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Published: July 26th 2011
Eat your hearts out because when you see these pictures you will wish you were here.
Today we hiked up into the Alps, into the Val d’Anniviers to the Moiry Glacier. This glacier is now 5 km long and situated in the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. In 1973, it had an area of 5.75 km. Obviously, like other glaciers around the world, this one is shrinking. This area attracts both summer tourists, for the hiking, and winter tourists, for the skiing, both downhill and cross country. There are also 120 kms. of snowshoe trails open in the winter and 15 kms. of tobagganing trails. I believe that some major ski, etc. competitions are held here frequently.
We started the hike from just below the Barrage du Moiry, the Moiry Dam, which is at the head of the Grimentz Valley and was brought into service in 1958. The dam is 450 feet high and nearly 2000 feet long. We parked just in front of the concrete structure, which loomed high above our heads. Awesome! The water from this high-in-the-Alps lake is fed from the reservoir to the power stations in the valley below through tunnels
that run beneath the mountain. Because the dam, like the glacier, is accessible by car or bus, there were perhaps hundreds of people hiking on the various trails throughout the valley.
The hike took about 5 and ½ hours. Following the Haut Tour du Moiry (the high trail), we climbed from the dam to the glacier, passing large fields of wild flowers, grazing milk cows, and rushing streams. At our highest point there were patches of snow on the ground. The reservoir and the small lakes had that turquoise color of water that melts off a glacier. The Haases noted that the water level seemed low -- we don’t know whether the lack of water was from lack of snow melt or whether the lake had been drained recently. Snow capped mountains surrounded us. It was an absolutely beautiful scene, unable to be adequately captured in pictures. You had to be there to appreciate the grandeur.
Near the midpoint of the hike, we came across a small hut selling hot tea and coffee, a real treat as the sun had disappeared behind the clouds and a cold wind was blowing off the glacier. After warming up a bit,
we decided to return to the car via the Bas Tour du Moiry (the low trail), which shortened the hike a bit and kept us out of the cold wind.
Returning to the chalet, we enjoyed the European tradition of “afternoon tea” with Maria and Manfred and rested a bit after the rather strenuous hike. Bill got to help fix dinner -- he was in charge of sausages on the grill while Maria fixed a pasta dish and green bean salad. Manfred and I just stood around and looked good.
At this point, Manfred insisted on seeing the route we had taken from Lisbon to Madrid to Santiago to Le Puy to Grimentz, so we covered the dining table with maps, sharing our experiences. By 10 p.m. we were all yawning -- fresh air, wine, and good food can do that to you. It was off to bed! Good night --- we will wake up once again in the morning to the sight of the towering Alps surrounding us! Here’s to sunshine!!
Tot: 2.831s; Tpl: 0.045s; cc: 9; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0376s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 4;
; mem: 1.4mb