Last week I drove to Southern France with Fre for a week in the Alps. As the higher ranges are still covered by winter snow, we picked the prealpine Vercors Range, which I already knew quite well from two winter adventures in 2007 and 2009. When weather got worse later in the week, we moved on to the Provence for 4 days of biking in the Mont Ventoux sector.
I had never been in the Alps so early in the season, and it was a huge positive surprise. Livestock was not in the mountain yet, the plateau was a vast ocean of flowers, the water sources were still flowing strong on this limestone desert, and we met absolutely no-one once off the dayhike tracks.
And we had an extraordinary display of alpine fauna – we observed a herd of almost 40 ibex for over an hour right at our campspot near the Grand Veymont mountain, and the ever-present marmots were keen to pose for some pictures!