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Gabriel.L created a new track, Habert de Bovinant - 8.9 mi 
June 04, 2017

Habert de Bovinant

8.9 mi 

This was our second hike (and first overnight) in the massif of Chartreuse (French pre-Alps near Grenoble). The beginning of the route passes alongside the monastery of the original order of the Chartreuse monks, which dates back to the 11th century. These same monks create the famous liquor "Chartreuse," which is made from 130 different plants!

Our original plan was to hike to the summit of the Grand Som before spending the night near the Habert de Bovinant (a simple stone hut at 5,400'), but due partly to a late start and leisurely pace, and partly to the foggy conditions (at times the visibility was less than 10 yards), we ended up skipping the loop that leads to the summit and instead hunkering down for the night a few hours early. That said, we met a wonderful French couple, built a fire with them and chatted through the evening. They shared the delicious food and beverages that apparently constitute a French mountain meal.

Comparison of our respective dinners:

Ours - Thai soup (powdered) followed by Thai chicken with rice (freezdried) and topped off with sweet and salty trail mix - ours was tasty and lightweight, but paled in comparison with the French version.

Theirs - Before building the fire they ate brioche with praliné (local speciality) and dark chocolate with sesame. This was paired with a homemade aperitif infused with a rare mountain flower, which had been plucked by hand in a secret spot high on a cliff by our new French friend. Once the fire was going they moved on to saussison sec (like a delicious French salami), two different, hard cheeses and local bread. Their actual dinner consisted of fresh mini ravioli in a rich cheese sauce (of course made by melting a real hunk of local cheese). This looked so good, I was willing to try it even after brushing my teeth and it was so tasty I recommended lenna do the same. She "tried" it more than once.

The next morning, after some intermittent rain, the fog cleared a bit and we were able to see some of our surroundings (see photos). We could have finished the summit loop after breakfast, but we had a three-hour drive to Aix-en-Provence ahead of us and the descent to the car would also take a couple of hours.

Needless to say, we plan on making it to the top of the Grand Som on another trip to the area when the weather conditions are more conducive to the steep alpine trails. Low visibility and wet/slippery limestone is not ideal for such a demanding ascent...

Enjoy the photos and come visit us in Lyon to see these landscapes and views in person!

Gros bisous,
Gabriel & Lenna

Gabriel.L created a new track, Sentier du Facteur, France - 5.4 mi 
April 19, 2017

Sentier du Facteur, France

5.4 mi 

This morning, Lenna and I got up early to spend the day in the French Alps!

Since we don't have a car (yet), we started by meeting our ride-share driver at 8am. Once the other passengers arrived, we spent the 80-minute drive from Lyon to Grenoble discussing our move to Lyon, our driver's university studies and the presidential elections (ours - recent, and theirs - upcoming). We warned them not to underestimate their version of Trump (Marine Le Pen) and got their thoughts on our new president and their preferred candidate for president.

From Grenoble we took a city bus 30 minutes to the town of Crolles, a bustling industrial park and picturesque residential area at the foot of the Massif de Chartreuse. Chartreuse is technically part of the Préalpes and not the French Alps proper, but it was breathtaking!

After a steep but casual hike past gorgeous limestone cliffs, we ended up in the tiny town of Saint Pancrasse and had lunch in its only cafe. After a scrumptious meal we were treated to coffees and conversation with the owner who offered her advice on the ins and outs of dealing with French bureaucracy.

We returned the way we came, quickly descending the Sentier du Facteur (the Postman's Trail), immediately caught the bus back to Grenoble and then took a second bus back to Lyon. All in all it was a very full day!

Please enjoy the photos from the hike!

February 15, 2017

Cold Spring - Middle Fork to E. Camino Cielo

4.1 mi 

This was a great hike! Neither my wife nor I had done it before, so it was particularly fun!

It is referred to as Cold Spring Trail - Middle Fork on HikeLosPadres.com.

The hike starts at the Cold Spring Trailhead at E. Mountain Drive and quickly crosses the creek to head up the West Fork of Cold Spring Trail. Take the cutoff to the right to Tangerine Falls and shortly thereafter, look for a sharp cutoff to the left (heading straight on the Tangerine Falls Trail takes you to the base of the 100' falls and taking this trail to the left takes you above the falls to views, deep pools, the remnants of an old homestead and best of all, seclusion! (We were on the trail for nearly 5 hours and didn't see a single person.) At around 1.9 miles notice a steep trail up to your right, you will come back here if you wish to finish the trail at E. Camino Cielo. To see the remains of the old homestead stay left on the main trail and follow it for another .5 miles or so to the the old root celler from the Romero homestead. Apparently there is some old farm equipment to be found, but we didn't see it. If you return to the steep trail off to the right at mile 1.9 you will have about 2 miles of steep climbing with very few switchbacks to E. Camino Cielo via a elatively new, but good trail. The trail passes over a knoll and follows a ridge up the E. Camino Cielo, so you will need to have left a second car there or get someone to pick you up.