I’ve come to realize that not only am I walking through a series of perfect rock gardens, but that very often a rock will have its own garden.
In the lower areas, a rock will support a mixed colony of flowers on it and around it.
Higher up, a rock might be embraced by a juniper or enveloped by an azalea..
Tiny plants squeeze into crevices..
Above the tree line and in the scree where the snow has only just melted, the tiny shrubs are just coming into bud, sheltered by the rocks they are crouching under.
I found myself almost at a standstill looking at these tiny ecosystems, each existing by itself and also as part of the whole ecosystem of the mountain..
And as for the rock and its tree!
You can swoop up from the village of Pralognan on the Teleferique to Mt Bochur and traverse a slope to Le Refuge des Barmettes. From there, you can continue on the ancient Salt Route up to Le Lac des Vaches.
It’s like walking through a continual rock garden. We’re early enough in the last week of June to still have all the alpine flowers blooming freshly and the butterflies floating and bouncing around us.
The path initially drops gradually and then rises to pass through some pines before emerging onto the grassy ski slope at the Refuge des Barmettes. That takes about forty minutes.
As we approached the Refuge, we noticed a little dog barking furiously, jumping up and down on the spot. We got closer and saw a small snake backed up against the wall of the building. The manager came out, grabbed the dog up and called for the chef. It was a viper, dark grey with beautiful black markings. It was powerless against the chef who emerged with two walking poles and pincered it off into the grass below the Refuge.
After that, off course we needed refreshments.
Rain and thunder threatened so we walked only a short way up the ancient walled Salt Route before turning for home.