Monday, August 27, 2007

How backpacking can kick my tush.

TH and I went on a backpacking trip this weekend. Just one night in the Vanoise National Park. I just learned that this is the first national park in all of France. It was gorgeous. Not only did we have great weather, but the scenery helped me survive the 3.5 hour (each way) hike up/down the valley. The hike was painful. Last year, we did many trips comme ça, but with a lighter load in our packs, for one of Darin's work projects. Since we were doing one or two hikes a week, I was able to get myself in decent shape. This was my first backpacking trip in a year and it kicked my butt. I sit here today in front of my laptop, in pain. I am in dire need of a professional massage.

Since there are so many huts scattered through the Alps, hikers are able to hike around sans a tent and can: comfortably stay in the mountains in a bed, have someone cook and clean for them, and be able to use a toilet and (maybe) a shower. The downside, in my opinion, is that one doesn't get to fully enjoy the mountains by sleeping under the stars and might be sharing a room with 15 - 30 other people including those who snore. Darin said that the French aren't crazy enough to carry a tent up several thousand feet just to camp out for one night when they have all these nice accommodations available to them.

This was an experience for me since I haven't yet slept in a tent in France. We used to do it a lot in the wilderness in California. The wilderness in California is quite different from the wilderness in France. When we've backpacked in Cali, we'd maybe see one other person during our entire camping trip. We'd feel like we were the only ones in the middle of nowhere.

To pitch a tent in this park, there were strict rules that must be followed:
1. The tent must be in view of the hut.
2. The tent must be erected after 18:00.
3. The tent must be torn down before 8:30.
I think the rules take some of the fun out of it. Tents are an eye sore, you say? We're camping in the "wilderness"?!

Our tent and the view. Nice, huh?

What was behind our tent. They're in the process of rebuilding part of the hut. Off to the right is the portable toilet. Yum.

Pretty view from the tent.

Me in pain, but don't mind that...enjoy that view.

Love this photo.

More of me in pain. I might be crying in this photo...

Isn't nature grand?


Penny said...

Wow, leaving aside the rules and the pain, it looks like an amazing weekend. Suberb photos!

Suz said...

Emily, I feel your pain! :) Good job on the hike though. I don't know about you, but for me, all the lovely views were missed because of hiking agony. I mean, if I weren't in pain, if I didn't have umpteen zillion more minutes to be hiking, I might enjoy the views oh-so-much more! :)

Jennifer said...

Did you, at any time, feel like breaking into song?? A la Julie Andrews? What a-maze-ing shots. I wish Cliff and I a) had more time with you guys, to do this hiking; b) were in better shape so it could've been an option; and c) the weather was this nice when we were there. Oh, well, have to leave something for the next visit!

The Late Bloomer said...

Wow, talk about some amazing adventures you've been having lately -- these photos are gorgeous! And look at those Alps... Man, you were courageous to take on the hike; I'm sure I would be suffering, too. I think it's quite the accomplishment just to have made it up and back!

ColourMeCrazy said...

Wow - those are fantastic photos! I love the fact that you could just put up your tent in the middle of nowhere! Though I suppose you need to be careful at night - don't want to trip over a rock and go rolling down those big mountains ;-)

TinkerBlue said...

You just reminded me, why I don't go hiking.

However gorgeous photos.

crimsoncat05 said...

how very beautiful!! at least you can enjoy the photos forever... and without any pain, even!