t move earlier. I guess I just expected them to stop. They didn’t. I had cleaning agents for the glass with me, but found that hot water worked better than anything else for this job, so I had to abandon my shooting. They all followed me towards my barn. I am not normally at all afraid of cattle, but they were crowding me out, so I had to act severe and shoo them away lest I get knocked over and trampled in their enthusiasm.

You can see the little barns in this photo

At dawn on this day, I was glad to see that they were a-mooing and a-chewing a bit further away. I no longer thought that cows would make an interesting foreground to the mountains.

After the shoot, I returned to find that the guardian had set up a table outside in the sun for me to have breakfast looking at the mountains. How beautiful. I loved the tranquility of this place.

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