School snow shoe outing

I was out in the mountains this week with a group of 10 year olds for a « classe de neige ». Oh joy to be in the mountains instead of in the classroom!  They were full of beans as we put on our snow-shoes at the Pont d’Espagne, just above Cauterets and ready to go!

scots pine snowWe took a wild un-tracked path following the Gaube river which runs down from the famous lake of the same name; snow-ball ambushes and obstacles in the snow kept the children going despite quite cold temperatures and falling snow. Few, if any were insensitive to the beauty of  the snow-covered scotspines with their salmon-coloured bark surrounding the meandering stream and then, just as we were starting to feel hunger and fatigue setting in, as if meticulously organised, from behind the trees wandered 3 beautiful isards! Even a group of excited 10 year olds is capable of silence in such privileged circumstances! All looked on in awe to see these wild animals in this spectacular site as they searched under the snow for odd bits of lichen, bark and pine needles to see them through the winter.

isard snowWe reached the Lac de Huets for a brief picnic lunch and some hot chocolate and then set to igloo construction to warm up! The children were delighted to learn such « survival skills » and all the more so as the snow was just moist enough that with our plastic boxes carried up for this purpose, we were able to make perfect snow bricks and build the type of igloo as we imagine the eskimos living in…..a perfect round with dome roof and small hall-like entrance!

Several photos later and we were running and sliding on our bums, walking a bit too, back down to the car park where more hot chocolate and the bus awaited. A great day out and lots of memories in lots of little heads. Thanks to the 3 isards who kindly made their appearance!

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