Landry to the Refuge Entre le lac

Yesterday afternoon there was a spectacular storm that went in into the evening. For some reason we use the French word orage for this kind of violent mountain storm- perhaps to distinguish it from anything prosaically British. Luckily we were in the safety of the campsite.

Another orage was forecast for this afternoon, so we were keen to get away as soon as possible in the morning. It was a shame to leave Camping l’Eden de la Vanoise, but it was good to be going again.

Today was to take us up a side valley and back into the mountains. Having stayed at the campsite before, we had driven up this valley a few times, but for very obvious reasons it had never occurred to us to walk up it.

The GR5 in the first part of the day had been re-routed from what the map and guidebook described. But it was well provided with the red and white markers that are a feature of GR routes. The new route avoided the road by means of a long steep ascent up the side of valley and then a traverse to Peisey-Nancroix, an attractive mountain village. The re-route had the advantage of avoiding the road, but the disadvantage of being steep and I think it was considerably longer than the old route up the centre of the valley, reminding us of the pleasures of not walking.

After about 4 hours we reached the car park at the end of the road, from where nearly everybody else, including us in previous years, starts their walks. We still had 2 3/4 hours uphill to reach the refuge. Now above the trees a whole new range of mountains opened up in front of us as we climbed the steep rocky path. The day, having been quite fresh early on was getting hotter and very humid.

We were hurrying to avoid getting caught in the orage. I admit, though, to the untrained eye it might not have looked like we were hurrying. The untrained eye would have seen 3 people plodding incredibly slowly, having climbed 5000 feet or so.

A rough bouldery path eventually brought us to a small lake, with the refuge at the far end of it. It seems to be one of the more basic ones we have stayed in with one big dormitory and a stony path up to toilets which are the old fashioned hole in the ground variety.

The promised orage amounted to a single rumble of thunder and a couple of minutes of very light drizzle. I am writing this in warm sunshine, but won’t be able to publish it until tomorrow.

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