Nature Wonderland

We drove an hour or so out of Paris and found a nature wonderland.

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A place with hiking trails marked with bright blue paint,

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forest floor cushioned with fallen dried twigs

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and baby pine cones

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Natural mossy green carpet that look like this

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An uprooted tree, which made a good train ride

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and HUGE boulders with cavities

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We tried climbing the really BIG ones

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but I think the little ones suit me more

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we saw Mr spider enjoying sumptuous lunch

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and not-so-smart beetles which often ended up ‘belly up’

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We even spotted Mummy’s favourite fruits

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and mine too, sprouting here and there.

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And before I left, these are some of the goodies I packed with me.

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Refuge Albert 1er

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Today’s hike was quite painful, mainly because my body was already feeling exhausted after the last 2 hikes and also because an outdoor bed is not the best way to rest my body.

We started the hike at Charamillon-Balme, 7172 ft, climbed 1706 ft to Refuge Albert 1er, a mountain refuge perched atop a scraggy crag, lateral moraine of the Glacier du Tour.

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The ascent saw us crawling precariously over piles of jagged rocks and during the descent, a loose shoe lace caused a bad landing and I thought I couldn’t escape the fate of a sprained ankle. Fortunately all was well, I was still able to make it down though at a much slower pace. My knees hurt and my left toe was already blistered from yesterday’s descent. I never find descending gentle slopes such a torture. We took 4 1/2 hour to complete the hike.

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I thought I had seen quite enough glacier but today’s view atop humbled me. The huge mass of glacier stretched almost endlessly and the resulting waterfall that gushed from underneath huge masses of ice once again reminded me of mother nature’s unrelenting power.

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Time like this, when the body aches and the butt sore, I wished I never have to climb further, but I knew better than that.

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All it takes is a good night rest and another beautiful day and we will be tempted to go again.

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Camping

We are currently camping in a little camping village tucked in the middle of the woods, near Chamonix, the main town in the Mont Blanc Valley. It wasn’t as wild and rugged as I thought. Phew! We still have water to bath, electric power to start our stove, potable water from proper taps and toilets to do our business. The facilities are mostly shared except for a personal tent we pitched, our little blue portable table from Carrefour and an open air kitchen we set up next to our tent.

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Things wasn’t looking good on our first day. It rained in the middle of the night which kept me awake worrying about rain seeping through our not so professional tent. I woke up every now and then shifting position as my body proved to be too delicate for an outdoor bed. I finally started my day at 8 am when rescue helicopter from a nearby port boomed right above our site. My body ached and my hips were bruised. I was already feeling grouchy and grumpy before starting our hike, which ended up in the rain! The 3 hours hike brought us to million years old glacier and it was only on our way back that the sky started to clear up. The gloomy weather and unrestful sleep did dampen my spirit and I was quite sure I would pack my stuff anytime but I stayed on.

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Day 2 started bright and cheery and so was my mood. Maybe it was due to our first day hike. I slept like a baby and a restful sleep did make hell of a difference. We did another 3 hours hike but this time in sunny sunshine and with a panoramic view of the Mont Blanc mountain range.

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Strangely, I looked forward to coming back to our little tent. I felt an odd sense of belonging, a strange familiarity. Queuing for shared bathrooms, brushing teeth with total strangers and greeting our neighbours from Germany, Netherland, Great Britain and Spain with my just-out-of-bed look seem to bother me less.

I am beginning to think that such open and non privacy living is good for the human soul. I am beginning to love this communal living stuff.

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~ posted from Mont Blanc valley

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