Summer 2012

La Fouly campsite way down below

La Fouly campsite way down below

Well what a summer it has been! Slow to warm up after the very snowy winter, with a cooler than usual June and July, but an absolutely blazing August. This is in stark contrast to the last 2 years, when we’ve had snow down to 1600m in mid-August – brrrr! This year though it’s been up to 36 degrees in the valley, and the mercury even hit 33 degrees at the chalet, very hot for the altitude.

How are we both supposed to fit in the tent?!

To escape the heat, Kenzo and I did a camping trip up to La Fouly (1600m), where it’s considerably cooler, particularly at night. Ayaho had found a tiny pop-up tent in a sale (CHF 35, what a bargain…) and rather than take the big heavy family tent, we decided to go light. We were in for a bit of a surprise when we put it up for the first time though: I couldn’t really get in it! Oh well, I just had to curl up and try not to knock the thing down when I turned over. We had a fantastic 2 days hiking, biking and playing on the tree-top climbing course there, and came back sun kissed and tired.

 

Up in the high pastureland, 2250m, and the end of the road

I’ve done quite a bit of road cycling this summer, keeping up the fitness I built in the winter, and have done a couple of epic rides with Billy. He knows all the best roads round here, and we’ve been up to 2250m on tarmac right from the valley floor – 1750m of climbing – which was tough! Particularly trying to keep up with Billy, who’s in top form in preparation for the 8-day Transalpine Run, a multi-day mountain marathon from Germany to Italy via Austria (rather him than me, but he’s been sponsored by Gore-Tex and Innov-8 shoes to take part – good on him!) We also did an amazing ride from the Rhone valley over into the Zermatt valley, which was another 2000m+ mountain pass leading to incredible views. The good news is that all this chasing Billy uphill on two wheels means I’m going faster than ever, and rather than feeling “will I ever make it to the top of this mountain?” which is how I felt when I started back on the bike here, it’s now a question of “how fast?”

I’ve walked all the way down from way up there!

Kenzo and I have done some great mountain walks, and he’s twice managed the long walk down from our local peak, from 2360m to 1360m. The first time it took us 5 hours, with mini-picnic stops every 15 minutes, and the second time we took a longer route near the bottom of the mountain and I ended up carrying him the last bit. A local farmer passing in his 4×4 saw us and took pity, giving us a lift back home which was very kind.

We see so much on these walks: the herd of deer that has set up home on the snow drift which still lies near the head of the valley, the huge eagle which patrols the skies, the marmot holes, snow and avalanche erosion of the valley sides, the birds, carpets of wild flowers and so on. Really wonderful, and I love that Kenzo’s growing up taking an interest in the great outdoors 😉

Kenzo’s also come up with some cracking new words this summer. My favourite is “kilonometre”, as in “how many kilonometres is it dad?” He also uses this wonderful word to describe how much space he has left in his tummy, as in “But dad, I can’t eat all that broccoli because I’ve only got one kilonometre of space left in my tummy, and my favourite dessert takes up one kilonometre!”

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