Walking for Refuge

List of Refugees

Myself – Writer of this blog, hi!

Harry – My Brother

Mum – Self explanatory

Jack – Cousin

Linda – Cousin in law

Elfie – Jack and Linda’s daughter

Bee – Jack and Linda’s second daughter

Belle – Jack and Linda’s baby daughter

Adam – Cousin

Luke – Adam and Lucis little boy (Luci wasn’t in the alps this time)

Nandan – Extended family

Poppy – Nandans and Adams daughter

Rob – Uncle

Jan – Aunt

Jazza – Extended Family

Pablo – Donkey (I’m only 40% that’s his name)

The Alps Refugees

The Alps Refugees

“It’s a walk” Jack said happily, “a walk up the mountain, through a meadow and you’re at the refuge” he told the rest of the family and I over dinner whilst we were planning our next adventure. We agreed, why wouldn’t we? A bit of a hike followed by sleeping in a refuge high in the mountains surrounded by stars, it sounded perfect.

Refuge 1763m up into the mountains

Refuge 1763m up into the mountains

These refuges are nestled high in the mountains; they are points of safety for those who are hiking, skiing, and enjoying the mountains or to those who are lost. They provide somewhere warm to sit and eat, hot drinks and a bed for the night, in a dorm situation, basic as you like, but absolutely wonderful. It was this style refuge that we would be hiking towards, making our way slowly up the mountain path to our safety point.

Moving upwards

Moving upwards

A few days later myself, and fourteen other members of my family, with ages ranging from 60+ to Under 1 left the lodge and set off for a hike like no other, a hike for refuge. As we were driving to our starting point my cousins car pulled over to the side of the road, Linda and Jazza jumped out of the car and headed over to where a donkey was tied up to a pole. I didn’t really consider what was happening, I assumed that they were moving this random donkey from the path of the cars, even when my cousin started his car and lead the convoy away from Linda, Jazza and the donkey it didn’t really register as weird. Until, after we were at the car park getting ready we saw Linda and Jazza walking up, with donkey in hand! Jack had arranged a local man to hire out his donkey (I believe his name was Pablo, the donkey, not the man) to carry the kids up the mountain. After much squeals of excitement (from the kids, not the donkey) we were set! Up the mountain we went.

Donkey, Bee, Pops and Elf

Donkey, Bee, Pops and Elf

Jack and Bee

Jack and Bee

Sure, it was a walk; we didn’t have to boulder climb (thank god! I’m not good with climbing) but it was incredibly steep. The hike was trying for all of us as we wandered through the pine forest, up the twisting path for hours. Then, suddenly, in the distance through the dark pathway, we saw light guiding us to wide open green meadows, with wild flowers growing in every direction, mountains surrounding us in its basin. Another hour or so climb up, through the meadow, our family walking together yodelling and singing songs which remind us of mountains (Sound of Music, anyone?!), Pablo carrying both Elfie and Poppy plodding up beside us, stopping for a quick bite of the soft grass from time to time. As we meandered our way up through this stunning meadow we saw the refuge, a wooden lodge in the middle of the beautiful mountains. Adam, was already there waving at us from a distance, with our last bit of vigour we pushed on, until we were finally there, at our refuge for the night.

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Best welcome after a hike

Best welcome after a hike

We were welcomed with hot chocolate and soft shoes, as we settled down the clouds gathered below us as we stood high from the world below. We relaxed to enjoy the wine and dinner as the night closed in, laughing with each other about the hike up. It was by no means easy, but it was absolutely amazing.

Mum and Luke

Mum and Luke

Happy family

Happy family

We all went to bed early that evening, legs and bodies tired; climbing a top the large bunk beds sleep fell to us easily, I always sleep easily in the mountains but something about a day’s hike really takes it out of you.

Massive soft spot for this donkey dude

Massive soft spot for this donkey dude

Wild flower meadow

Wild flower meadow

Before we left I spent the next morning wandering around the meadow surrounding the lodge, the Alps are so beautiful, there was still snow slightly higher up to us but where we were and below nothing but lush meadows which were touched lightly by the clouds. Before too long we had to depart, it was decided that we were to take a different route down, a route which was more rocky, which meant we had to be more cautious and ready to balance; however technical the walk down got, it was still absolutely beautiful.

Moving down

Moving down

Our family fragmented on the traverse down as Pablo (thinking of it, that probably wasn’t the donkey’s name) couldn’t get past an electric gate. We meandered over meadows, leaving the great mountains behind us. After a couple of days hiking we got back to the car park, with a couple of injuries , a few sleepy little’uns, a worn out donkey a wealth of amazing memories.

Myself, up a mountain, again!

Myself, up a mountain, again!

Just the next time, Jack tells us “It’s just a walk” I will remember that more than likely it’ll mean that I find myself traversing a mountain, sure it’ll be hard, but it will really, REALLY be worth it.

Before I go and leave you to your adventure, wanderlust or what you were doing before you stumbled upon my post, I just want to apologise for the lack of travel posts over here recently. I work full-time in Advertising at the moment to support myself and my future travels, it sometimes gets incredibly busy and I don’t find the time to sit and write. So, I just want to thank you for your patience and your continued readership. I appreciate every single one of you. Thank you. Hannah x

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