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: