18 juin 2009

Mountain shells

Did you know that in the Alps you can find sea shells?

That's because the rocks that form the mountains were originally sea bed sediments that contained sea-dwelling animals. The sediments hardened with time and then were thrust upwards and folded when the Alps were shaped by the collision of European and African continents some 35 million years ago (to make a long story short).

So now you can find shell-like creatures high up in the mountains: some are embedded in the rocks and are known as fossils; others come from all over the world to visit their ancestors and you can actually see them walking around on FEET.

Thanks to V from Rando Decouverte, I was lucky to be able to guide some of these shell visitors on a one day hike around the Col du Pillon area: here are a few pictures from that outing, a magnificent day in the Alps!

Picnic with a view. That's the Arnensee down there.

Here's a group picture of the visiting shells! (fossils can be seen under their shoes)

A russian custom to sooth boiling feet in hot weather:
  1. find snow
  2. take shoes off
  3. walk/ski/roll around in snow

I'd never done it, well, I'll do it again, thanks Natalia!

These shells were good walkers so we had time to hike up to the Palette d'Isenau (2170 m). Here's one shell reaching the final flowery ridge.

Russian shells peeping from behind European trolls.

Great view over the Diablerets massif, where small devils play skittles on ice.

How good can it get?

Beautiful Anemone pulsatilla (Pasque Flower) watch the shells as they roll carefully down the steep slopes of Palette.

Did you say steep?

Yes I did.

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