Hike from Aime to Granier

Every April right towards the close of the ski season I always get a bug! This year was no exception but this time it was just a common cold instead of the traditional stomach flu. Despite that it has managed to put me out of action for almost a week now. Strength is returning and the symptoms are disappearing. Hopefully the fact that last Tuesday was a monster workout anyway – which would have needed a few days of recovery – there won’t have been much fitness lost overall.
Today was another stunningly warm “Summer” day in early Spring! Yesterday it was 32°C in Aime which is 700m above sea level! I’m not even thinking about skiing at the moment despite the slopes still being officially open. The snow is not freezing at night which makes the Spring snow inaccessible. Instead of skiing I went for a hike with Christiane and the photos below capture some of the Spring beauty here… (more text at the bottom)

Unfortunately my camera is not good enough to capture images of the feathered or furry types of wildlife but I’m planning an upgrade soon that might rectify that problem – the Sony Hx100v when it comes on the market. Today we saw eagles, buzzards, hawks and Jays plus a couple of times we heard woodpeckers. I tired to photograph some giant bees at one point but the autofocus wasn’t fast enough.
This is the longest hike so far in Vibram Fivefingers – being about 3 hours. My feet were tired by the end but they would have been in any hiking shoe. Most striking however was the benefit of “barefoot” walking during the descent. I’ve always been put off hiking in the steep hills due to finding the descents unpleasant because of a lot of stress on the quadriceps. No matter how fit I happen to be I find this too hard to enjoy. Miraculously, with the barefoot shoes this problem disappears. It doesn’t just change a little – it changes completely. There was no strain on the quads and descending was enjoyable all the way. I realised that with normal shoes the extra height of the heel is significantly adding to the effective steepness of the hill and that’s what’s loading up the quads – to a degree that goes beyond the comfort threshold. My legs got tired all over – though lack of hiking practise – but not due to any specific strain. I also got sunburned all over which is unusual for mid April – but a welcome dose of vitamin D.
Started using the bathroom scales again after a winter of serious over-indulgence. Weighing in at 72.6kg was a pleasant surprise because some winters have seen me balloon right up to 78kg. The indoor virtual reality cycle trainer really did seem to work – providing the motivation  to train despite tiredness. The standard resistance trainer works just as well but it’s so boring that you can’t get much out of it. Think I might start off with a short mountain bike ride tomorrow to get back into cycling and see if my lungs are up to it now.

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