Waking this morning I decided that I needed to go into the mountains instead of going for a run just in the valley. I had breakfast got dressed threw a flask of mint tea in my bag along with a light duvet jacket, jumped into the car and drove up to the parking at Burzier. Arriving at the parking I noticed a lot of cars parked already but I also knew that most if not all of these would belong to locals, you do not get many tourists here, this is one of the reasons I adore this place so much. Also the other reason being that although the car park maybe full you can guarantee that you will not see many people on the trails or hills.
Setting off at a brisk pace I soon over took some groups of trekkers making their way up the steep pathways. At the junction for Meyer and Doran I cut left towards Refuge Meyer keeping the views of the Mont Blanc massif on my left hand side. Today though they were keeping their summits in a grey cloak of cloud. Passing through the alpages as I ascended I noticed that there were still some red clovers by the edges of the paths trying to hang on in there before the full winter snows arrived and sent them to sleep until spring next year.
It took about forty minutes of trekking up hill before the first snows were come across, just patches that had been laying there for a couple of days and were slowly melting back into the cold ground. As I got higher though I could see a deeper blanketing cover of snow higher up towards the col, where I was heading, to drop down into the Valle Doran. Stopping briefly at the closed Refuge Meyer just for a quick gulp of hot tea I decided to carry on to the Doran Valley and the snowfields above me.
Crossing underneath the north face of the Quatre Tetes I soon found the path a mix of wet slushy snow, slippery mud and wet limestone, the drops to one side were quite large but this did not last long before the breaking trail into the snow fields began. I did not expect this much snow and a lot of the time my legs punched through up to my knees and after a little while I realised how I had forgotten what a good work out it is for the legs breaking trail in fresh deep snow.
Soon though I had reached the col and looked down onto the beauty of the Valle Doran, the alpage buildings with their coloured tin roofs all locked up now for the winter season the cows having been driven down to the valley. At the end of the valley sat Pointe Percee the tallest peak in the Chaine du Aravis sitting proud and from this angle always looks as though it should belong more in Patagonia than here in the Alps.
Dropping down through the snowfields into total solitude I saw a bearded vulture circling above “ If you are waiting for me to slip and become todays meal my friend then you have a long wait” I thought. I put on my headphones and started listening to the sound track of the film called Himalaya by the French director Eric Valdi, a beautiful film and the sound track fitting to any mountain environment.
Back to the car at Burzier and still a lot of cars there and in total I saw four people on the mountain, my stomach rumbled for some late lunch and so with a turn of the key in the ignition I headed back down to the valley and home. A beautiful day out with total space and solitude to find myself once again