July 5—Day 18: La Chapelle d’Abondance
Posting this out of order from the others since signal is rare. I’ve reached the Alps! And they’re absolutely incredible. On Sunday I arrived in Nyon, a beautiful town that felt almost Mediterranean. I then took a ferry from Lausanne to Thonon-Les-Bains and hiked a little ways into the forest. Yesterday was a big day, some 28km, with several big climbs and descents, three summits and four passes in all. Today has been a bit easier, and I’m ahead of schedule which is great. The trail here is way more rugged, and the climbs and descents are harder than anything I’ve faced before. It’s a truly spectacular place. I camped last night on the edge of a small lake, with a peak reflecting in the water and the light fading into sunset. From the trail there are passing views to Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in Europe, and to countless other peaks. Sometimes I get a view back across the beautifully blue Lac Lemon.
The French holidays have started and I’m passing through some popular hiking trails, so I’ve been seeing more people than before. I walked for a week with two guys I met, but they had a faster pace and I’m on my own again for now. I’ve come to really enjoy hiking alone: the freedom and quiet and connection to the trail. An incredible experience.
I’ve queued up some posts and will try to get things caught up as I’m able.