Modane, day 18 on the GR5

Time flies! We are almost half way though our journey to the Mediterranean, staying in Modane tonight, a small town in a valley, after spending last night in a refuge at 2474 m, crossing Col de Chavière at 2796 m this morning and descending 1750 m today. We are glad to have a hotel room tonight!

In the 12 days since we last wrote we’ve walked through Chamonix and crossed the Vanoise area, home to a large national park. Most nights we have been in mountain refuges, away from towns and off the grid. Every day we have been above 2000 m for at least part of the day. It is hard work: several days with 1500 m climbing, many steep and rocky trails, several ladders, a few footholds hammered into rock. But it has been rewarding. The scenery is wonderful, there are still many wildflowers, the meadows are full of marmots, patches of snow about, glaciers above us, cow bells in the distance.

The weather has been mostly good, except for last Wednesday which featured three thunderstorms (two with hail), driving winds and very cold rain. Oddly, the day was one of our best as the bad weather fit with the isolated, rocky, barren landscape we encountered, our rain gear kept us dry and the climbing kept us warm.

There is much camaraderie among the hikers in the refuges. We’ve met lots of interesting people. They come and go—we see them for a few days then they take a different route, or they may have a different time table, and sometimes they reappear unexpectedly.

We are enjoying the hike even more than we expected and have been collecting ideas for future trips. A few photos:

Isolated refuge in a mountain meadow
The ridge we walked
Tea with other hikers
Refuge cat
Green tarn
Selfie on a wet day
Barren but beautiful landscape
Descending to Refuge de la Leisse
16th century salt road bridge
Marmot on guard
Refuge Col de la Vanoise
Tired hikers on the deck at Col de la Vanoise
Stepping stones across a pond
Today, approach to Col de Chavière

21 thoughts on “Modane, day 18 on the GR5”

  1. What a great trip and great pictures. I especially liked the one of Col de la Vanoise, although just looking at that triggered my fear of wide open spaces! Glad it was you and not me sleeping under that mountain!

  2. After reading this post I am pretty sure I am coming down with a severe case of trail envy. Magical pictures indeed. May the weather gods continue to shine on your travels.

  3. Wonderful photos, looking forward to hearing about it! Fran & all at Ballet BC

  4. Stunning photos, Inge! Such beauty and clearly your training is paying off. No knitting en route I imagine…

    • Actually I am knitting! Finished my socks and am working on a pair for Roy. A lovely soothing thing to do after a day of hiking!

  5. The rainy selfie is my fav, with all the others a close second 🙂 What a grand adventure. Inspirational

  6. I have been wondering where you have been lately. The photos look great and now I am even more envious! Stay healthy and dry!


  7. have been thinking of you and glad to hear news and see such wonderful photos..

  8. What wonderful pictures. It’s so lovely to be able to get a sense of the country you are traveling through.

  9. What a truly amazing adventure you two are on!! Ditto Jane’s “WOW, WOW, WOW”. Beautiful pictures ♥️

  10. So good to see more photos! We loved the last batch too. Such a gorgeous aspect on the world, thank you for taking us along with you!
    Barb& Dennis

  11. Great to hear some news of you! Again wonderful walk with some amazing pictures, nice to have an impression!

    Good luck with the next part

  12. I was thinking of you two this morning as I woke up and wondered where and how you are and there was your posting. Beautiful. Your stunning photos tell your story so well. Love it all. Power to you both.


  13. Wow! Looks wonderful.
    I want to go there!
    Glad to here you are having such a swell time.
    Travel safe guys!

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