Day 9: Another Refuge

I was out of the gite d’etape at 6:42 and reached the first refuge which last night I considered as an option to stay.  Two and a half hours of rugged climb.  Good decision on my part to get back to the gite d’etape. 

The first col was the highest so far then the drop to the valley and another col which was even higher.  I took a high variant of the route - GR55.  It goes through the Vanois National Park. The mountains are covered with snow and there are glaciers.  Needed to cross several patches of snow today.  

I am staying in a privately run refuge 30 minutes off route.  Hosts do not understand English at all.  That is fun.  At the dinner I identified two English speakers who were both Dutch.  One is from Amsterdam and walks the GR5.  The other owns a property nearby and likes to hike around.  He works for some US-Dutch energy company which allows him to telecommute from the French Alps - what a deal.  He has to fly to Chicago every month though.