We parked at Morillon 1100 (also known as Les Esserts) and walked up one of my favourite pistes, the green run ‘Marvel’, which winds around the side of the mountain, affording spectacular views. It was a beautiful sunny day and delightful that much of the walk was in the shade. We met only people descending. This is because you can ascend the lazy way on the gondola from Samoens or the chairlift from Morillon… We felt slightly superior making the ascent ourselves, although a chairlift is not really an option with 4 pooches!
We had a gorgeous and well-deserved treat at The Igloo refuge at the top of the lift! We sneaked in a beer and I had the most delicious omelette that I have ever tasted (Savoie – with ham and cheese) and Mark had a Croque Madame. It was divine – and accompanied by that ever-so-alpine background melody of cowbells!
We were complimented on the behaviour of our dogs; “Ils sont tres gentile! Tres Calme!” – I know that we were the subject of conversation for quite some time as I kept hearing “Quatre chiens!” – yes, 4 dogs. And you wouldn’t even know they were there!
We continued up to the top of Sairon at 1171m – by far the highest that the dogs have ever been, then walked down past the bottom of our most treacherous black run, La Lanche, which continued further down as a summer mountain bike run – graded black.
Like when we skied La Lanche, we were thinking it didn’t look so bad, but believe me, once you had dropped in and committed, it got very, very much worse! There is no way that I could have cycled it. It was tough enough to walk!
It was very beautiful, though, descending through the peaceful forests with only the sound of the rushing waters. We were not sure of our bearings; navigation was difficult, but we have seen enough Bear Grylls. “Keep following the watercourse and it will bring you to civilisation. Eventually!” I had an heroic injury – my feet, which have been clad in sandals since we came away (apart from driving) have sustained a blister from wearing proper shoes.
The dogs still had energy to play on the descent – I have to say that I was getting quite tired. We had been out for 6 hours with just a 45 minute stop for lunch, but I am never so happy as I am in the mountains. It is one of the best mountain days that I have ever had. I get the same buzz from exciting sports such as windsurfing as I do from the views and the beauty, as well as seeing a landscape in summer that is so familiar in winter.
It took nearly as long to de-seed our tired doggies when we got back as it did to do the walk! They had spent so much time gambolling in the mountain meadows that they had amassed enough seed in their coats to re-sow a small farm. You know the rhyme – ‘One man and his dog went to sow a meadow!’
Fresh coffee, old wetsuits and newly mown grass; these are among my favourite aromas. The scent of the cut grass from the meadows is sweeter here than anywhere else that I have been. It is no wonder that the local cheeses, such as Reblochon, made from the summer milk are so highly prized. It’s enough to drive one into poetry!
Join me again tomorrow for Gorgeous Gorges, The Marmite Mystification, plus Zen & the Art of Caravan Conservation.
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