Snowshoeing: Les Pleiades

Being fans of skiing means that we lived in this country for a few years without trying snowshoeing… until we had a baby and skiing became harder to conciliate with our family activities. But, as with many things and situations that come with a baby, we adapted, and by adapting we get to discover many new things that we wouldn’t have been quite interested in before. Snowshoeing is very good example of one of those things. Short hikes also.

After too many weekends staying put at home for all kinds of reasons, it was simply impossible to miss out on the first sunny weekend that came up. We headed out to Les Pléiades, a small mountain location just above Montreux, not very far from home. This is one of the first things that comes with adapting: because we cannot afford to spend hours in traffic or in trains on a Sunday in which we like to wake up relaxed and need to come home early enough for dinner and toddler bedtime, we are discovering more sites near home.

With snowshoes, you can walk in the snow or ice without slipping, even if you are carrying a 15kg backpack. They were very helpful in the first parts of the hike, where it sometimes gets a little steep and icy. Once we started climbing, we were gifted with views of the Pays d’En-Haut region. We crossed some of the ski slopes and might have felt a little pang of jealousy with some skiers swooshing down, but made a mental note to come and visit this station when we will be able to ski as a family in a few years. If it still exists, with the increasing lack of snow at lower altitudes.

After crossing the slopes, we headed into the forest, with its dancing light through the trees, and very icy patches for which the snowshoes were valuable. Out of the forest, we were rewarded with a view over a Lac Léman covered in clouds, with Mont Pèlerin hill peeking out.

After a last and slightly strenuous climb to the summit of Les Pléiades, it was time for lunch, playing in the swings and catching some much needed sun. On the summit there is a little playground, a slight slope for training the first ski moves and a little trail on which you can learn about the planets and the solar system. It’s a very sought out spot for families, both in Summer and Winter.

Heading down, Toddler wanted to walk by herself and to carry one of the walking poles in her own way. This is another thing about adapting to walking with Toddlers: you need to plan for longer timings on the hike. They will want to play, walk by themselves, stray a little from the path, observe the surroundings, interact with the animals and people they cross, pick up little sticks and leaves… the list is endless. This means that a hike that would probably take us around one or two hours to do at our own pace, will now take us four or even five. But that’s OK, because with all these discoveries, we see how much Toddler enjoys herself while doing an activity that we also love dearly.

And back down the hill, with a view over Tours d’Aï et de Mayens (those two little peaks sticking out of the mountain in the foreground) and the Dents du Midi in the background, and the stratus covering the whole Lac Léman.

It was a beautiful and very much needed day out, in one of the nicest family-friendly outdoor spots in the region, to which we will surely be coming back over several (and varied!) seasons.

The hike was called Lally-Les Pléiades snowshoe trail and all the technical details can be found on the website.

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