Day 4, Saturday Aug 13
La Chapelle d’Abondabce to Refuge de Chésery
A warm sunny day and a walk mostly uphill. Refuges are isolated places to stay in the mountains, so this day’s destination was at 1972m rather than a town in a valley.
Lots of cows with bells, good views and some walking in forest.
This was a longer day with more elevation gain (1500m) than the others. In the hot sun we drank lots of water and mid-afternoon we were happy to be able to refill our water supply from the stream of cool water filling a cattle water trough at a farm. Our guide book said we would find water there and the farmer said “Oui, c’est l’eau potable.” Hiking makes such simple things as cold fresh water a delight.
Late in the day we arrived at another refuge about 5km from our planned destination. Tempting to change our plan and stay there, but it was busy and touristy. After a cold drink we pressed on.
The last 5km were not hard and we had the fun of crossing into Switzerland for the night. Very good refuge. We were the only ones staying there and to our delight it had a shower. We sat watching a shepherd and his dogs moving sheep on the opposite hill until it was time for dinner. After dinner we went straight to bed and slept soundly.
Day 5, Sunday August 14
Refuge de Chésery to Samoëns
Not our best day. Only 670m up but almost 2000m down. Inge’s injured toe is fine uphill but painful downhill. Add to that some very steep downhill slopes and rain to make it slippery. A 25km slog.
The good part was a nice hotel waiting for us at the end of the day and the decision to take the next day off to enjoy Samoëns and our luxurious room.
We did have some great scenery and some good memories. Like using an empty cow barn for shelter to put on more rain gear and to wait out the worst of a heavy shower. And a tasty omelette in the afternoon at a refuge.
We arrived dirty and late at the hotel. Hot shower, walk, meal and we felt much better. Early to bed again.
Monday, August 15
Samoëns, rest day
Good town for a rest. Touristy, but big enough to have all services. A laundromat. A book store with the detailed FFR (fédération française de la randonée pédestre) guidebooks to the GR5 we have been looking for since arriving in France. A tourist office for some info.
We were evil and used the tub in our room to wash the mud and cow poop off our boots. We cleaned the tub. After drying and treating the boots, they look almost new.
Our legs are feeling better. The sun is out again. Tomorrow is a long mostly uphill day and we hope it isn’t too hard on Inge’s toe. The next day has some tough downhill, but we have a plan for that.