Alpine Hiking Adventure GR5 Day 5 - Col de Chesery to Samoens

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Thursday 28 July 2016

Alpine Hiking Adventure GR5 Day 5 - Col de Chesery to Samoens

I've just been in a jacuzzi! I know, I can barely believe it myself. A couple of hours ago I was feeling hot, dazed and confused descending a seemingly never ending slope to the town of Samoens. Now I'm enjoying an outdoor whirlpool beneath the open Alpine air overlooking mountains. What a day of contrasts.

The day started at 1995m packing up our tent in the wet, misty air. I'd had to spend an hour outside from 2-3 am irrigating sat on a rock, but at least the stars and moon had been beautiful and the air still.

Our route had taken us into Switzerland for a time, giving us glimpses of snow capped peaks which stirred us both for what's ahead, then back into France. A long day covering 25km in total with 650m of uphill and 1700m of down which had punished our legs, especially as it got so hot as we descended. We'd also passed over a new high altitude at 2099m. We didn't know where we'd stay in town, just that we'd like a room if not too expensive and some fresh food.

In the past we had avoided rooms for 2 reasons. For me it was because I felt I had to thru-hike as 'purist' as possible. I wanted to be 100% self sufficient. The more physically demanding the more authentic the experience. Maybe it arose from my childhood incontinence and need to achieve. For Esther it was due to fears about spending money, the belief that hiking 'should' be a budget option. Now we are learning the importance of balance.

For instance, the amazing experiences and lessons we are learning on our hike so far have been enabled because we have rested when we needed to, moving out of pure survival mode. Likewise, we are coming to see that just because we are hiking doesn't mean the services offered en route should free or inaccessible to us if we are to enjoy the long term trip. The fact is we enjoy the nights in the tent and enjoy the long days walk instead of just pushing through them because of the nights in a bed. All we can do is take it a day at a time and just see what is available and balance it with what we need. All we have really done is start to loosen the imagined and unnecessary constraints we had placed on ourselves so we can fully enjoy and thrive in this experience.

The fact that we somehow found a room that, although a little higher than we like to spend, offered us a 20% walk in discount, has a pool and a hot tub and is directly opposite a organic grocery is the icing on the cake. We can reset, wash and feel re-energised for what is to come.

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