The High Alps Are in Sight, July 3 , 2011Stage 5, D59 (Belvedere à St-Martin-Vesubie)
9.98 miles, 2,932’ up, 2,358’ down (I think the Via Alpina website lied - there was a LOT more up)
Go to this map and hover over the triangles to see where the stage we just completed is relative to the entire trail. (The stage beginning and end locations are probably backwards, as we are doing the trail in the opposite direction.)
Today was a much harder day than the trail instructions led us to believe. Started by walking on "balcony paths", which are one foot wide trails cut into the steep hillside generally following the contour lines - don't look at the view while moving, though, or you'll faaaaalllll. Then, an uphill from [heck] in the early afternoon in direct sunlight (I mean, if you can hack a trail straight up the mountain on crumbling rock, why not?!), followed by the same going down (but not as long). After that, a lovely walk along a country road into the medieval village of St.-Martin-Vesubie, past sheep farms and old vacation homes, and with views of the High Alps in the distance. What the website described as a 5-hour day took us more like 7.5 hours. The heart is doing great, but the legs are a little shaky and tired.
Looking back at Belvedere
Today is our first night at a hotel with "demi-pension". Meaning that the price includes the room, dinner and breakfast. Dinner was a 4-course yumminess -- "entree" (a puff pastry appetizer thing with olives and ham), the main dish, a cheese plate, the ice cream dessert, and then coffee. Now a good night's sleep and breakfast tomorrow, before we start heading into ski resort country.
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