I've decided to find out more about the Vosges region, so I'm going to try to spend one day a week there,. Probably Mondays.
This week I went to Hohneck.
The third highest peak in the Vosges and from what I've read it is a good place to find Chamois. I was checking the weather forecast last night, which looked terrible so I nearly didn't go, but as I'm slowly learning not to trust the weatherman, I wasn't quite sure. I woke up at 0430 this morning and checked the forecast again, it looked a lot better, so I decided to give it a go.
I drove past the route to the Grand Ballon, the sky was clear. I drove past the route to the Petit Ballon and the sky was clear. I was nearly at Hohneck and the sky was clear, until I drove into the ice fog, actually, it felt like fog drove in to me. The visibility dropped to zero and the wind was battering the side of the car. Although it didn't look promising, I decided to carry on anyway.
It was cold at the top, really cold, blowing a gale and cloudy. I could see the ice crystals blowing through the car headlights and sticking to the car. It was still pitch black, but I went to take a look around. Just for a short while though; the 'actual temperature' was -4°C, but with the wind chill it was down to -20°C. I decided that it was probably best to get back in the car for a while, turn the heating on and wait for the first rays of light to hopefully appear between the clouds.
It was worth it, as if planned, the clouds started to part as the first rays appeared.
I saw my first Chamois just before taking the last shot. When I got to the viewing point, one of them was right in front of me, nibbling at the grass. Just as I saw it, It saw me and ran off. I didn't want to run after it and frighten it and the sun was just arriving so I decided to concentrate on the sunrise.
Later on, I tried my luck and headed in the direction that Chamois had ran. Luckily I was able to find the herd.
I followed for a while and was able to get into a better position before they went further down the steep side of the hill where I was unable to follow or see them.
By this time the sun was just beginning to appear over the edge of the hill.
It hit the clouds in a way that made them look like they were on fire.
I made my way back up the viewing point to take a few more pictures before my fingers fell off.