GR5 Day 29 - Game of Rock Roulette
Lac de la Fous - Above Refuge de Merviellies.
So it turns out there was a slightly more atmospheric pitch around the corner, but this was occupied by 2 tents already. There was also camping allowed by the refuge in a little cornered off area, but this reminded me of a zoo. Where you go and stare at the wild animals or in this case campers. After 4 days of no shower I'm starting to look a little wild as well so I was a little worried about being kept in, so we moved swiftly past.
Today we did more scrambling than walking. Jac gracefully leapt from boulder to boulder, gazelle like. Where I staggered around like a drunken women on Blackpool prom. Many many many boulders were crossed, trying to follow the elusive red and white markers. All the while thinking surely it can't be going over that, but it always was.
Today we entered the Vallee Des Merviellies this is an area that is famous for its ancient rock carvings, there are apparently over 36,000 of them, we saw about 10 and a wall of not so ancient graffiti, people from 1886 had chipped their names into the rocks. There are tours that will take you around some of the others but I didn't think we could fit 36,000 of them in. However I am a believer that anything worth seeing, someone will have taken a picture of, and it will be on a postcard. I had a quick look at the ones for sale in the refuge and these seem to show the best ones, so a little standing tour was had instead. There was also a very amusing picture of a marmite doing something illegal which we wouldn't have seen otherwise.
The area is beautiful, it is dramatic and rugged, with rocks of many colours, there were even some tie dyed ones. Jac has become inspired to take a geology course as some rocks she is convinced should not be together and sinister forces must be at play. I am all for this as at least it might stop her obsession with red and white stripes.
The walk or scramble today was only 6 miles so that worked out at a mile an hour for us which should give you some idea as to how tricky the terrain was. However we did have an rare early finish which is always appreciated, we found a perfect wild camp pitch overlooking the refuge and the lake. So we claimed it as our own, there was sun too which meant the tent could dry and sleeping bags aired as soggy bags leads to fusty smell.
We have also taken the opportunity to create our Christmas card by draping all our socks on the branches of a pine tree, I think it looks lovely, it may not make the Hallmark cut but who cares.
This is similar to the Russian version but no gun. However you are pitting yourself against nature and she is a formidable force.
Firstly you need a boulder field, stretching as far as the eye can see, (come to the Alps they have lots)
Secondly you need a hiker, chose a stocky one with large backpack, they are not so balanced.
Place hiker on boulder field and mark direction of travel with little coloured stripes.
Aim of game is to get across boulder field without major trauma.
However not all boulders are the same despite appearances.
Some wobble with alarming force this can cause hiker to crap pants - 10 points to nature.
Some can simply disappear with hiker on them -10 points to hiker if they can leap off in time.
Some are quite polished and if hiker has no grip on boots left this can cause alarming skid action - 10 points to nature if skid is stopped by smashing into other boulder.
Bonus points can be scored by nature, these are in the shape of tiny gaps between rocks that trekking poles will get caught in, and only intricate and intense twisting of pole will possibly dislodge. This will distract hiker and allow nature to add low cloud and mist to create even more hazards.
Things not to do:
When you have summited the Col, do not clamber back over the top and holler,
"get a move on you lazy arse, your nearly there " as it is likely that the person your holler was intended for will be quite a way down the mountain still. And you will have instead traumatised an innocent French lady who was just about to summit. This may cause her to stagger backwards and nearly fall.
Ps if you did happen to do this grab your trekking partner and make haste down the other-side.
Do not forget that Barbra has two quite large appendages, this adds at least a foot more up front, this needs to be calculated into stopping distances when traversing down hill. In the event that you have forgotten this and to look where your going, you may well knock your trekking partner off the path where they have been innocently awaiting your arrival.