We went hunting for Edelweiss one late summer’s day on the mountainside above La Tzoumaz. See if you can read the whole story without bursting into song!
A few weeks ago we bumped into a local couple out hiking up the Col des Mines. Leaning on their hiking poles, they were delighted to stop and share their favourite nuggets of local knowledge from the vast encyclopaedia that they had gathered over their last 30 years here. The thing that piqued my interest the most was when they told us that you could find Edelweiss growing wild at the top of the mountain. “Whereabouts?” I asked excitedly, with my head spinning in anticipation, wondering if we could do an urgent detour on the way home. “Up by the top of the Pierre Avoi. Take the lower path, not the one that climbs to the summit, and then leave the path. You really have to know where it is, but there are about six of them, maybe 200m away from the footpath, sort of in the rocks.” In my excitement I foolishly believed that these must be sufficiently precise instructions, so the very next day we got our hiking kit together and set off with the boys, who are 5 and 7 years old. I had been talking to them about Edelweiss all summer, while pointing out all the different flowers we could see on our many hikes, explaining that it was incredibly rare and so they should look for it at all times. I have never seen the delicate yellow and white flowers growing in the wild, despite spending many happy years tramping about the Alps in summer, and held them in kind of magical regard. We were all quite excited to think that we knew where to find some, so we set off with a spring in our step, hunting for Edelweiss in La Tzoumaz.