2013我在法國健行16天(Mountain hiking in France for 16 days in 2013)
我們的起點是日內瓦湖，打算沿GR5及附近的路一路往南。小強造訪過許多美麗的高山湖，因此我們常以湖泊為紮營地點首選。除了附近有畜牧牛羊的湖水會較濁，絕大部分的法國高山湖都很清澈，清澈到讓人想下去游泳(我們的確也這麼做)，而只要是”漂亮”的高山湖，附近通常有付費山屋或停車場，一天來回或輕裝即可悠閒造訪。我喜歡的高山湖是幽靜、附近有美好的營地及壯觀的山勢，這次造訪的眾湖泊中” Lac de Pormenaz”是我的最愛，也許我們抵達時是雨天，湖邊僅有另一頂釣客的帳篷，隔天清晨雨停，我在湖畔邊泡腳邊欣賞山嵐環繞的景致，水溫相當適中，難怪有山友說在此游整個下午的泳(其他的多半很冷冽)。可惜高山警察出現提醒我們已經超過拔營時間(早上9點)，不然我們還真想在這美麗的湖待久一點。
Our trip started from Lake Geneva (Le Lac Léman) near Geneva. We planned to go along the GR5 and branch trails near the Alps area. We often choose lakes for overnight, since Jon has visited many beautiful ones in France. Most of them are very clear except some are near the grazed area. However, there are usually huts (called “refuges” in French) that charge a fee and/or parking lots near beautiful lakes. People usually plan a one day trip or only carry a small backpack to visit. We can only enjoy the tranquility of the lake in the evening or early morning. ” Lac de Pormenaz” is my favorite in this trip. There was only one another group of campers there when we arrived late afternoon on in a rainy day. Next morning when the weather got better, I laid my legs into the lake and enjoyed the clouds around the majestic cliff. The water was so warm; I could easily see why the guy I had met the day before said that he spent nearly half the day swimming there. I would have liked to do the same thing, but the police ruined that dream when they came to inform us that 9am is the deadline for breaking camp.
另一個讓我印象深刻的湖是” Lac des Mines d'Or”（金礦湖），雖然一開始知道要在此湖過夜很失望，因為山屋和停車場就在湖邊，觀光客不少，湖看起來也很普通，然而在選營地時，我們發現環湖的某張椅子視野很好，小強於是提議把它暫時挪開當作營地，雖然這很「異想天開」(我們都沒做過這種事)，雖然有可能遭取締，但這有點瘋狂的舉動，很振奮人心！雖然這個水草豐盛的湖沒人下去游泳，卻是小鴨的天堂，牠們常聚集在我們附近的一塊小草叢；更幸運的是營地附近還有個活水源。於是梳洗、觀察鴨子、觀察經過的人的反應，讓在湖邊紮營的時光很充實。沒有人前來取締，只有一對老夫妻經過時討論「這椅子擺放的位置好像不對」，然而這並不影響在外帳裡的我們的好心情。
”Lac des Mines d'Or” also quite impressed me. At beginning, I was a little bit depressed when Jon decided to camp there because of the active restaurant/hut and parking lot just beside the lake that attracted many tourists. While walking around, we found the best view of the lake was from a spectacular bench along the path and the bench was moveable. Jon therefore suggested moving it temporarily and setting our tent there. The act was somewhat crazy but exciting! We were so lucky that there is no one to expel us. Only an elderly couple strolling by our tent made some comments about how the bench, put off to the side, seemed weird. The lake, filled with an abundance of aquatic plants, was heaven for a flock of ducks. We enjoyed observing and feeding them some nuts. Although we didn’t swim or take a bath in Lac des Mines d'Or, we still did our wash in the small river near our camp site. We also enjoyed the scenery of sunset and sunrise of the lake. I think I will never forget that lake.
Not all lakes gave us good impression like the above two. The last two lakes we visited were quite near grazing area of cattle and sheep, for the map didn’t show this kind of information. The lakes are “colorful” because of excrement. The last one lake was not only near cattle but also quite humid even when the weather was fine. Camping there was quite awful. Maybe it’s one reason for ending our journey one day earlier finally.
Compared with France, mountain lakes in Taiwan are not so clear and the quantity and area are much less. However, there are still many lakes which can’t be reached easily because of the transportation or undevelopment. I had some great experience to “own” a natural lake only by myself or with few friends for some days in Taiwan. I think it’s quite impossible in France in summer.
罕見的大背包客 Few hikers with big backpacks in France
Alps in summer is quite attracting, given that there are plenty of clean melting water and blooming plants. Not only shepherd came to this area but also many outdoor lovers. Lots of activities took place in the mountain, such us cycling, jogging, gathering blueberries, riding motor bike, and even driving all-terrain vehicle or taking a tourist helicopter. People can easily drive to or take chair lifts to the trailhead and finish a hiking trip in one or two days. Therefore, heavy backpackers like us are quite rare. Because the ridges are often not connected, we had to go down to the village before climbing another mountain. Although there was public transportation between villages, it is still not very convenient. Sometimes we had to walk on asphalt road, but we still hitchhiked successfully several times. Besides, we separated our food into 2 bags and mailed to the post office near trailhead to keep our backpack as light as possible.
Sometimes I thought it was great to stay in the cozy cabin and enjoyed the served meal and hot bath. However, it charged at least 50 Euro for a night. It’s impossible for us to afford for several nights. In fact, most of our camp site locations were better than cabins and sometimes unexpected. For example, we have ever camped in a grass ground near many sharp stones. We also just camped near the back yard of an unfinished villa. If we hadn’t travelled continuously such a long period, we would not feel satisfied when taking bath in the cold lake. On the other hand, we often capture the great scenery of sunrise, sunset and stars from our tent. Although it’s somewhat uncomfortable while walking in the rain or on the slippery ice or sleeping on the uneven camp ground, I think it’s good to experience different aspects of nature.
與動物野莓相遇 Encounter animals and wild fruits
It’s common to encounter animals in Alps area. Although we had ever met wild deer and goat, cattle and sheep with bell were most popular. Sometimes I think it’s great to have them in my photos. However, when I had to across the cattle which were just on the path, I still felt nervous. One time, the cows came to us because of the smell of our lunch, so we had to move. We would choose the camp site far away from the cattle, otherwise their bells would ring all night. However, thanks to these cattle, we often bought fresh Cheese in the chalet while hiking. I fell in love with French cheese from that time.
Summer is the season of fruit. We often gathered blackberry, cranberry, or blueberry if we noticed them on the trail. Some residents would use tools for large collection. We also met a couple who collected some fresh mushrooms. Although the fruit size was not as large as the selling one in supermarket, I enjoyed its fresh sour natural taste. Another unforgettable memory was picking plums on the ground in a hot day. These fruits are quite expensive in my country, so eating free fresh ones is special for me.
一暏歐洲最高峰風采 Viewing European highest peak Mt. Blanc
Jon highly recommended GR de Pays Tour du Pays de Mont Blanc (GR TMB), for if the weather is fine the European highest peak will seem like in front of you. I’ve viewed Mt. Blanc from north Italy and other area like Aravis, it’s still great to observe the peak more closely from this trail. I especially recommend staying in Le Refuge du Lac Blanc for a while. We enjoy the good view of Mt. Blanc with the served hot red wine and cheese omelet.
法國與台灣高山健行的差異Differences between hiking in France and Taiwan
Hiking in France attracted me most in two aspects. First, I can experience various landscapes in a short period; there are countless lakes, grasslands, glacier, etc. It’s impossible to see any snow in summer in Taiwan. Second, the outdoor environment is very clean. I seldom see any trash on the trail and most lakes are so clear. However, most mountain areas have been well developed; it is somewhat crowded with tourists in summer. Besides, ski field and ski lift were quite common in some area and inevitably affected natural scenery. On the other hand, high mountain area in Taiwan is more undeveloped. Most is only reachable by heavy backpackers, and it’s possible to hike on the continuous ridge for a long period without going down to the village.I’m quite looking forward to visit France again for the beautiful mountains or experience hiking in another culture context. I also hope more Outdoor sports enthusiasts visit my country to enjoy hiking.