Still, we have a huge fondness for glaciers and getting up close to them and since in the summer season the local bus service operates a line right to the end of the road at 2400m it would only be around 500m of ascent and so 90 minutes of walking to reach it..perfect for recovering thigh muscles.
From the moment we stepped off the bus we felt more alive. The cool crisp morning air (we caught the 0845 bus) felt like medicine in our lungs and the tongue of the glacier peeking out was invigorating to see. We set off and the climb felt straightforward enough, a little rocky underfoot but without our thru-hiking packs we plodded up steadily, stopping often to marvel at the scenery. We had no rush today! No wild camping to reach!
Once at the refuge we were amazed at how ideal the location was. A terrace overlooked a sheer face of tumbling, gigantic ice boulders. What a place to spend a night....but we wanted to get a little closer still so made our way down a small path that threaded down another 100m below the refuge. Wow! It was staggering how that little extra walk changed the perspective of the vast glacier, which almost induced vertigo as we looked vertically down on its crevassed surface.
The sun was just arriving and we parked ourselves for what turned into a 3 hour visit of meditation and reading in perfect tranquility although we did eventually have to tear ourselves away to catch the 1600 bus home.
Once back we whiled away the evening with dinner, some writing and half a movie, but it was the time by the glacier that had made our day. I really can't capture just how wonderful it had been to stroll to a bus stop and be ferried within touching distance of such an incredible place. After 3 weeks of days going up and down sometimes thousands of metres each day, having the chance to see so much with far less effort (when we choose) here in Val d'Anniviers is marvellous. I feel very grateful we have had the opportunity to come back to Val d'Anniviers this week and be able to explore in such comfort (both aided by the Liberte pass and the incredibly comfortable apartment we are staying in).