DAY 13, MODANE/FOURNEAUX to DU THABOR
Ascent: 1500 m
Descent: 213 m
Distance: 13 km
Time on trail: 7:00 – 13:30
It was good that the second half of the GR5, stages 4-6, began with a shorter day. I felt weariness after hard crossing of the Vanoise. I ascended slowly towards refuge Du Thabor which lies next to Col de la Vallée Étroite (2434m). I planned to wild camp somewhere up there.
Refuge du Thabor (2502m).
I found nice grassy slopes just behind the col, some 20 minutes away frome the refuge. I couldn’t go any further down as cattle was grazing there. I called this place the Marmot Hill as it was full of holes.
Next to my tent was a good vantage point to observe the trail going further down. In the afternoon people slowly started to disappear and I was alone. I watched the clouds playing and coloring the landscape with ominous colors. It got windy and soon thick clouds crawled behind the col and hid everything. I went to sleep feeling slightly nervous.
During the night I woke up for some light flashing outside the tent and I was wondering who the heck is pointing at me with a flashlight. I opened nervously the tent door and looked outside. It was dead silent. I stared at the beautiful starry sky. But then I saw the flashing again. I looked to my right and behind the next line of mountains there was a huge lightning storm going on. I got scared as I was camping quite high, at 2400m and there was no good cover nearby except the refuge.
I stayd still staring at the flashing sky, trying to figure out where the storm is heading. There was no sound of thunder at all. In short I was able to see better the line of clouds and I decided that I have to move. I took my valuables, my Thermarest mattress and started to run. With the light of my headtorch I found back to the col in 10 minutes, turned then towards to the refuge du Thabor and moved another 10 minutes. I didn’t want to go all the way until the refuge so I sat down nearby staring at the night. After half an hour or so it seemed that the lightning storm took another direction and the night slowly calmed down. I returned back to my tent, heart still beating fast.