Friday, Oct. 07. It’s raining in the lower valley and the whole region appears to be socked in. We still decide to try a hike but favour something closer to home so that if we have to abandon, we have but a short return to a nice warm fire!!!

We decide to try the hillside immediately behind us. Our goal is the Chalets de Chailloux, where in normal weather you would have spectacular views of Mont Blanc and the central massif across the valley.

Parking lot at Parc Merlet. As we climb higher in altitude, the rain starts turning to snow. There’s a famous animal park here and we walk up to the entrance. Regrettably the Park closed for the season last week!

However a French film crew arrives in 4 SUV’s and starts unloading camera equipment. Apparently they have exclusive rights to enter the Parc and film some of the rut. Curt and I try to negotiate the chance to join them but it’s no go.

“Hey don’t you know you’re turning down a world famous nature photographer??”

Apparently not, as they remain adamant. All the more frustrating as I can pull  better equipment out of my trusty backpack than they can out of their SUVs. To add insult to injury,  it’s Canon crap at that. Bloody amateurs!!!

Paul Simon’s lyrics start ringing in my ear.

“I got a Nikon camera,

I’d  love to take a photograph.

So Mama,  don’t take my Kodachrome away!!!”

But that’s just what they did. Took my Kodachrome away!!!  They slam the gate shut in our faces. “En excluvisité!”

“Hoookay, I think I get the drift of that expression.” It’s more their loss than mine. Which reminds me,  I’m heading straight for Parc Omega when I get home!!!

Snow just gets worse as we commit to the climb. Here Curt points out the path.

The snow, wet and thick, is really starting to accumulate as we approach the open meadows near the tree line.

Refuge (closed naturally!!!) at Chalets de Chailloux. Benches provide a good spot for an impromptu lunch. With visibility and weather worsening, it’s a no-brainer that we must consider a return.

Equipment wise we are in good shape however I have no gloves (hey, yesterday we were fighting heat and dehydration!!) and the cold at this altitude stings my wet hands. I place them deep in my coat pockets but worry about the lack of a shock absorber in the event of  a fall. With good reason, as the snow, wet and sloppy on the warmish ground makes the footing on the downward journey very slippery and precarious.

I don’t know who’s more upset with the weather, us or the spider!!! (Click on the web!)

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