Date: 14/09/2014 – 15/09/2014
Mount Thabor has been conquered. Or maybe it has conquered us, way more easier.
“You can never conquer the mountain. You can only conquer yourself.”
It’s a breathtaking view from up here, but we have to go. We enjoy our last moments on top of Mount Thabor, totally alone, only some crows flying high in the sky, plunged in the biggest silence. Than it comes the time we have to put our backpacks on and begin the descent. The route is flowing fast under our feet, we already know it won’t be a short walk and we hardly hope to arrive at the hut on time for dinner, even if we are not sure yet to have a place.
The stops are fast, just some moments here and there to shoot the last pics before losing sight of the top. Altough the sun is still high above us, a fresh breeze is beginning to blow which make the walk easier and more enjoyable..
At the crossroad where this morning we have left our friend, now we take the other path that will took us al lake Peyron and only after a long round at the Thabor’s hut, which in now our new goal. The landscape is just amazing, as always in this valley after all. Our pace, slowed down from the fatigue of the climb, and the shadows coming in fast, doesn’t allow us to admire lake Peyron in all of its majesty, with its bright sky-blue colour.
We just caught glimpse of a little quarter before the shadows cover it all, but is more than enough to swear that we will come around another time, to enjoy the show.
And after only grass, pastures and green, green everywhere. Up and down from col and hills, at first the steep descent towards the lake, than the long trail towards Col of Stretta valley, where we already know a little lake and its cross are waiting to signal the gap to the other valley.
The day, as it promised from the beginning, give us just to the end warm sun rays and colourful mountains: plunged in a hundreds green shades, with groundhogs run fast and whistle to our presence, we have a bright crystal clear blue sky above us just to the end of the day, when some clouds begin to coming in.
We enjoy the even path whichleads to the col, knowing that we will have to endure a last fatigue before getting to our goal and, in the end, take our deserved rest. Mountains can be really though and at this point we begin to guess what it means to go around with a backpack full of comforts: more pounds that get heavier at each step. It comes to our mind to burn all the unnecessary -two camp stove?? the mobile charger?!? I still ask myself why!- but we go on.
Minutes flow fast, we know we better hurry if we want a hot dinner, most of all in a warm place. Dinner is only served until seven o’clock, so we decide to take what is supposed to be a shortcut, a path slightly marked before getting to the col, that by intuition leads directly to Round Lake, cutting all the way alround the hill and straight to the top.
The intuition was right, we arrived perfectly at the hut…well, just some meters above the hut. There is a steep stony ground on a side of the hut which shields it from the strong wind coming from the valley and we are right on top of it. After an absurd descent, under the utmost disapproving glares of the other clients in the terrace, we finally reach, right on time, our goal: the Refuge du Thabor, the hut.
Now we are completly wasted, on time but exhausted. We totally enjoy the soup and the sausages, followed by a rush to pitch the tent. Night has come straight while we were eating and, as it isn’t enough, clouds have come fast from the Stretta valley and we are now damped from the moisture. We quickly pitch the tent just steps from the lake, on the only available flat space, and with the last leftovers of the warmth gained during dinner, we go straight to sleep. It’s just after nine, but it takes us only seconds to get asleep. The books we have brought with us to spend the night, has reavealed as only an unnecessary burden that we carried all along.
The awakening, on the contrary of the goodnight, is exceptional. Two supposed-to-be skyrunners, pass by the tent with heavy steps, and since ten hours of sleep are more than enough, we decide to get up. The Cheval Blanc massif is towering over us during breakfast, a hot good tea on the shore of the lake.
There is absolutely no rush, the road back home is not so long and we have the whole day. Our equipment, tent and sleeping bags, have done an excellent work even up here, the mistakes we have done at the Eagle’s Peak -a long freezing night- have been a well-learned lesson. There is no better way to learn something than from the mistakes done.
We enjoy the view, watching the clients of the refuge to pack their things and the owners to strip down the whole refuge. Indeed, it has been the last night of opening, from now on and until next spring no more warm meals, it would become just a hut for the winter.
Very slowly, for once, with our legs stiff for the many chilometers walked yesterday, we set off and decide to take the path we have already took a week ago with our friends, when we have been here out of the blue (read the story here FAR AWAY FROM THABOR). The idea, at first, was to come back to Peyron lake, but the thought of climbing the steep route towards it has make us change direction easily. We have to get satisfied with the back-home-path, so similar with the Lord of the Rings landscapes that it would be hard to believe it is not filmed here if we wouldn’t knot it has been filmed in New Zealand -on the to-do list, immediately.
The last stop of our descent is the tadpoles pond -or so we called it, it is not named on the maps- from where we have already shooted fabulous pictures. It has a particular charm: its position, just on the edge of the cliff and framed by the peaks, is absolutely stunning.
A last snack with the little remained -oh yes, mountain does make you hungry, really hungry- and we are walking again towards the Grange.
We end our two days hike with the usual visit to the cheese and local produits shop, which always struggle to make it home. An early lunch with home-made blue cheese and a fresh soda, our feet in the ice cold water of the river here in the valley and is really time to leave this corner of heaven. Our next meal will be comfortely seated at home, with the couch to wait us, but this adventure will stay long in our thoughts. And we really hope to do that again soon, maybe somewhere else, but really soon.
Those who climb the most, the furthest are able to see; those who see the furthest, the longer are able to dream.
Walter Bonatti (Italian climber)
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