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Les Randonnées Pédestres: Mountain Hiking – By Valery Duval

Hi everyone!

My adventures continues in France with regular mountain hiking trips to different National Parks around the city of Chambéry. These trips are organized by the SUAPS (Service Universitaire des Activités Physiques et Sportives) every Saturday morning from 7am until 5pm. First I meet the other students near my university where we catch a coach that drives us to the National Park for the day long mountain hike.

I find it difficult sometimes to get myself out of bed on Saturday morning as the weeklong study takes its toll mentally and physically. However, when I think about the beautiful and breathtaking sights (which you will see in a moment) that I would miss out on if I did not attend the trip that is enough to get me fired up.

The trip to the National Parks takes about 2 hours in general as the coach travels through the mountain side on winding roads. This semester the SUAPS have organized a few of these mountain hikes in different places around Chambéry. They are:

Les Aillons – Pointe de la Galoppaz (1681m),

Chamonix – Les glaciers du Mont Blanc (1000m) and,

Parc national de la Vanoise (2515m)

 

Les Aillons – Pointe de la Galoppaz

The first mountain hike took us south of the Massif des Bauges which is located approximately 45 minutes of travel from Chambéry.

As you can see from the map the Pointe de la Galoppaz is situated in the southern end of the range of mountains called Massif des Bauges.

As you can see from the map the Pointe de la Galoppaz is situated in the southern end of the range of mountains called Massif des Bauges.

 

Once we arrived at the base of the mountain we travelled up the side through the forest along a steep but manageable slope until we reached a clearing with a magnificent view of Pointe de la Galoppaz. As you can see in the picture below, the weather was ideal for this trip and we got very warm quite quickly once we had reached this clearing.

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As we continued up this slope towards the summit the view around us was quite breathtaking. Looking back behind us we could see other mountains, a small village in the valley and a refuge on the side of the mountain that we had just travelled up. See if you can spot the refuge in the next picture!

 

As we continued up to the summit we encountered a few cows grazing at this high altitude as you can see in the picture below.

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As we continued up to the summit we encountered a few cows grazing at this high altitude as you can see in the picture below.

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We also came across a very green and quite friendly grasshopper who allowed me to take a very close picture of him without having to even zoom in.

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The view from that vantage point was pure magnificence!

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Equally as magnificent is this view where you can see a small town at the base of that mountain. Imagine living there and waking up every day to be greeted by a rising sun breaking through clouds atop of these massive mountains!

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The final part of the trip to the summit had us walking through a light vegetated forest. To give you an idea of the degree of slope that we had to climb to get to the summit, look at the fallen dead tree in this picture on your right hand side. You can see the actual slope of the mountain which is not too steep but it does take it out of you because it is quite a long walk t that angle before you get to a plateau.

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Finally we arrive at the summit and the view at this height is even better than in my previous pictures. Because from that height we had a 360 degrees view of the surrounding mountains, valleys, villages and even Chambéry.

Et voilà…le Sommet!

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You can spot the road through the valley from one of my previous pictures but also the refuge on the right hand side of the picture. Notice how small it is compared to the previous picture because at this point we are at the summit – Pointe de la Galoppaz.

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As you can see the extent of mountains around Chambéry but more precisely in the Rhône-Alpes region. There are mountains as far as the eyes can see and beyond that!

Time to get back down!

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You will see in the picture how far back the line of students goes. For your reference we came from the top where the cloud seems to touch the mountain top.

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We are smiling because we managed to get down the mountain without slipping and falling down. Our first randonnée in France was fantastic and from that day onwards we just could not wait for the other randonnée as planned by SUAPS. My next adventure will take me to Chamonix – Les glaciers du Mont Blanc! I am looking forward to this one as I have a desire to climb Mont Blanc before I leave this beautiful continent.

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This is it! The final picture that I took before stepping onto the coach for our travel back to Chambéry.

Most of us could not believe that we had just scaled a mountain and seen magnificent views of Rhône-Alpes. To give you an idea of where we were in this picture, spot the highest point of the mountain and that is it!

Au revoir et à Bientôt!

 

Val.

 

 

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