Sunday, 27 December 2009
Glorious clear blue skies have been the order of the day today but with temperatures that have struggled to rise above freezing. A stretch of the legs was required so I headed out with the pooch down into the woods opposite the house and followed the familiar but yet indistinct path around the hillside to Echerboul on the other side and then up to the gite d'étape at Liers. It was a beautifully surreal scene as a cloud inversion gradually pushed its way up through the woods, threatening to stifle the weak sunlight as it fought its way through the treesLooking back from the path that would lead me up to Liers, the smouldering cloud inversion in the Massat Valley with the high mountains in the distance provided a stunning vistaThe aim of my jolly jaunt was to try and locate a track that contours the hillside above Liers and eventually winds its way around the slopes beneath Pic de la Journalade with the possibility of providing onward access on skis de rando to Pic des Trois Seigneurs in the right conditions. I didn't know how far I would get, but the peaks looked spectacular with their snowy covering. It was an absolute joy to be out in such beautiful conditions.I located the start of the track without any difficulty but encountered a chasseur there who warned me against continuing much further - I had forgotten it was Sunday! Having taken his words on board, I still decided to press on steadily, as the track was just too tempting and would provide some superb running on compacted but not too icey snow. I was keen to get as close to the high peaks as I could and was thoroughly enjoying the stunning environment.However, I eventually reached a point where I felt it prudent to make an about turn and retrace my tracks. I had already covered just under 10kms with nearly 700m of ascent and was mindful of the need to get back home in one piece! The run back down was great fun and I completed the 'there and back' route in just over 3 hours. Unfortunately, today's weather is not set to last, so I am all the more pleased with having made the most of today's opportunity!