Hiking the GR5 from St Gingolph to Menton

15 days. 600 kilometres. A hike across the Alps from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean in July 2012.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 14 - La Madone de Fenestre to Refuge des Merveilles

Distance: 14km, Ascent: 1360m, Descent: 1150m, Time: 6h30m
GR5 - Day 14

Day 14 was really just a short half-day to get to Refuge des Merveilles to be in position to reach the Med at Menton the following day. The hiking was fantastically scenic, although it did get horribly mobbed the closer I got to Vallee des Merveilles.

Given that I didn't need to make an early start, I left La Madone de Fenestre at 6:56am, my latest start on the whole trip.  The hiking was high quality over Pas du Mont Colomb, past Refuge de Nice, and then over the last 2 high passes Baisse du Basto 2693m and Baisse de Vlmasque 2549m.

I reached Refuge des Merveilles by 1:30pm, and so had a very long afternoon hanging around, with not much to do apart from hanging up my washing. The evening was crazy, the place crowded to the gunnels. The evening meal was arranged in 2 sittings, due to the overcrowding. Luckily I was on the first sitting, but there was barely enough food to go around. I had my first sociable evening since Larche, and again my dining companions were Dutch. In fact I don't remember meeting any Brits on the trip.

After the meal we ordered more coffee and chocolate, and carried on chatting outside for a while before retiring upstairs to the completely crammed dormitory. I checked, double-checked and re-checked that I had everything packed and ready for a quick and silent 5am departure the next morning.

View GR5 - Stage 14 in a larger map

Stage 14 - Madone de Fenetre to Refuge des Merveilles

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