Yesterday looked like a great day for a walk, so we packed some lunch, water and sunscreen and headed for le Lachat de Thônes, at 2,023 metres above sea level (more than 1,000 metres higher than St Jean de Sixt, where we walked from). My first clue to not leave the house should have been the struggle I knew I’d face in keeping up with two muscly, long-legged blokes. At different times, they patiently waited for me under the shade of trees while I caught up, puffing and hot with the clear blue sky allowing the sun to heat up everything. By the time we reached this bizarre sign that the wood has grown around, I was still positive and looking forward to the nice views at the top. We stopped while I took a photo of the tree trunk, again cooling down in the shade of the trees, before climbing the mostly steep track once more. I should have recognised the weird tree thing as a sign to turn for home. We kept walking.
Then the clouds came. Then the rain started. Then the (loose) rock climbing began. We could see our goal just a few hundred metres away, but with me nervous from the rock climbing and one of the boys hungry, we stopped for lunch, with a huge drop of rocks below us and trying to get some shelter from the heavy rain and wind under one rocky outcrop. So here we were, at almost 2,000 metres, in the middle of a storm and completely exposed to the elements, far away from anyone or anything but rocks and ants. The weather report had predicted nothing but blue skies all day long. A walk that should have taken about two hours up and a bit less back ended up taking us six and a half all round, thanks to my slowness on the way up, stopping for lunch, and faced with slippery mud and plants between the rocks on the way back that led to a number of falls. The pale blue paint to mark the way was invisible at times and we had to guess the way — not ideal in a sea of rocks in every direction. I would have loved to have taken some photos of the journey, but my camera was too wet to use. At least the rain kept down the fly numbers, and by the time we reached the first farm, the rain had stopped, the flies had returned and we dried out a little. Hooray! Spirits renewed, we headed for the bakery. We had five minutes to get there before it closed when more rain started hammering down on us. Torn between shelter and bakery, we waited a few minutes then ran — right past the now-closed bakery. Empty-handed, tired, wet, muddy, and with blisters on my feet and a splinter in my hand, I was never happier to see my front door. An unpredicted thunderstorm started soon after we walked in the door and lasted until after midnight. I should have enjoyed the walk blah blah blah, but I really didn’t. While the boys stopped in the pelting rain to look at an ‘interesting’ rock with a sea shell fossil embedded, I hungered for a comfy couch and hot chocolate. Every time they said: “Isn’t this flower/rock/landscape/mud/beetle amazing?”, I just wanted to say “No, the fact that we’ve stopped with rain pelting down on us at 1,500 metres, apparently not at all concerned about the risk of injury or death on these rocks and the slippery mud on the steep hill down is amazing.” I’m starting to think I’m a city girl after all!
UPDATE: I found a tic on my leg this morning (Friday), and one on one of the boys’ torsos. Thankfully, the other boy is a pharmacist and he got them off with the heads intact.