My experiences with thru-hiking


Posted in Hiking GR5, 1500 miles across Europe by onefootatatime on August 28, 2009


Jul 29 2009

July 29 2009

Left Landry with Cas, my new Belgian friend. He was taking another route through the Vanoise National Park and I had decided to take a variant: the GR55. At this point on the trail, the guide offers three options to get through the park. The GR5, GR5E and the GR55. The GR55 is the high-level route, promising to take me to the highest points on the trail.  It also said it’d save me two days too. Two days I can use later as rest days. One hour into the hike, I could see I was getting into some really remote areas of the park judging by the harshness of it all and the rocks. I only saw little shrubs everywhere trying to stay alive. There were patches of snow too, and plenty of streams flowing down the mountain.

When I got to the Refuge D’Entre Le Lac, I saw why a lot of people were clamoring to get there. The refuge is next to a beautiful lake, and people were picnicking around the big blue drop of water. The guide recommended a stop here, but I heard that camping wasn’t allowed here, so I kept walking to the Refuge du Col du Palet. They allowed me to camp there for 3 euros 50 centimes. The Vanoise National Park is a protected area, so wild camping is strictly forbidden, and you can only pitch your tent at certain refuges, and only from 7pm to 7am. The guy at the refuge was nice enough to let me put my tent up at 6pm with an 8am deadline. I bumped into a French man who was also camping at the refuge, and he told me that he had just retired and was walking the GR5 to Menton. He had all the time in the world.  He told me his wife didn’t like camping and hiking, so he was on his own. He hadn’t hiked in thirty years, so he was glad to be outside. Like true hikers, we talked about our gear, and I think he was carrying more weight. He was tall like Goliath, and with his backpack on he looked like a mountain. He’s a French mountain man with tree truck for legs.


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