GR5 Day 2: Note from Refuge de Chésery

I managed to get the sink clean this morning. Last night I had managed to block it by washing the mud off my running shoes and socks, leaving it full of brown, silty water and bits of floating grass. Although the sink was now clean, I couldn’t help feeling guilty. When the cleaning ladies come to wash it out they will find the water turning a nasty brown colour and refusing to go away. I fear that they are going to have to take off the u-bend to remove the silt.

Dinner at the Esprit Montagne was really quite exceptional. Three very unusual and beautifully presented courses, with which I enjoyed four local artisanal beers and a great coffee. As I was finishing my desert I was thinking that I would have been a good idea to ask the price before I agreed to have dinner. So when I came to pay this morning I was expecting the worse. I got a very pleasant surprise, it was only €20. Considering that breakfast at The a National had been €7.50 for bread and jam, this was quite a bargain.

The guidebook suggested that the route from La Chapelle d’Abundance to Refuge de Chésery would take eight hours and described the path as both steep and wet. I don’t think that I have walked in so much mud since doing sections of the Pennine Way in the 1980s before the path conservation measures were introduced. The areas where cattle use the path to get to and from pastures and cow sheds were particularly sloppy.

I was lucky with the weather again. Although the forecast suggested that there wod be rain all day, it didn’t start until I got to the refuge. The clouds even parted for much of these day, giving me good views down the Valée d’Abundance, and apparently of Mt Blanc, but I didn’t recognise it.

The wildflowers in the meadows are really beautiful, with many orchids and wild roses.

I finished the route in 4 hours 2 minutes. I’m mainly having to walk up hill, but am hoping to develop fitness as the days progress. Tomorrow is a slighter shorter day, finishing in the town of Samöens, where I am going to take a rest day. I figured if I ran for three days and took a rest, it would help.

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