Snowshoeing x Two

I’m continuing my monthly habit of re-blogging a post from our days in France.  Now that daily life is on hold to a large extent, new material may be in short supply quite soon.

This time I’m more or less amalgamating two posts from February and March 2013, my early experiences of snow-shoeing.  I had a love-hate relationship with this sport.  I loved the peace, and the opportunity to explore pristine snowscapes.  But my goodness, it’s taxing.

Here I am in February – the 17th to be exact….

Snow shoes at Scaramus

It’s 7 o’clock.  I can’t see me having a late night.  We’ve had a day of ‘raquettes’ – snow shoes.  Gosh it’s exhausting.  You strap great oval saucers of plastic, webbing, and toothed metal to your feet and spend some minutes feeling like an ungainly baby taking its first uncertain footsteps across the endless wastes of the living room carpet.

Here I am, modelling my raquettes – snowshoes.

But equilibrium returns, and without these cumbersome contraptions, how else would you walk across the undulating white snowfields of the Plateau de Sault, with views of snow-sculpted hillsides nearby, jagged snow-crusted peaks beyond?  How else could you enjoy the sound of the satisfying crunch and crack as feet break through the crisp crust of the surface snow.  Thank goodness for that icy layer.  We found our 5’ long batons, plunged deep below the surface, wouldn’t touch the frozen ground beneath.

And with a bright blue sky, a hot sun enabling us to walk wearing T shirts and summer hats, what better way to spend a February Sunday?

But by March 4th, I had a surprisingly different story to report….

Snow Shoes II, The Sequel

We walkers of Laroque got our snowshoes out again today (well, in my case, I borrowed some), and went for a much more local sortie, just above Montferrier and en route for the local skiers’ playground, Mont d’Olmes.

How different from our last walk.  Instead of wide open snowfields with distant views, we had woodland walking and bright sunlight casting blue shadows across our path.

Instead of gentle slopes rising and falling before us, we had an upward slog; unremitting, tough.  Micheline and I, discouraged and tired, failed to reach the top, and missed the prize: a frozen lake with snow-clad views in every direction.  Most of the party stayed with us and kept us company.  Though our views were less exciting than those of the intrepid climbers, our picnic was the better one.  We low-achievers had wine, home-made cakes and hot coffee with us to supplement our bread and cheese.

And the journey down was completed in record time.  We arrived home as our gardens were gently baking in the last of the hot afternoon sun.  More of the same is forecast for several days: there won’t be much snow left this time next week.

 

37 thoughts on “Snowshoeing x Two”

  1. What wonderful experiences! On a separate note, it was back in 1995 on a skiing holiday that I realised something was amiss, as I was finding it hard to do 2-3 hours on the slopes….

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      1. No, still good memories…I had my first event in 1983, and it’s only in the last10 years that I have declined noticeably….

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  2. What fabulous memories you have. I wish I’d been given snow shoes when I had to drag a sledge with a 3yr old on whilst his parents were on the ski slopes. I was often up to my thighs in snow! The joys of being an au pair!

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      1. I had a very short spell in Zurich too, stepped in for a friend while she went on holiday and yes, I wasn’t part of the family there at all and had to do everything for the twins I looked after, including their washing!

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  3. I really didn’t want to see these lovely photos today – we were due to sail for a couple of weeks in A-V this morning and late last night the news announced that France was shut down so we’re still here. On the bright side it gives us the opportunity to enjoy 2 weeks of spring here.

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    1. Ah well, enjoy it. We’re all going to be kept close to base this summer, so we’ll have to make the best of it. We four are all fortunate in our living arrangements, aren’t we?

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  4. Oh what fun! Stay in good cheer – there is all sorts of gloom about. There were several bright spots to my day, hope there were a few for you as well. We’ll need positivity and resilience to weather this storm. Stay safe and well. Peace.

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  5. What a wonderful way to relive these memories. Gorgeous snow photos. I can hear that crunch and shush under one’s feet when I looked through the gallery. Love the glistening snow especially. It reminds me of what a delight it is.

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    1. It really is special. There’s no landscape quieter than a snow-filled one. We rarely have much snow in England any more. We’re brilliant at rain though!

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      1. I have heard that too so rain very well. Have I told you about the Australian scholar who made a comment to Oxford students who welcomed her when she went to study in England? She said “The gardens are so lovely here, you must water them so much!” Lol….

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    1. I have a love-hate relationship with them. The views and silence are wonderful, but it’s exHAUsting. You would have loved our French picnics though, Jo. Feasts, every one.

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