Day 2: St Gingolph - d'Abondance.

Boat to St Gingolf Today was the real first stage of GR5.  It is Monday and the shops are open again in Switzerland.  I bought my walking poles and although it held me in Montreux into the late morning this proved to be the right decision.

I took a boat from Montreux to St Gingolph and disembarked in St Gingloph at 11:40. 

Immediately crossed over into France and started the first col (mountain pass) ascent. 

Day 2 - GR5 - First Sign Very soon got into the clouds and climbed all the way to the col in drizzling rain.  Very poor visibility.  Some trouble with finding trail markers.  The col was at about 2000 m - well above the tree line.  Right after the col the rain stopped but descent was very difficult - a lot of sliding on clay mud.  Without the poles I would be in a deep trouble. 

The second col wasn't as difficult, especially with no rain.  Completed the first stage in 6 hours.  The book time for this stage is 7 hours 30 minutes.  Not bad for the first mountain stage.

Day 2 - La Chappelle D'Abondance I am staying in the village of La Chapelle d'Abondance.  It is a small but busy local winter/summer resort.  I wish I knew more of basic French.  So far it is a challenge to do essential things here like shopping, hotel check-in/check-out, breakfast or asking for directions.  But I am getting better.  Tomorrow GR5 sneaks back into Switzerland for one day.