Day 7: Refuge Plan de la Lai

I left Les Contamines at 7:40 after the breakfast, which was served by both hosts.  French breakfast is mostly about presentation.  The breakfast table looks like a piece of art and includes a lot of silverware.  In reality it consists of breads, butters, jams, cheeses, and coffee.  There was no cup or mug for the coffee, but a large bowl.  They told me that this is how coffee is drunk in French families.  But for me they made an exception and gave a mug.

Day 7 - In Clouds Today's hike was mostly in the clouds, but almost no rain.  I did the book suggested stage again.  Came to the Refuge Plan de la Lai before 3 pm and now it is 4 pm and I am still the only one to stay for the night.  The next refuge is in 4 hours so that would be pushing it.  And the rest is good for my knee.  Today I felt much better, despite the high col of about 2500 m.

At some point the trail was going right on the edge of a huge mountain ridge. Both sides go down steeply for hundreds of meters.  On one side which had some grass there were sheep grazing.  I had an encounter with the shepherd dog on that edge of the ridge.  The huge dog was standing on the trail and then started to walk towards me, sniffed me and let me pass through.  Several minutes later I felt something behind me.  That huge dog came back and was following me with his head just inches behind me.  He went back to his sheep when the trail started to go down on the other side of the ridge.

Day - 7 Refuge Plan de la Lai I am staying in a room with four French ultra trail runners and have shared dinner with them.  Actually three of them are French and a female runner is from Geneva, Switzerland. I tried my pronunciation of St Gingolph – the town where I started my hike – with her and she got it right away. They are practicing for the Tour de Mont Blanc ultra marathon.  It took me 11 days to hike that route 2 years ago and the best runner's result is 22 hours.  One guy from this group wants to run it under 24 hours this year.  They ran today over 30 km of high mountain trails.  Tomorrow they plan to run over 80 km starting at 5 am and ending in Italy around midnight.  Over the last col they will run in the dark using head mounted torches.  It is 9 pm now and everybody is in bed.