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GR5 Day 3: Refuge de Chésery to Samoëns

There were only three of us staying at the Refuge de Chésery, so I need not have booked. Three others camped nearby and had rather a wet night. By 6:30 am though the sun was up and it looked like being a spectacular day. Lac Vert was like a blue mirror in the early morning light and with the clouds finally gone, I could see the huge ski lift station high above the refuge. This area is part of a huge ski resort and I imagine it is wonderful in a good winter. The ski lifts and tracks look a mess in the summer. Many are still in operation, being used by tourists and mountain bikers.

This was my longest day so far, with a couple of easy cols to cross and a huge descent. The scenery was very impressive, with long views across alpine pastures into the valleys deep below.

I passed a sign warning walkers and cyclists how to deal with the dogs that guard the livestock. There are wolves here apparently. I wouldn’t have believed the sign unless I had read a piece in Le Monde the other day. Farmers in the region are complaining about the number of livestock being lost to wolf attacks. The government has just increased the quota of wolves that can be killed each year in order to keep the numbers in check.

The descent into Samöens was steep but on good tracks, with the last free miles being on Tarmac. I think I may have missed the path. Samöens was bustling when I arrived at lunchtime. It is a thriving place in summer, offering mountain biking, climbing, parapenting and other outdoor sports.

I had dinner in the hotel last night. Embarrassingly I had to wear a pair of startlingly white hotel slippers as my running shoes were caked in mud and smelled like a rotting carcass. There was another chap in the hotel who spent dinner talking to himself. If you didn’t look in his direction, you would have sworn he was having a conversation with a partner. Bizarre.

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