Tuesday, January 22, 2013

From snowy Toulouse to the sunny mountains!

I published my magical photo of the evening sun on Pyrennean snow yesterday - thanks for your comments! I was so happy that it captured what we'd really experienced. As promised, here's the story of our day out:
The weather at home was horrid on Sunday morning. Unforecasted snow had fallen over night, and was still landing on about 20cm of flooding and slush when we left our poor hens (well-provided-for)at 8am...
We followed snow ploughs around the pérepherique of Toulouse - over the last few years the local authorities have had to take on a few snow ploughs, as every winter has had one or more snowy days recently, which is quite a new departure.
Once we'd headed south off the payage, the weather actually improved, and we drove over clear roads and through green fields for a while before reaching the turning to the Plateau de Beille, an area which specialises in the more unusual snow sports - cross country skiing, snow shoe walks and even husky sledging! The snow chains went on and we followed a slow trail of cars, vans and buses up to the station.
We hired snow shoes and set off up a track which promised a pleasant short walk before lunch. See the frozen Spanish Moss on the tree?
We'd never used snow shoes before, and both Son 1 and I, who aren't skiers, really took to this more gentle sport. It's hard going uphill in the high altitude, but well worth it. Ben really enjoyed the experience too, but unfortunately Son 2 was feeling ill and decided to spend the afternoon in the car, well wrapped-up with his book and his DS game... the only low point of the day, but he stayed snug and warm. We cooked lunch on the camping stove in the car park - sausages and baked beans ('La classe!' as someone commented, admiringly) and then set off without Son 2 to do a longer walk.
Under the trees it was quite shady, and we followed the distinctive shapes of snow shoe tracks past a small igloo and up out onto a higher shoulder of the plateau.

Son 1, staples in his knee, tires quite fast despite his impressive level of fitness:
Oh, but we had fun!
The sun was already quite low in the sky as Son 1 and I entered into negotiations with Ben - explore much further (the Dad Option), take a long route that swept us back to the car (the Mum Option) and go straight back (the Teenager's Choice). My suggestion, as a compromise, was quite easy to achieve!
This was when we saw the sun breaking through the clouds, giving us the view I shared with you yesterday.
We followed the orange trail tags down through a forest, which was clearly from a fairy tale or childrens' story - but which one? I asked Son 1 if he thought we were more likely to find a lamp post or meet a wolf, and he suggested that a wolf weeing on a lamp post seemed reasonably likely...
We got back to Son 2 a little after the station had officially closed - we were actually met by staff on skidoos who wanted to get us back into the fold before they closed down! We headed back on down the road in the gathering dark, passing the 1606m hut on our way back down. It was a beautiful and very happy day.

12 comments:

Angela said...

Such a lovely family day together! great post, Floss!

Elizabethd said...

Those areas are so lovely, both in Spring and Winter. We went walking there years ago.

Jane and Chris said...

We love to snowshoe,but my outfit is nowhere near as beautifully stylish as yours!
Jane x

Betty the Wood Fairy said...

What a fabulous way to spend family time - the scenery is beautiful. Betty

Janice said...

It looks wonderful... and I am very jealous, and can't wait to get back out to the Languedoc. My favourite journey is from Limoux southwards. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous images of such a loely day. J.

Lorrie said...

What a great day out! Hope Son 2 is feeling better.

Kezzie said...

"wolf weeing on a lamp post "- tee hee!!!!
I loved living vicariously through your photos! It sounds utter bliss!!! Were the snow shoes like crampons then? x

josiecrafter said...

What a wonderful day you had! I like the idea of snow shoes, as I'm not keen on ski's.
Such a lovely way to enjoy the snow! Here we still have snow lingering, and it has been snowing gently all day. But we're tired of it now and want to be able to get around easily again!
Happy days to you

Carolyn Phillips said...

Looks like a fantastic day, and I love the wolf weeing on the lamppost.

polkadotpeticoat said...

Your snow looks Beautiful....and it looks like your all having a blast! Take care, Heidi

Pom Pom said...

That looks VERY fun! You captured the beauty and the JOY!

Sue said...

Love the snow shoes, and such fantastic views. I bet you are not sorry to have snow in the area even if the authorities are.