Walks and hikes in Europe and California, posted sporadically as they happen… or as I reflect on them…

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Alpwalk 4: Chésery to Samoëns


The Montagne de l'Huber, at Chésery
We left our Swiss refuge a little after seven, after a reasonably good coffee-milk-and-bread breakfast, climbed a little around the nearby lake to the col des Portes-de-l'Hiver, and then started the long descent through pastures, on dirt trails and country roads, in country I find a little too bucolic. Of course the country is Switzerland and the local industry is dairying, and I am fond of the Brown Swiss breed, which replaces the Abondance here. 

The pastures are almost lawns, with few of the flowers so abundant in the Abondance and Beaufortain on the French side; the road laces through them; there are neat farmsteads scattered along the route, some of them offering boissons and liight refreshment. 
And there is always the view of the distant crests — well, not all that distant; and one of them will inevitably have to be crossed for us to get back to France. 

Then I was in unfamiliar territory. Eight years ago I left the GR5 at just that point, descending to a hotel at Mines d'Or for the night, then taking the road (and to be honest thumbing a ride) into Samoëns. That was not today's plan. We were sticing to the GR5.

This turned out to lead us down into a very pleasant valley where we fond a refuge, Chardonniere, which offered a fine salade forestiere. This braced us for what turned out to be a tedious descent via hairpins, often on asphalt road, sometimes past amazing formations of shale; and then into the night's lodgings in Samoëns. 
Once again we were in a hotel, the three of us sharing a room. A hot shower and a real bed!