My experiences with thru-hiking

Hitting The Alps

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


Jul 20 2009

July 20 2009

Tried to get a haircut before leaving, but I was cursed by the first day of the week. The three barbershops I came across in Lausanne were closed. I gave up on the haircut and caught the ferry to St. Gingolph, where the trail continues over the Alps and to the Mediterranean. It will take me around five weeks to get to Menton. The barbershop in St. Gingolph is closed too. The town is half Swiss and half French, and there’s a customs depot in the middle of the main street that divides the town into two. I bought a phone card and called my parents, because I wasn’t sure when I’d get the opportunity to call them next.

The trail goes immediately up, the ascent is a killer, a good introduction to Alpine hiking and the days to come. I head to a small village called Novel, and on the way pass an adventure park with kids climbing ladders and sliding down ropes, all under the careful supervision of two adults. The trail is unbelievably rocky and I’m glad I’ve bought new boots.  When I finally got to Novel, I walked past it and to a meadow. Ruth had told me that there was a nice meadow after the village, a great place to wild camp, and sure enough the meadow was beautiful.  I was in a valley and felt like I was at the bottom of a bowl with all the mountains around me. I passed a family of four with two little girls, and I’m impressed that they’re doing this difficult hike. They are all smiles. I pass another two girls to get to the meadow and find a nice place to camp. After I set up my tent, I talk to the two girls who have also decided to camp in the meadow, and ask them about their next day’s destination. They seem to have no plan, and are just taking it one day at a time – very French of them.


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