We leave the crowds of Annecy and slowly follow the road that runs alongside the tranquil lake. Towns and villages along the way seem deserted after Annecy, but this just adds to their charm. The village of Duingt on the west side certainly appeals to us with it chateau, ruins and quaint feel.
We leave the lake and immediately start our climb in to the mountains. Our route follows a torrent of a river which snakes all the way to just over 1000m high. Lined with trees and boulders with the occasional landslide to remind you how delicate the land around these parts can be. At the peak, we stop to stretch our legs and take in our surroundings.
A huge oval valley opens out in front of us. Its vast and captivating. We bear right and hug the valley wall. It takes minutes to descend and mingle in with the valley life. Passing the old fashioned but hip resort of Megeve with designer shops and boutiques. Then onward to St-Gervais-les-Bains before we branch off and start some serious climbing.
We wind up through tiny villages with steep lanes that have me gripping my seat. Craig stays calm whilst I freak. Ducking to avoid the wrought iron balconies and breathing in as we squeeze in spaces we shouldn’t squeeze in to. I mop my brow and catch my breath for round 2. When the villages stop the road continues but…it gets narrower, winder and the road barriers cease to exit. No barriers just sheer vertical drops. I hate this bit with a passion and it some pathetic attempt to help us from falling off the cliff, I lean the other way. Craig finds this highly amusing and takes every opportunity to tease me until I break out in to a full blown sweat.
We arrive at Plateau d’Assy some 1400 m high. I sigh. After all that sweat and tears, we arrive and someone’s nicked Mont bloody Blanc! Absolute nothing but thick cloud. I am gutted. We park up on the aire and sit in cloud.
Our Bumble Paid Aire at Plateau D’Assy GPS Position: N045.951260, E006.738647.
A huge thunderstorm breaks over Mont Blanc. Torrential rain pelts our motorhome tin roof like machine gun, it is so loud we find ourselves shouting to have a conversation and we are only 2 feet apart. A mighty rushing wind sets Vin rocking, the dogs howling and the TV to maximum volume.
The next day, we still sit in cloud but this time the cloud roars and flashes at us. A mega thunderstorm like no other. Poor Mac n Tosh are frightened half to death. Outside we watch our tarmac road slowly vanish as it turns in to a sloshing and swirling river.
By late afternoon, the rain paused and we donned on the wellies. Off we went with the dudes for a walk. Roaming around in boggy undergrowth amid the fir forest – heaven for Mac n Tosh. Off they went sniffing out the mountain mosses and clambering up rotting tree trunks. Under a blanket of swirling cloud we headed deep in to the forest trail. We spot a sign for ‘vert lac’ and change our path to go and explore.
An hour’s walk and we’re deep into alpine forest and it is a cool with refreshing scent of pine in the air. Just like magic the green lake appears. Surrounded by tall rhododendron trees, fir trees and big cedars. We walk as far around the lake as far as possible until we arrive at a battered and broken wooden bridge. The rains have taken their toll, so we about turn and trundle back.
By sunset, the clouds started to disperse…the icing on the cake! Mr Mont Blanc peered through the clouds. What an amazing big tick on the bucket list.
We wake to a break in the weather, so we swing in to action and set off on a mountain walk. Mont Blanc is certainly a great mountain and it feel very different to other mountain ranges…it feels closer. We set out at ten, climbing up loose gravel inclines and steep stone paths. Some aspect open and others through a woodland. When we emerge from the trees the sunshine is still way up in the mountain tops but the air is cool and fresh.
We passed a few small half-timbered chalets and cottages with wooden verandahs and cast iron canopies. Window boxes are empty but chalets are surrounded by meadow flowers providing an avid display of alpine colours.
The walking path is undulating, rising and falling as we cross the crags and valleys. Most of the rivers along our walk are dried up or diverted, so we are able to safely cross. However, the hiss of falling water is never far away, as high above on the sheer rock face waterfalls tumble down from the mountains into the valley. Reminders of lost souls are never far away with stacks of stones and shrines and pertinent points.
Mont Blanc and its surrounding army of peaks follow our journey all the way. The bright blue sky and snow white peaks provide a real good feel factor to our walk. We stop often and gaze at the mountain, so tempting and yet so terrifying in equal measures. Its beauty is captivating and at times it feels like I could reach out and just touch it. Standing at just over 15,500 feet this mountain is the tallest in western europe. Our walk shows provide us with views of the Mont Blanc range, Aiguille du Midi cable car station and aiguilles of Chamonix.
After 6 hours of rambling we return. The pooches jump straight in to the motorhome and flop in their bed, shattered. A nice warm cuppa for us before we start preparing for tonights activities. With such clear skies and a Mont Blanc vista to die for we opted for and evening under the stars. Whilst I finish some hand washing, Craig goes in search of fire wood. I then prepare for our BBQ whilst Craig shoots off on Eor the bike for some lager.
A bloody brilliant night with great food, great beer and great company. Me, hubby and our 2 dudes sat by a toasty campfire with a moonlit view of Mont Blanc. Life right now feels rather special