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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bourg St. Maurice, French Alps, France – Oct. 14-18, 2012

It was our first return stop on the Aventura and it felt like home.  What a difference it makes to an experience to be surrounded by the familiar; everything seemed so easy.  Automatically we knew where to find our favorite bread, groceries, phone recharging stores and hiking maps. 

And we knew just where to stay; our favorite campground, L’Eden de la Vanoise.  Unfortunately they had closed for the shoulder season (between summer and winter) preparing to reopen in mid-December.  So we parked Salt at the near empty Camping Le Versoyan and enjoyed the ability let the Noses run free right from the door and into the miles of hiking paths just outside the gate.  This campground also has the benefit of being right in Bourg; walking to town took only 15 minutes.

And what a treat to see our beloved French Alps changed into fall colors!  The bright green up the alpine pastures had moved into a lovely gold with the trees at lower elevations showcasing various colors from bright yellow to deep red.  It was beautiful particularly after the first snowfall which arrived on our first night and stayed for three days in the higher elevations.

Having spent so many glorious hours in the mountains last July we were anxious to get back up there.  Opting for a new valley, we headed toward Val D’Isere stopping at Bon Conceil to begin our hike to Le Monal, a protected hamlet delightfully set in the most stunning valley we have yet come across; a Must See if you are in this area.  (You might be relieved to know that our back country trips are now over so you will no longer have to read the phrase, “the most stunning valley we have yet come across”--at least until we arrive in Colorado.) 

We spent our second hiking day driving all the way to Val D’Isere, a ski town much like all the others throughout these valleys, but striking once you leave the town and head toward the Vanoise National Park.  Sadly, dogs are not allowed in the park so we failed to get much hiking done, but we did stop at the Lac du Chevril on the way home and pulled out four (yes four!) trout-looking fish (their aqua blue backs when in the water almost instantly changed to midnight blue when on land making me think they might be Artic Char.)  I simply labeled them Delicious.

With our Paris flat beaconing and the burgundy wine region still ahead we could only stay four nights.  Next stop Beaune, and the various wineries surrounding the area.