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Fall holidays (2)

Continuation of these few days of relaxation and discovery…
1. To descend from Mont-Cenis to Italy, VivaLaVida discovers a trail, an old border road, some passages of which are spectacular.

2. Passage near the pretty little lake of Roterel…

3. … as the sky clears.

4. The larches are already gorgeous with their yellow-orange hue…

5. Turns…

6. Another small lake, Arpon Lake, just after the Italian border.

7. We make a little stop for the lunch…

8. … near a pretty mountain pasture already closed this season.

9. While waiting for the grocery store to open – it is closed at nap time – Emile improves his cycling technique! 馃檪

10. We take the direction of the upper valley of the Claree via the Col de l’Echelle (Ladder Pass).

11. Wake up at the end of the road on a beautiful fall day ideal for a mountain walk.

12. At 5 years old, Emile is a good walker, 5 or 10 miles uphill doesn’t frighten him!

13. Climb to Long Lake in the midst of the fall colors.

14. Arrival at the lake where the temperature hardly exceeds 32掳F.

15. Immaculate tranquility…

16. Break sheltered from the strong North wind.

17. Lac Long in a setting of blueberries reddened by autumn.

18. Meeting with a beautiful cricket a little numb by the cold.

19. Going back down to VivaLaVida

More soon… 馃檪

Fall holidays (1)

As Emile is on vacation with me for a week, we decide to go enjoying the fall colors without traveling too far since we only have 5 days to travel. The destination will be the Hautes-Alpes, between France and Italy.
1. After half a day on the road, we arrive in the Mont-Cenis region and its lake at the end of the day.

2. While the weather is fine all along the road, the east wind blows fog from Italy which gradually rises, enveloping VivaLaVida.

3. Climbing up to 2,200 m, we have time to make a shot hike outside the nimbuses.

4. But half an hour later, the fog catches up with us.

5. The time to find a boondocking site for the night and we are isolated by the clouds for a quiet but cool night.

6. The disturbance of the night removed the fog and nicely sprinkled summits with fresh snow.

7. A few openings in the couds let in the light…

8. … and VLV takes the trail again to reach the lake.

9. We take the trail that goes West of the lake…

10. … trail that we couldn’t drive in July, a barrier now blocking access from July 1st to September 15.

11. The showers follow one another and the wind is still blowing strong.

12. But we anyway go for a walk by the lake, just to play with Emile and, for me, to look for some picture composition.

13. …

The continuation of the story in a few days…

Week-ends in Jura mountains

We enjoy fall doing some weekend outings.
1. Boondocking in the forest.

2. Nice morning view point.

3. In the Langouette gorge.

4. Billaude waterfall.

5. Another weekend, another boondocking in a beautiful forest clearing.

6. Emile always enjoys it!

7. The campfire is ready to cook diner.

8. Walk in the beech forest.

9. Way back…

In mid-October, VivaLaVida and its occupants left for a few days in the Hautes-Alpes. I will present all this soon.
PS: While the VLV route was no longer displayed on the map pages since Google Maps changed the terms of use of its services a few months ago, I have updated these pages with new maps that present the VLV route until October this year.

Massif Central

1. The night was particularly windy but there is fog in the morning.

2. As I take my breakfast the fog lifts.

3. The trail from my boondocking spot.
4. The locals…

5. Fog game on the Monts du Sancy.

6. I take the opportunity to go and discover the gorgeous Chaudefour valley.

7. Pretty waterfall in the forest.

8. Forest path.

9. Discovery of the small volcanic lake of Servieres.

10. Roche Tuili猫re viewpoint.

It’s Sunday and it’s time to head back home.
The next articles will relate to some weekend outings and October holidays.
Thank you for your loyalty to this little blog! 馃榾

Pyrenees (2)

1. Wake up at the Pedr贸 dels Quatre Batlles. It is cool but the view is gorgeous.

2. …

3. We take a spectacular trail to go down from the plateau.

4. View toward South.

5. Escarpment.

6. Flower in the limestone rockery.

7. Further, a narrow passage in which i had to fold mirrors. We crossed it in both directions, the trail having been washed out 1.5 mile further.

We found several trails closed by recently installed barriers, undoubtedly the price of the hordes of 4×4 which crisscross them more and more.
8. Nice boondocking spot.

9. Emile is always ready to play with his small cars…

10. Smal village in the mountain.

While we were stopped by a barrier at the entrance of a trail which should have lead us to discover a pretty mountain lake, Emile said “We just have to walk there”. I explain to him that the lake was at a 7 miles walk with more than 2,000 feet of elevation gain but he insisted. So I parked VivaLaVida and here we were for a day of walking. My little guy had bravely swallow the more than 14 miles round trip! A real mointain goat!
11. The lake we hiked.

12. Picnic in the shelter of a rock while the wind blows in gusts.

13. Before the way back.

Other discoveries in a few days…

Summer trip 2021, start in France and Italy

Both Emile and I were eager to hit the road after two years without traveling in VivaLaVida. However, while we planned to leave on a Monday, trying to crank VivaLaVida the previous Thursday, no way to start it! I do the diagnostics and identify that it was the injection pressure regulator that was out of order. I ordered the part in the United States with express shipping and received it next Monday. The time to install it and check that everything was fine, we finally left on Tuesday at the beginning of the afternoon …
1. First stop at Fairies lake, in Beaufortain.

2. The next day, we go to the Iseran Pass, more than 9,000 feet elevation.

3. Emile building a kern.

4. View of the mountains where Is猫re takes its source.

5. Emile in front of an orientation table.

6. We find a place under the pass to boondock.

7. There is a torrent, Emile throws some stones at it!

87. All happy!

9. The sun hides behind the mountain until the next day…

10. The next day, direction Italy in the Rochemolles valley via Mont Cenis.

11. The pleasure of the first campfire of the trip.

12. Dinner!

13. The following morning, we go up to the Scarfiotti refuge and its small lakes. I give up going up to the Sommeillier Pass because you have to pay to take this dead end track and there was a lot of people.

14. Waterfall behind the refuge.

Continuation of the story in a few days… 馃槈

Path less traveled…

After the Lakagigar, rather than go directly to the Landmannalaugar on F208, we decided to go to Langisj贸r Lake via some less traveled trails that proved to be gorgeous…

1. River in the rain, along Southern F208.

2. Rather curious sign, isn’t it? In fact, the trail goes into the lake on approx. 300 yards.

Here is a video of this unusual path done by Isabelle. The weather was windy, with rain and fog…

3. In places, everything is only mineral.

4. Langisj贸r lake in the rain.

5. Trail…

6. …

7. River…

8. Fog…

9. VivaLaVida riding the moon.

10. The rain finally stops.

11. Invisible track. Thank you GPS.

12. Desolation…

13. … and blackness.

14. But these landscapes are amazing.

15. The trail crosses another lake.

16. Contrasts are everywhere.

17. Our trail seen from the top of a hill.

18. After driving in a lake, here we follow the riverbed for nearly one mile to change the valley! 馃槈

19. …

20. Fairy…

21. …

22. Another ford.

23. … and another.

24. We walk and play too!

25. Selfie 馃槈

26. Emile loves it.

27. Late afternoon contrasts.

28. …

29. In places, this track less traveled requires a good 4WD transmission, as here in a steep descent.

Here is another short video showing this trail. In video background, we can see the continuation of the track over the river, which goes up in the hills.

30. Rain showers are back.

31. …

32. …

33. Another particularly saturated rainbow.

34. We spend the night on the shore of a lake, near a shelter already closed for winter…

Hoping that this update won’t have been too long… 馃槈

To be followed in Landmannalaugar soon.

Lakagigar – F206 / F207

Here we are to discover the Lakagigar region, driving our first “F Roads”, trails reserved for 4×4 because of deep fords and “in principles”

prohibited to rental vehicles. In principle because we saw many “unauthorized” rental SUV on these tracks.

1. F206

2. As in the Faroe Islands, sheep live in freedom everywhere.

3. VivaLaVida crosses completely mineral landscapes.

4. Here is the Lakagigar range, volcanoes that appeared only a few decades ago.

5. Small lake stuck between mountain and lava flow.

6. The F206 was created in the lava.

7. Only mosses and lichens manage to develop on volcanic slags.

8. The summits, more exposed, are often virgin of vegetation.

9. Enjoying the panorama in late afternoon.

10. And what a panorama!

11. F207

12. We boondocked on the shore of a small lake.

13. Sweetness of the evening light.

14. The next day, despite the light of a gray sky, the contrasts are amazing. The moss looks almost fluorescent.

15. …

16. …

17. Laki volcano.

18. … and one of the new craters around.

19. The F207 winds between the hills.

20. Raw lava.

21. Ground is very dark.

22. The trail is sometimes not very marked.

23. Looking to North West towards Landmannalaugar.

24. …

25. Crossing a river with water temperated by some hot springs, the vegetation changes.

I posted a short video of a F207 ford here for those interested. 馃槈

26. The Fragifoss waterfall along the F206.

27. Last sight of these pretty volcanic hills.

To be followred on the side of the famous Landmannalaugar, probably the most visited interior site in Iceland.

First steps with family

My passengers well landed, we discovered the Reykjanes peninsula together before going to Reykjavik the next day to buy warm jackets to Isabelle and Emile.

1. Volcanic activity is strong on this promontory.

2. Emile is so happy to be back in “Dad’s truck”!

3. The lava that flowed to the sea creates beautiful cliffs.

4. Beautiful lake of Kleifarvatn.

5. Despite some showers, the weather is rather beautiful but a little cold, about 46F.

6. Lava fields covered with moss and lichen.

7. Iceland is undoubtedly the land of rainbows. 馃槈

8. Lava tunnel.

9. There are many here.

10. Assembly of 5 vertical images to show you a crater that appeared only a few hundred years ago.

11. After some shopping in Reykjavik, we had a very rainy day stretching the road on the South coast. We cross famous vehicles transformed to ride on the snow. Here, a van similar to VivaLaVida but mounted on huge wheels! VLV looks small compared.

12. The small church of Vik.

13. Dyrh贸laey Promontory and its two natural arches.

14. Even if the site is very touristy, we take a walk to the Reynisfjara Beach and its needles.

15. Souvenir on the famous basalt pillars.

16. Dyrh贸laey Beach.

17. On the other side, Reynisfjara.

More of the South Coast in the next update…

Faroes (II)

Here is the continuation of my discovery of the Faroes. These islands are right in the Gulfstream, this warm oceanic current which gives to Scandinavia and more largly to Europe its temperate climate compared to its latitude. As a result, average temperatures vary very little between summer and winter: 48-50 F in summer and 37-39 F in winter. On the other hand, there is on average between 260 and 280 days of rain per year and 300 days with wind! VivaLaVida stopped there for only three days but was treated to her part of rain, sometimes fine drizzle, sometimes heavy rain. No wonder the mountains are dripping everywhere! There is not 100 yards without a stream that comes down.
I took advantage of the good weather of the first day to discover two spots among the best known of these islands…
1. On my way, the wind creates clouds on the cliffs…

2. First spot: Lake Leitisvaten, the largest lake in the Faroes, perched about 40 yards above the ocean !

3. It flows into the Atlantic by a beautiful waterfall.

4. The cliff that I climb is impressive! The silhouette at the top gives the scale, well… if you can see it! 馃槈

5. From the top, the panorama is breathtaking! This image is an panorama of 4 vertical images.

6. Traditional boat garage along the lake, on my hike back.

7. Continuing the road to the North, I discover this small village, just lovely… In the distance, the arch of Drangarnir.

8. And here is the second must-see spot: the Gasadalur waterfall. The small village of the same name was one of the most isolated of the Faroe Islands until the construction of a tunnel in 2006. Before, the only way to reach it during winter was the sea where a summary natural harbour allowed small boats to land by nice weather. In 1962, the village remained isolated for more than 5 consecutive months because of a series of Atlantic depressions.
The waterfall is 50 yards tall.

9. View from the top of the waterfall, with at the foot of the cliff, the rocks that allowed the landing…

10. First meeting with the puffin in the cliffs…

11. What a beautiful bird!

12. Here, people attach caravans so they cannot fly on windy days, that means everything!

13. Going up a fjord towards the village of Tjornuvik.

14. Waterfall along the VivaLaVida’s way.

15. Cliffs in the rain. The Faroe Islands have among the highest cliffs in Europe. Some are half a mile high.

In the next update, I will show you the black beach of Tjornuvik and other parts of these beautiful islands. Stay tuned!