hiking: pointe de tardevant (2501m)

Today we hiked to Pointe de Tardevant in the Chaîne des Aravis. Following a lovely drive through the valley where Reblochon cheese is produced, we arrived at the parking for multiple trailheads. It is a short but steady, 2.5 hour climb to the peak between beautifully angled rock faces. On the trail upwards, we passed a small lake and many grazing sheep. 

A steep drop down to the valley.

We have just enough clear sky to approach the point, but  here come the clouds. From a previous hike in this chain, we know the view towards the high Alps is amazing. Today we will have to settle for a few glimpses through the quickly gathering clouds.

It got pretty cold while we ate our lunch at the summit.

On the way down we noticed a few other hikers bent beside some low bushes. Blueberries! The rest of the trip down took a bit longer, since we stopped every few steps for a snack and to gather the wild berries to bring home. Yum.

One last stop at the base to pet the goats and grab some cheese. Time to top off a great hike by sharing a fantastic meal with friends...a typical Polish Christmas Eve feast with beetroot soup, vegan spinach pierogi, and poppyseed cake. Our friends prepared a holiday-worthy homemade meal that was the best way to warm up from the mountain, but all that spice and comfort is making me think about the holidays...and it's still August. 


pougny stock cars

After this morning's grueling run up to Crozet, we met with friends to watch stock car racing. This was my first time at the track, so I have to admit I was skeptical when Derek told me they would try to roll the cars to accumulate points. I was roped into the excitement immediately with the first muddy loop and banged-up, bouncily-rolling cars circling the course, dropping tires and bumpers, catching fire, and looking like turtles turned on their backs struggling to right side themselves. It didn't take long to choose our favorites and we found ourselves cheering for the pink or purple cars, the auto école vehicle, and one aggressive driver that pushed the other cars off the track between his own quick rolling maneuvers.  


fort l'ecluse: take two

Friday evening wind-down with a quick climb up. Two weeks past the Irontrail, and everything is feeling a bit more rested and recovered. I spent a beautiful day outside, starting with an early run with Jess, the afternoon at the pool (maybe for the last time this summer), and topped-off with a via ferrata climb before dark.   


via ferrata: fort l'ecluse

First monkey rope. Look ma, one hand! Today we finally got around to trying the via ferrata course at Fort l'Ecluse. We need a break once in a while from putting miles on our feet and thought it would be a good idea to start using our arms. I've been wanting to try this for the past few years, so we finally gathered the necessary harness, Y lanyard with carabiners and energy absorber. Now, I only need a my-sized helmet.

Here we go.

The fort is only a ten minute drive, and the climb takes about an hour plus a short walk back down. After our first go, I am already wishing it was longer. I can't wait to explore courses in the Saléve and Alps, and we can make practice trips close to home. This is going to be too much fun. 


hiking: lacs et col de la terrasse (2648m)

Today we planned to take a rest, keep close to home, and give our bodies a break. But, it was a beautiful clear morning, and so, we found ourselves mountain bound (couldn't resist). The trailhead started in Le Couteray, just beyond the summer crowds in Chamonix, and we began to wind our way up Mount Buet. Our legs didn't complain too much for forcing them back on the trails again. I could tell I was slower moving and still a bit tired and stumbly, but the scenery carried us along. 

We parked ourselves on a large rock with a great panoramic to for lunch.

After traipsing across a snow field, we scrambled upward, following rushing water until it was impassible. We had missed a turn, so back down, and to the correct trail to start the climb again. 

Up we go.

The trail led up to a high Alpine valley full of colorful wildflowers before ascending to a group of lakes.

We sunned on the rocks and waded into the freezing water, wanting to swim if it weren't for the gathering clouds making it too cool.

The pass sits just above the largest lake, hovering over the Swiss border with an amazing view.

Time to start the steep descent toward the chalets de la Loriaz, but then easy going to finish the loop.

Goodnight Alps.