We weren’t looking out for a Marmot when we went for a hike last Saturday but we ended up spotting three! We started out at the Col de L’Encrenaz at 1433m altitude which is a short drive from Morzine up through La Cote d’Arbroz. This pretty little spot is at the back of Les Gets’ Mont Chery mountain and can be skied down to in the winter. There is a lovely little restaurant which is open in the summer too. There are several walks starting here but we took the route which heads up behind the restaurant and then swings left towards the dominating Roc d’Enfer mountain.
The hike itself starts off by following a farm track which just has a gentle gradient and passes through alpine pastures with cows grazing. You then take a narrow path which heads straight up the front of the mountain and onto what looks more like moorland. This part is a bit steeper and heads directly for the Col Ratti which sits below the jutting rock faces of the Roc d’Enfer ridge. The views from up here are just breathtaking…
After reaching the Col Ratti you can carry on down the other side into the lovely hamlet of Graydon and then onto St Jean d’Aulps. However, as we had parked at the bottom we went back the same we came up.
It was as we started our descent that we heard the distinct sound of a Marmot whistling. If you’ve ever been past a gift shop in the Alps and the wolf whistle come from a stuffed Marmot toy then you will probably have wondered what it’s all about. Marmots live underground high up in the mountains in large groups. Whilst above ground one always stands watch and whistles when the see or hear danger approaching. If it wasn’t for this ear piercing noise then you would probably never even know they were there. The Marmot is on the whole a fairly elusive creature and their colour blends in pretty well with their surroundings. When you can follow that noise though, with good eyesight it is possible to spot them. We spotted three on Saturday and managed to approach them and get quite close. Two disappeared underground quite quickly but the lookout stayed on it’s hind legs until we were literally feet away from it.
This hike is fantastic anyway but was made even better by being able to picnic close to some of the Alps’ most famous but shy residents.
Take a look at our homepage www.cheztoi.biz for details of catering packages in Morzine or Les Gets.