• Mike

Mountain Life - It's not all about the skiing.

There are so many great things to do in the Alps and I intend to do more of them now that I have that most precious commodity - time!

Today was a blue sky warm day and after two days skiing, and friends arriving next week who will want to get in the most skiing that they can, I thought today I would take things more slowly.

On went the boots and the snowshoes were attached to the rucksack and off I went. Three hours later and I had covered a little over 8 miles and climbed over 1100 feet. It was spectacular. The walking areas were quiet and in the forest on snowshoes there was silence and literally not one other person on the whole of that part of the journey. I loved it! The beauty of snow-shoes is clearly that you can "access all areas" but there are also a series of pre-planned routes mapped out which are well-signed and usefully give an estimated completion time and level of difficulty graded green, blue, red and black like the ski slopes.

Snow shoeing is sometimes promoted as a way to see the fauna of the Alps but I reckon that the sound of the constant clacking of the raquettes themselves lets everything know that you around, and I have never been lucky enough to see anything other than tracks.

In this area there are the usual small mammals like rats, mice and red squirrels, some bigger ones such as Marmottes, Hares, Martins and Foxes and some big ones like wild Boar, Ibex and Chamois. In recent years there have been increased sightings of Wolves and they are definitely present and Lynxes are rumoured to be returning to the area too.

In the air there are eagles and now in addition to the Gryphon vulture the Bearded Vulture has returned to the area. With it's 3 metre(!) wingspan it used to be rumoured to take old ladies for its lunch aswell as sheep.

Not sure what this beastie is called - Fred probably!

However you have spent your Friday I hope that the weekend promises fun and some kind of adventure. Enjoy!

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