The next day, we set out to do a fairly short walk from the road end, parking below the dam, and passing the less-than-subtle building of the big auberge. I was not feeling that great, and toiled rather on the path. It is, initially, rough and stony, much eroded by the considerable number of feet that use it, and, probably, the heavy rains of spring. But after an initial heave, we were in effect wandering around on a wooded plateau, studded with small lakes. As mentioned before, the mountains held the perfect amount of snow to add shape to their rather stony masses, and the weather was ideal. All the views were, therefore, perfectly reflected in the small lakes. It was very picturesque, and we could easily understand why it is regarded as one of the best walks in the area.
Passing another lake, we wandered up on to a broad ridge with smaller pines, and, eventually, an attractive small alp, which, we could see clearly, was regularly grazed. The result was an extremely close sward, full of tiny flowers, many of which could have come from a Highland hillside. Here we could have spent an idyllic half-hour or more, looking at the tiny flowers and the high summits, but for the intrusive racket from a large helicopter, which flew around and around for at least an hour; what it was doing, we could not work out. Martine took some pictures of the flowers; a favourite is the minute mountain everlasting, Antennaria dioica.
(That evening I borrowed Lesley’s flowerbook to look some of these plants up, and saw a handwritten note at the very end of the index; it had been written by Lesley’s father, and said “mountain everlasting” – a strange little coincidence.)