Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 08, 2011: Happy Mother's Day, Market, Chamrousse and Lac Achard

Happy Mother's Day! Although I didn't have the opportunity to celebrate it with my mother today, I'll be seeing her on Tuesday for our Tour de France, so the timing is just about right.

As usual on the weekends, today was a market morning. But unusually we ran into someone we knew - our friend Sheree. And as a result we got an offer to go on a hike up at Chamrousse, to Lac Achard. I felt like my mother, who often walks into town and bumps into someone she knows at the store, catching a ride home with them.

The drive up to Chamrousse was the very epitomy of mountainous - one hairpin turn after another, for about an hour. Sheree had the fun of following us on her motorcycle, for which she had bought a special backpack so that Einzel could ride along. We reached the ski resort of Chamrousse and set out for Lac Achard with Bernard as our guide. Lac Achard is at 1917 meters up in the alps, and is a fairly small lake. It's so high in the mountains that there aren't many hills up beyond it - I imagine it must be partly spring-fed because there isn't much of a surrounding area that would drain meltwater from the snow.

The hike to the lake was beautiful - it was our closest view yet of the striking Belledonne mountains, and it was a brilliantly sunny day. Unlike the rounded and eroded Vercors limestone, the rock here was sharp, hard granite. I saw many interesting alpine flowers that I hadn't seen before.

When we reached the lake it was ringed by picnickers and hikers. It is very picturesque - there was something about the bowl of the valley, filled with the water, leading to the view to the Belledonnes, that had an infinity pool kind of effect.

A strange pink flower with very fuzzy stems

We pose by the lake

A wild tulip

Lac Achard - the infinity pool

Only a small patch of snow left, even though we're at a high altitude

Mark contemplates the water

Bernard climbs up ahead of us

A brilliant blue flower

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