Hello, I’m back! Back on the blog, back in the country. Back on the mountain.
As we were away most of summer, we are now trying to catch up quickly with all our mountains before winter sets in. We try to experience some new outdoor things as well, like foraging wild blueberries on one of the mountaintops we look out on from our house. Let me show you how that afternoon on the Super Collet of Allevard went.

I’m not sure if I have posted this already, but on the top of our valley we have two ski-areas. A smaller one (which is connected to our village) and a bigger one (which is connected to our neighbouring village). We were told (by several people) that on top of the bigger ski area we could find blueberries in August. As we came back from holiday, one of E’s colleagues reminded him of the fruits that needed to be foraged. He had gone up with his family the weekend before and there was apparently a sea of blueberries. In preparation of our hike, I found out that the chairlift, going to the top of the blueberries filled mountain, was active during summer. There was nothing standing in our way of some good blueberry confiture, we thought.

You should know though that I’m not a big fan of chairlifts. I have only started using these again last summer, when by accident we encountered an open chairlift on one of the other mountain chains here in the neighbourhood. It was an impulsive decision to jump on. Later that year I also used one in Switzerland and I think I’m slowly getting used to the idea that I won’t break the whole construction with my weight. Perhaps also because I have lost about 30-35kg by now. People tell me that that does not really matter, but in my head it matters somehow.

Back to the blueberries. I’m not sure how long it took, but let’s say 15 minutes after our departure we landed on top of the mountain. It was beautiful. Not busy at all also. We could look out onto our village from here, but also see most of the neighbouring mountain chains. Just amazing how you can go up for 1500m from where you stand and have a totally different experience of the ‘same’ place. I didn’t have the feeling I was so close to home. I had the feeling that we were far away somewhere (on holiday). Having experienced this, from now on, whenever I see the mountain, I will look at it with a different set of eyes.

E. went ahead while I was taking pictures (nothing unusual), to see if he could find a good spot for us to pick blueberries. It was funny to see him hop from one place to another. Sometimes we would think that we saw a field of blueberries from afar, but when he would go there to find them, it would be something else. We also briefly thought that we were too late to pick them, as we only saw empty bushes at the beginning. But as with everything else that can be foraged, we always tend to forget that searching near the trail is a fruitless endeavour here in France (but probably everywhere else as well).

Luckily we realised that quickly and went off trail to find us some wild confiture ingredients. And as soon as we went off-trail it only took us a few minutes to find endless supplies of blueberries. I briefly wondered if we were allowed to pick them, because we didn’t see anyone else pick, but as we were picking we saw that a more professional looking lady set her stuff out on a different patch and started picking with better tools. By then we were confident that we weren’t doing anything wrong. We also learned (by watching her) that next time we set out to do this (next year that will be) we will have to bring our own blueberry comb with us.

We ended up with 1kg of blueberries, but I’m sure we would have had more if we had good tools for picking. It’s pretty time consuming to pick one tiny blueberry at a time. It didn’t make it less fun though. We truly enjoyed the experience!
We enjoyed ourselves so much, that I even proposed to walk down to our car instead of taking the chairlift down. I must have been in a good mood at that moment. I’ll spare you the details, but I definitely didn’t enjoy the walk down (even though my new beautiful shoes helped out tremendously).

And in case you want to follow our footsteps, but are in better shape than me, then it’s really no problem to walk down. I just found some of the steep high stones that we had to cross a bit scary and the fact that we had to walk up a lot to go down demotivated me a bit, and that’s an understatement. But we made it down in one piece and so it was very doable. Coming down into the valley, we were also happily greeted by the grazing cows.

I think you can still go up this week (or so) and pick some of the last fruits. If you want to inform yourself before jumping into this journey, you can find more information here:

Le Collet d’Allevard (they also give updates on when the chairlift is open)
Altituderando trail information
Explore France map