The last three days have been long and tiring–no time for blogging. Also, I’m now sending posts only when I have wifi access–too expensive using the mobile data network, so posts may arrive in batches.
On with the story!
Day 3, Dent d’Oche to La Chapell d’Abondance
The day began with a 500m descent from the refuge to the valley below where we joined the official GR5 route. The day before I found the last bit going up to la Dent unnerving. Far more so going down. Inge went ahead and spotted footholds for me. A good trust-building exercise to come down a near vertical chimney hanging onto a chain and following “put your foot on this, now put your weigh on it” when you can’t even see what you are placing your foot on. That 50m took half an hour and the rest, although steep, was a piece of cake.
The rule of mountain hiking is “that which goes down must climb up again,” so next was a 400m climb to the Col (pass) de Pavis. The huge bowl after that was amazing alpine scenery, followed by a good look at a herd of bouquetin, large mountain goats with big horns.
Then a drop, followed by a climb to another col, and down and up again. All with good scenery. Very quiet trails.
Night in a typical small ski town in a gîte. The towns are all at about 1000m elevation and the hiking is up and down at 1500 to 2000m elevation, so the days are hard work. Far harder than any walk I have done before, but also far more rewarding.
Interesting talk with the gîte owner and the only other hiker staying in the gîte: the GR5 is decreasing in traffic and those who do it are baby-boomer professionals like the three of us staying there that night.
A good night sleep in the gîte.
Days 4 and 5 in the next post.