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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Refuge Rosuel & Col de la Seigne, French Alps – July 15-16, 2012

As hiking is the name of the game for us here, the next few posts will be primarily hiking related.  How could I possibly pass up writing about standing with one foot in Italy and one in France?!

For our prelude to the Hike to Italy (getting the legs going again after multiple days of sitting in a car) we opted for a short three miles up around the Refuge Rosuel.  We likely would have gone farther, but the trail continues into the Vanoise National Park where dogs are not allowed.  So we enjoyed our short hike and the awesome scenery while dreaming about what lay just over the pass in the National Park. 

Incidentally, the Refuge Rosuel looked to be one of the best we have seen.  Have I mentioned the Refuges here yet?  If not, a short note:  They are hosted bunk-houses (although some of them, like Rosuel, seem to have actual rooms) that you can stay in overnight, blankets and sheets included.  They all offer food and drink (often Leffe!) and are set in awe-inspiring locations making them an excellent and affordable way to see the mountains.  (Many hikers plan a route from Refuge to Refuge instead of carrying a tent and sleeping bag.)

After our warm-up hike we were ready to tackle the much longer Hike to Italy; we headed up the Valley of the Glaciers to the Col de la Seigne where you can stand with one foot in Italy and one in France while gazing at Mount Blanc.   It was a long four miles up, but well worth it.  My vote goes to France for the best views back down into the valleys, although Mount Blanc, with its brooding chunk of glacier, is quite impressive.

As for The Noses, they have discovered the sharp chirp of the Marmotte; when it sounds, they bound across the mountainsides and stick their noses as far down the holes as they possibly can.  Rosco always keeps one eye on us and finds his way back but River is 100% engrossed in the Marmotte Fiesta and we often have to meet her halfway.  As most of you know, River would gladly go home with any human; never having met one she didn’t adore (and vice versa.)  Thus, I worry about losing her.  On the other hand, Rosco is sure to come back to us as his view on humans is, “Better the devil you know.”