Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Passy Plaine-Joux

Passy Plaine-Joux

Still in the Alps and today's weather shows a massive improvement. We cross the valley from St Gervais and climb up to Passy Plaine-Joux at 1600m. Looking back across the valley we can see the pointed summit of Mont Joly at 2525m.

This is a well-known paragliding launch point and here is the spectacular view down into the valley from the edge of the launch zone.

With out backs to the valley we walk back past the car park and uphill towards the rocky massif behind.

Almost immediately I spot an unfamiliar Blue butterfly. I wasn't quick enough to get a picture and off it flew. A hopeful sign though.

Soon afterwards, the first new wildflower of the day presented itself: it seems to be some sort of vetch, but I haven't been able to identify it. A beautiful colour though.

Then we started to see a lot of this yellow flower, Field Mustard (Sinapsis arvensis).

As we continued uphill I thought I had found several examples of another butterfly, perhaps some sort of Checkered Skipper. My butterfly book established that it wasn't - it seems instead to be a moth, the Latticed Heath, or some continental variant of it.

Also flying in the same locality was another creature which was more obviously a moth, a Burnet Companion.

And another orchid to join those we saw yesterday at Le Bettex. I think this is a Military Orchid.

We were gradually getting nearer to the massif, which dramatically loomed over us.

A bit further on we heard the sound of a rock fall and could see some small debris coming over the edge of the massif. We were glad we were well out of the way.

The flowers were starting to become thinner on the ground, but this attractrive red flower stood out. Sadly, I have not been able to identify it.

There was a lovely view back over the winding track with a couple of other walkers kindly providing a sense of scale.

Finally, with the cloud growing and the temperature falling I spotted this pretty Matted Globularia (Globularia cordifolia).

It remained only to retrace our steps. Here is a final view of Mont Joly.

Conditions: clear and bright at first, becoming cloudier.

Distance:a couple of miles, but 1500m of ascent.

Rating: four stars.

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