Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Saturday 30 June 2018

A Short Tour of the Vanoise – Sunday 2 September 2007 – Going Home, and an Index


Before my short report on the journey home, here’s an index to the postings for this short trip. You can access all the postings at one go by clicking here and scrolling down to the oldest posting. I’ve not attempted to place links between the days due to problems with Google’s ‘Blogger’ software that destroys all the formatting when you try to edit using the Blogger dashboard.

Saturday 25 August 2007 - Day 0 – Travel to Modane

Sunday 26 August 2007 - Day 1 – Modane to Refuge d'Orgère

Monday 27 August 2007 - Day 2 – Refuge d'Orgère to Refuge du Plan Sec

Tuesday 28 August 2007 - Day 3 – Refuge du Plan Sec to Refuge de l'Arpont

Wednesday 29 August 2007 - Day 4 – Refuge de l'Arpont to Refuge du Col de la Vanoise

Thursday 30 August 2007 - Day 5 – Refuge du Col de la Vanoise to Epecia Hotel, Pralognan

Friday 31 August 2007 - Day 6 – Pralognan to Refuge de Péclet-Polset

Saturday 1 September 2007 - Day 7 – Refuge de Péclet-Polset to Modane

Conrad visited the area in 2001 and walked the ‘Full Tour’. His report is here.

Here’s my report on the journey home:

Sunday 2 September 2007

An easy journey home. We cope with the peculiar locking system of the Megane Scenic and enjoy a few hours in Chambery - a very nice town with an elephant square celebrating the French exploits in India, and some interesting ancient streets. Mostly shut, so pleasantly quiet, hot and sunny.

The Elephant Fountain79-The-Elephant-Fountain

Outside Ste Chapelle Grand Carillon80-Outside-Ste-Chapelle-Grand-Carillon

Martin in Chambery's ancient streets81-Martin-in-Chambery's-ancient-streets

Theatre Charles Dullin82-Theatre-Charles-Dullin

After a nice lunch, easily back to Lyon airport and home to rainy Manchester, but a refreshingly jolly taxi driver.

Costs per person:
Air fare £139
Car hire £42
Tolls/fuel £12
Hotels (3) £68
Refuges (half board)(5) £160
Meals £90
Coffees etc £20
Taxis £11
Sundry £7
Total £549

Friday 29 June 2018

A Short Tour of the Vanoise – Saturday 1 September 2007 - Day 7 – Refuge de Péclet-Polset to Modane


Here’s Martin’s diary record for Stage 11:

Saturday 1 September 2007

Cards given to Richard, who is 43 today, then a good breakfast - usual ingredients but no rationing - before leaving on a cloudy morning.


The refuge was in cloud all last night, with Brocken Spectres showing in the light from the refuge. Today the cloud slowly clears and when we reach the Col de Chavière - 2796 metres - at 9.30 after walking for an hour the cloud had gone and we had fine views towards Mont Blanc and also to the nearby peaks and those to the south - the Ecrins Massif and Mont Thabor.

The view North58-The-view-North59-Sue-and-MartinBrilliant.

Four Shadows out for a stroll61-Four-Shadows-out-for-a-stroll

Polset Peaks611-Polset-Peaks

Sue with Mont Blanc62-Sue-with-Mont-Blanc

We linger with a brew for 40 minutes. Sue goes higher, which she says is calmer - up to the east. But Andrew has had enough and clearly won't go up any further, having reached the col first (others had cameras). We enjoy the moment. Nobody else is here. Self-timed photo tradition at cols lives on!

On Col de Chaviere642-On-Col-de-Chaviere

This is the highest col of our trip, and the highest col on GR55 - the highest GR col in France.

Eventually we reluctantly leave and head down towards Modane.

Jenny descends from Col de Chaviere66-Jenny-descends-from-Col-de-Chaviere

Gentianella campestris, or Field Gentian67-Gentianella-campestris-or-Field-Gentian

First steeply down, then across a lovely flat section with glacial debris. Pass sheepdogs with the now familiar warnings. A waterfall drops out of cloud to our right. We eschew the path to Refuge de l'Orgère and continue on down GR55 towards Polset, passing a spring at 2100 metres.

Descending to Polset68-Descending-to-Polset

There's a sign to a goat's cheese farm here. A bit lower, before Polset, we stop for lunch - 12.00 to 12.40, before entering the forest. It's a lovely location, and a very pleasant final brew - the gas runs out here.

The last lunch above Polset71-The-last-lunch-above-Polset

Amanita muscaria or Fly Agaric70-Amanita-muscaria-or-Fly-Agaric

Three men from last night's refuge pass - a group walking GR5 in sections - one English, one German, one South African. Later, in the forest, I chat to these three, before a long wait for my party. I then get ahead again and we reconvene at the bridge to the south of Modane centre, which the others have visited and have declared 'shut'.

So, after the motley three book into Le Perce-Neige and are given two of our three pre-booked rooms, we (must have sorted out that problem - Ed) adjourn to the square for a few beers in the sun.

Modane's Hotel Le Perce Neige77-Epilogue-Modane's-Hotel-Le-Perce-Neige

Celebratory Beers75-Celebratory-Beers76-Birthday-Boy

Very chilled, very pleasant, all very relaxed, before stumbling back to the hotel for a bit of R&R before staggering out and finding a pizza restaurant where we consume more beer until the cook arrives at 7pm.

Everything slips down wonderfully.


[Stats: 8.30 to 2.00 including 1.5 hours breaks = 4 hours walking, 14.0 km with 350 metres ascent.]

(Anquet: 15 km, 1124 m ascent)


Thursday 28 June 2018

A Short Tour of the Vanoise – Friday 31 August 2007 - Day 6 – Pralognan to Refuge de Péclet-Polset


Here’s Sue’s diary record for Stage 10:

Friday 31 August 2007

Had late breakfast (8am) after a comfortable night. A fine spread of croissants, pain au chocolats, and French bread was more appetising than yesterday's.

Packed away freshly washed clothes, paid bills, and donned waterproof tops as the cloud was moist.

The track led from the back of the campsite, into a wooded valley by the river. The mist coated the webs on the trees, and our hair. We soon warmed up with the still air and gentle ascent, and clothes came off. Passing through the hamlet of Les Prioux, we observed its similarity to a Nepalese village but resisted the temptation to stop - too early for coffee.

A section of road followed, and more impressions of Nepal - a man leading two mules with loads heading up to Refuge de la Valette. After leaving the road, the track climbed more steeply, and two four-wheel drive vehicles lumbered past us.


Our coffee stop was at Refuge le Roc de la Pêche.


It was next to a 12th Century chapel - Notre Dame des Alpages, which had lots of wood carvings and two small stained glass windows.


There were carved pieces holding different types of bells, which were replicated inside the refuge. It also had a huge fireplace and a medieval looking chandelier with bronze figures of animals.


The Refuge’s coffees and hot chocolate were expensive but very nice.


By now, the cloud was breaking and the sun shone in brief spells. Another gradual climb, past a farm producing Beaufort cheese, and cows grazing, bells ringing. The path climbed away from the river, where we stopped to put on shorts, and soon afterwards we stopped for lunch - French bread, tinned fish and tomato and fruit. Martin brewed up. The bright spell seemed to be over - it clouded up again, but it was only a short distance to the Refuge de Péclet-Polset at 2474 metres. It was rebuilt last year and has several large solar panels on the side and panoramic windows that now look out onto cloud.


There are sleepers in our dorm of bunks, so we settle down to diary write, read, do puzzles, etc.


This was a fine refuge, AAC at that, so Sue and I got discounts for only the second time this week, but overall our £63 Austrian Alpine Club membership has been worthwhile.

Today we passed a river with tidal wave signs, much dew laden foliage, and raspberries galore.

Here we are known as 'Vansielri', so we are Italian today. That doesn't stop me thrashing R and S at Uno, but I lost the second game due to a false accusation of cheating against Richard...

A superb hut, with excellent food - lumpy soup, a good pork dish, cheese, and baked apple.


[Stats: 9.10 to 10.30 - Le Pont de la Peche 1740 metres; 11.00 to 11.40 - coffee at refuge; 12.55 to 1.40 - lunch in the sun; 2.10 - refuge at 2474m = 3.5 hours walking, 12.0 km with 1050 metres ascent.]

(Anquet: 13 km, 1292 m ascent)


Wednesday 27 June 2018

A Short Tour of the Vanoise – Thursday 30 August 2007 - Day 5 – Refuge du Col de la Vanoise to Epecia Hotel, Pralognan


Here’s Jenny’s diary record for Stage 9:

Thursday 30 August 2007

Woke this morning only to be trapped in our beds by the party of French people above us (getting dressed and packing). Made it to breakfast in time though. Left the Refuge at 8.15, after Jenny made several attempts to go to the loo, only to be disturbed each time by impatient people. Grrrr.

Richard has mislaid a walking pole, but apart from that all is well. Weather still misty but at least it isn't raining.


Slight change of plan to the original route down the mule track as we are led (by Martin) down a more challenging (for me, Jenny) path down.


Quite dramatic scenery around us: very atmospheric with all the mist and cloud.


Meet some mules and a lovely horse on the way down.


Then it's into quite thick cloud and a rather slippery path. Nobody falls over though.


Eventually we rejoin the mule track and continue along the originally planned route which includes hot chocolate and coffees at Les Fontanettes Refuge, where we join the GR55 route.


We then wend our way down to Pralognan, which is rather sweet - although the piped soft rock music (Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody) in the village square is a little strange.


Check in to Epecia Lodge Hotel and quickly freshen up before we head back into the village for lunch. We find a charming little restaurant with good food - Sue and Jenny have goat's cheese salad, Martin a 'walkers plate' (meat, not the best choice), Andrew an omelette, and Richard became almost ecstatic when his dish of eggs, bacon and potatoes arrived. As it was our day off we succumbed to alcohol - beer, kirsche and cider (not all at once).

Some postcard buying and exploring the village before we go back to the hotel to rest - except mountain goat Sue who sprints up to the waterfall to check out a Via Ferrata route.


All meet again at 6.30 to find somewhere for a drink and to eat.

An Regal Savoyard restaurant has 'Savoire' dishes so we choose this one. We are all quite pleased with our choices except 'poor Sue' whose choice of 'tête de veaux' really does turn out to be the head of a cow (in globby lumps). Luckily Jenny's dish of salmon tartlette is so huge she shares it with Sue. Two bottles of red Savoire wine later and we are all ready to retire to our comfy hotel.


Last night's refuge - a big one, but we had a crowded room with several 'poncho' clad groups drying out. The French don't seem to recognise that it rains here, and they use €5 ponchos.

The breakfast was poor - just a bit of dried bread and jam, and coffee from a poorly attended machine.

En route to Pralognan, our route is definitely better than GR55. We meet a man from Liverpool, that's all, who has extended a business trip to Courcheval.

The Table d'Orientation above Pralognan gives fine views despite the cloud, and an ibex sculpture stands over the northern end of the village.


[Stats: leave 8.15; 10.30 to 11.10 - coffee at Fontanettes; 11.40 Pralognan = 2 hours 45 mins walking, 7.0 km with 50 metres ascent.]

(Anquet: 7 km, 125 m ascent)


Note: This entry follows some posted back in April. Given my current ‘light exercise following hernia operation’ regime, it seems appropriate, rather than offer ‘heatwave on the canal’ postings, to ‘fill in’ with the rest of the Vanoise postings. To see all the postings from this trip, click here. Enjoy!