Samoëns—Our first week on the GR5

A week ago tomorrow we caught a flight to Geneva from Amsterdam, followed by a 1-hour bus ride to Thonon-les-Bains on the south shore of Lake Geneva. From there we started the GR5 the next day.

On the flight and bus we noticed a guy with a backpack, also headed to Thonon. Turns out, he was Dutch and going to walk part of the GR5 the coming week, so we had an instant hiking companion. Although we didn’t walk together (he was faster than us) we usually caught up at the end of the day, sat at dinner together, and had many good chats.

Starting from Thonon makes for two hard days to start with. Both days include lots of climbing, especially day 2 with about 1800m steep elevation gain and 7.5 hours of walking. Temperatures in the mid-30s didn’t make it easier. Since then the weather has cooled, including a day with heavy rain.

It feels good to be walking again and after 5-6 days on the trail our bodies are getting used to the walking, the climbing, and the pack-carrying. I think we are now “in shape” again, although that doesn’t mean there won’t be some difficult and hard stretches.

Today we consider a rest day—with an easy 2 hr 20 min walk down into the town of Samoens. We got here at 10:30 and could check into our hotel right away, which was pleasant surprise. It meant showers, real towels, and clean clothes! It doesn’t take much to make a hiker happy.

We’ve met two other people who are planning to walk all the way to Menton like we are, and we hope to continue to run into them along the way. It’s funny how quickly people become like old friends when you do a walk like this.

After our rest day today, we should be ready for our hike tomorrow, when we head closer to Chamonix. I have fond memories of this stage—despite it be a fairly long day. Spending our days soaking up the beautiful scenery and waking up surrounded by mountains is a rich and blessed feeling.

Start – Thonon-les-Bains
Setting off, day one.
Getting into the mountains
Looking up to a col (mountain pass)
Climbing to the col
Chamois
Bouquetin (Ibex)
Long descent
Wet foggy day
Wet gear hanging to dry in a small gîte
Sun again
Curious goats
Fellow hikers in a gîte
Host and chef in one of the gîtes

21 thoughts on “Samoëns—Our first week on the GR5”

  1. Inge en Roy wat weer een geweldige wandeltocht zo met leuke ontmoetingen van mens en dier (de steenbokken op de rand prachtig). Veel plezier met het vervolg. Hartelijke groet, Toos en Jan.

  2. Hi Inge en Roy,
    Wat een gewèldige tocht! Wij zijn zwaar Frankofiel zoals jullie weten dus we zijn héél benieuwd naar jullie ervaringen en de prachtige foto’s. Die van de ontmoeting met het nieuwsgierige geitje vind ik zoooo lief. Heel veel succes en wandelplezier. Ik heb klein gedicht aan jullie toegeschreven.

    Roy en Inge; GR5 2019

    FRANK- en vrij vier je het leven,…je hart zingt,
    RIJK- dom gezond te zijn,…je weet je geliefd,
    G-a hoog op de berg,…adem en beleef de ijle lucht,
    R- uik naar wijn en kaas, ontmoet vluchtig een vriend,
    5- weken verzien en geniet,…de geur die je omringt.

    Lieve Groeten, Gerard en Cora

  3. Oh, the joy of a familiar path shared with a new companion. Enjoying your pictures and stories, and what will be the stuff of vivid memories for the two of you. Your ongoing adventures remind me of a few lines in a now dated Mumford & Sons song:

    “And hold me fast, hold me fast
    ‘Cause I’m a hopeless wanderer.”

    Hope to catch up with you two wanderers in Vancouver for a first-hand, non-digital account of your travels.

  4. Looking very “in shape” indeed Inge! Your amazing photos and words make me miss days on the trail!

  5. You both look fantastic and . young as spring chickens. Your magnificent photos remind me of my 3 years in Luzern post university skiing and hiking. We are so grateful to be on your list and mahalo nui loa for sharing. Aloha, B & G

  6. You two look great; how we envy your youth and energy! Keep safe, and continue creating lots of beautiful memories for the memory bank.

  7. Hope the weather and general conditions are as good for us in September! One significant difference should be the temperatures – we don’t expect 30 Celsius. Keep smiling

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