Hiking Up The Haut Montet
I’ve been looking at this huge ball perched on top of a mountain behind our village in France for years, and wondering about it. We affectionately started to call the mountain “Football Mountain”, which I think should be its official name instead of Le Haut Montet. Finally, one warm Fall day a few weeks ago, we decided that it was time to hike up there to finally see “the football” from up close. The giant ball on top of Le Haut Montet is actually a radar for checking out airplanes (just incase you were thinking it’s some kind of very obvious spying device).
The terrain is very rocky and bare, as you can see from the photos, so you have to be very careful that there’s no fog if you decide to go walking up there. It’s really easy to get lost if you can’t see very far. We even managed to do it with sun shining down on us. On the way up the mountain it’s fine as you can see the ball at the summit, so you head towards it if you get off trail. On the way back, we were happily walking along, chatting to our friends who went with us, then suddenly realized that the trail had vanished. The path is marked by piles of stones, which are not that easy to see as they’re surrounded by other white stones that are naturally in piles. Anyway, after some exciting cross-country roaming in the general direction of where we knew we had to go, and help from the eagle-eyes of the kids, we found the trail that led us down to the parking lot again.
The path up Le Haut Montet led us past two very cool ruins of shepherd’s dwellings that the kids had huge fun climbing on and exploring. Just for the record, one of the ruins is called Maubert and the other is called Mary. I’m not sure if those are the names of the people who lived in them during the Summer months, or if people have just given them random names since then.
The view from the top of Le Haut Montet was amazing and we could even see Corsica, which lies about 200km off the coast! Unfortunately, the rest of the sea was covered in a hazy mist, but the view was spectacular, none-the-less. I was so happy to see the giant football from up close! The great thing is that now, when I look from our house, I can think that I hiked up there!
The mountain you can see poking its bald head above the trees is called the Pic des Courmettes. You may remember reading about it after we hiked up there a few weeks ago. If you missed that experience, here it is! Behind the Pic, in the hazy distance on the coast, is Nice. If you strain your eyes and look EVEN further away, towards the mountains in the background, you are then looking at Italy. See, it’s not that far!
It’s been so warm this Fall that there are very few signs of the seasons changing this year. It was wonderful to come across this lone tree, trying to tell everyone that it actually is getting colder!
By Lisa Watson