Autumn colours and deserted pastures, September and October are conducive to walking. I decided to invite my friend Jo along and together we set off for an early morning hike.
At 4:55, after a coffee, we left the village accompanied by the cat, Patapouf, who followed us some time before disappearing into the woods. We headed up a steep path in the dark, torches on our heads, passing by Les Tappes and towards Le Signal where we stopped for a bite to eat and a drink. From here the ground was flatter as we headed towards the Col Joly before dawn.
Here, on the border of the Savoie and Haute-Savoie, the morning mist had cleared. Delighted, we changed into some warmer clothes and continued upwards towards the Col de la Fenêtre. We left the wide path to follow a narrow but easy trail along the side of the slope where we stopped to nibble on some wild blueberries. We reached our destination as the sun rose, casting a ray of light on the pastures below. A magical moment!
We walked back down via La Balme in the morning chill. Here the path runs along a steep scree and towards a small plateau with two solitary houses. We continued along an easy path above the Bon Nant river to Notre Dame de la Gorge and back towards Jo’s house along the edge of the Pontet lake. I was looking forward to getting back by now.
We arrived home at 10.40 am after a little more than 5 hours (without counting stops) and 1100 metres of positive ascent. We came across no difficulties along the way and the itinerary was well signposted on both sides of the mountain pass.
A week later the pass was inaccessible, hidden under an early blanket of snow!