Posted by: Richard | June 18, 2009

Day 5: To Samoens

June 14: Well, we were up early and eager to get out of the refuge. While everybody was nice, it seemed a bit of a madhouse and was just a bit too unique for our liking.  We quickly gained the Col de Chesery, with both of us feeling GREAT!!!  We went past the closed Refuge de Chesery and a lovely high alpine lake.  The views were spectacular and I cannot stress how good the two of us felt.

We had been going for 5.5 hours, up and down mountains when I noticed Lynn was flagging. Looking back, I sensed that Lynn might fall down. I quickly stopped and gave Lynn some peanuts.  She confided that she thought she was going to faint.  Guess what, we had hit the wall again.  We had another 15 minutes to our last col (col de Golese), where a refuge was to be.  We got to the col, but the refuge was not technically open (the owners were airing it out).  I asked if they would sell us some cold drinks, seeing Lynn, they said Yes.  Lynn quickly downed 1.5 cans of Orangina and a can of Coke.  I got a filled water bottle (not only were we out of food, but we were also out of water on this 30 degree day).  After a long chat, where the refuge owner told me that he knew people that could cover the 750km’s of the GR5 in 17 days, we departed for a 1,000m descent into Samoens.

This was tough, our bodies were exhausted, it was extremely hot and we were left with almost no food and limited water.  30 minutes into the downhill, I got a feeling like I had just had 4 pints of beer.  This happened in about 12 seconds and I thought “this is an interesting feeling”.  I walked for about 20 seconds before some part of my brain said “if you don’t stop and eat, you’ll end up lying on the ground”.  I quickly stopped, pulled out all the food and drink that remained (some very old cheese and peanut butter) and rammed them into my system while drinking our last 1L of water.

This helped, but Lynn at this point was doing very poorly.  We stumbled down another 40 minutes, reaching a little hamlet called Les Allemandes.  A lovely water fountain had us drink to our hearts content, but there still remained over an hour of downhill.  Lynn had almost gone catatonic, not really talking and a bit out of it.  My feet were sore, and developing serious blisters.

We repaired my feet and then started downhill.  We stumbled down, in pain, finally reaching Samoens as a rain started.  My impression of the town would that it would be like Chamonix or Chapelle.  It was like neither.  It was a big town, but we couldn’t find a hotel.  It was raining, our feet killed, we were exhausted and it looked like there were no open hotels in the city.  Finally, a local butcher said somebody up in the hills could take us for the night.  I didn’t relish heading back uphill, and asked another local, who said that there was one open hotel just down the road.  We checked into hotel Gai Soleil, and were in heaven. 

We were dead tired.  I got into the shower, turned it on and lay on the ground with the shower head beating down on me, too tired to move.  I was interrupted and told to move, as Lynn wanted to do what I was doing. 

After a long time we hobbled into town, our feet covered in blisters and cuts, our bones and muscles cramped and angry with us.  We shuffled to the pizza place, ate some marginal pizza and then shuffled back.  We knew that we were not going to be able to walk the next day…

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