Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Start: Les Contamines, Chalet CAF
End: Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme
Elevation: 4749′ gain, 552′ descent
Stage: part of Stage 2
This morning, we got up at 6am, had breakfast at 6:30am, and were on trail by 7am. The first hour or so of the morning were mostly flat and walking on a single track road.
We stopped for a quick morning bathroom break around the local ski area (which offered biathlon training), and had our first encounter (though not our last) with squat toilets.
We passed by a multisport camp and a pilgrimage chapel, and then started climbing. We passed by two refuges and some snow fields on our way up towards Col du Bonhomme.
At the Col, there were beautiful views of the Val Montjoie to the north. As we hiked upwards towards the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, there were views of blue-green Lac de Roselend and Lac de la Gittaz.
From Col de la Croix, it was only 5 minutes to the Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme.
The refuge is a true mountain hut, rather like a grown-up version of the huts in the Whites – helicopters fly in supplies at the start of the season, and then each day, someone hikes to town to bring down trash and bring back supplies.
I arrived at 12:30pm and my partner arrived at 2pm. Because I reserved our bunks early (like late December), we were placed in a 4-person bunk room. Our neighbors aren’t here yet, and it’s been gloriously quiet in our room. The refuge can hold 113 people; I don’t think we’re full tonight, but there are still a LOT of people running around here.