My experiences with thru-hiking

Summer Skiing

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


Jul 30 2009

July 30 2009

Climbed up to the Col Du Palet first thing in the morning. The French mountain man is ahead of me and he’s just bouncing along at great speed. There are a lot of snow patches in this area, and it’s known to snow sometimes. Not just sprinkles of snow, I’m talking snowstorms, which can be a problem, obscuring the trail-markers that are painted on the boulders.  I follow the French mountain man (why do I keep calling him that?) and reach a ski resort called Val Claret. It’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen, modern buildings like apartment complexes in the middle of these beautiful mountains.  I catch up with the French mountain man, and we shop for provisions at a store called Sherpa, and gobble our breakfast near the ski rentals. Even in the summer (and this is news to me) there are still some spots people can ski at, and we watch a few folks walk by in their ski boots, heading to the ski lift. After I’m done, I say goodbye to my breakfast buddy and get back on the trail.

The landscape on this part of the trail is pretty bleak with tons of rubble. Big stony walls surround me. To my left, I see marmots prancing about, and I wonder how they survive here. I finally reach the Refuge d’Entre Deux Eaux, and I’m told that I can’t camp there. The manager can’t speak English and two French women come to my rescue and help me with some translation. After I get a bed, shower and wash my clothes out (my chores), I join the two French women for a chat. Stephanie and Emmanuelle are sisters, and have recently been laid-off, so they decided to do something they’ve always want to do: walk a bit of the GR5 trail. I make a joke about our table being the jobless table (after telling them I quit my job), and Stephanie just stares at me, but Emmanuelle laughs. (Whew…I still got it.)

Even though I can’t camp here, I see cars parked at some of the buildings near us, so it makes me wonder why that’s allowed if the park is trying to protect whatever it is they’re trying to protect. Of course, I wonder out loud. Stephanie scowls and agrees with me that it’s strange and shrugs it off. I go back to John Grisham, which is a horrible book, but I keep at it, hoping it’ll get better.


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