Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hiking above the Col de la Croix Fry

The other day we hiked about four miles on the ridge west of the Col de la Croix Fry, in the Aravis range of the Alps. I picked this hike because it started high (the Col de la Croix Fry is at 1460 meters) and didn't have too much up and down (although there were still some 300 meters of up, and the down turned out to be rugged). The trail, a circuit reaching the Bassin de Colomban, started out with some awe-inspiring views of the Aravis.

The trail had its ups and downs, so to speak. The signage was sometimes great, sometimes seriously misleading; the trail markers turned out to be more reliable than some of the signs. In places the trail was steep, more so at the end of our loop as we descended. On the way up, we encountered this veritable staircase of roots as part of the trail.

Even in late May snow covered parts of the trail. I twice extricated Susie from this patch.

As the snow receded, it was giving way to crocuses. Some parts of the trail itself were carpeted with crocuses. And to the side of the trail they were simply abundant.

Our climb through the forest took us to a meadow with great views back toward the Aravis.

And, not much higher, we could see all the way to Mont Blanc, a little coy in its partial cloak of clouds.

A the top of our hike, at over 1700 meters on the Sur les Frêtes ridge, we had lunch. We could look down (!) to the Pointe de Beauregard, the summit of the La Clusaz ski area. And beyond the valley in which La Clusaz lies, stood the range of the Aravis.

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