Col de Salenton sits at about 8300 ft and yesterday, we started from Le Buet train station. An hour train ride from Les Houches and we took the first train on schedule that morning. It was already a warm-day when we started climbing towards the beautiful Gorges du Bernard, raging waterfall. It was still closed however, the very nice clean toilet was open so we got to use it before climbing to Refuge de Bernard. There are no lifts around this area and once you are on top of Col de Salenton, you have a choice to continuing towards Servoz which was about 12 miles down the other side of the valley or head back to Le Buet.
The weather was fantastic and there was this nice breeze on the way up the Col. It made the climb much more nicer. The waterfalls, the wild flowers, donkeys, Ibis and wild berries. The climb to Refuge Bernard was not very hard at all. I took my poles with me and used it all the way up to the Col. It’s been a while and the sections were not too steep needing poles but it did help a bit. I just wanted to work on my core and pull downs with the poles – very effective.
We reached Refuge Bernard and re-fueled. It’s a really nice location to spend the night and there is an option to climb Buet which is a tough climb I read. We have not done it and hope to get a chance to do it this summer. We look back at the valley we climbed from the refuge and it’s just an amazing place to be!
We didn’t get lost this time after the refuge thanks to all the hikers on the trails so we kinda found the trail easily. We always lose the trail from the refuge when we do this route.
The Col was windy but there is a small area on top that some shelter so we had lunch there and enjoyed the views!
The wind was not cold at all and it felt good. It was about 5 miles from Le Buet to Col de Salenton. It’s another 12 miles to Servoz and it was going to be a long day. Days like this, it’s not hard to stay out long on the mountains.
We ran down the steep section of the back side of the Col and saw a few hikers coming up. We got to the mellow section of the gully and followed the lower trails towards Moede, an old shack.
Waterfalls everywhere around us from the melting snow. It’s raging on some and some just running down through the rocks. We stopped at one and refilled. We always get water from a spring source in the mountains however we have to see if there are herds of cows or sheeps or goats around. Those are the water source that one has to stay away from. It’s pretty obvious and the water is always so refreshing to drink!
The last 6 miles was more of a finishing stretch and we saw a traffic jam of cheese cows on the trail head. That was funny. They loved scratching their heads on the trail post sign. We watched them until they finally moved so we can exit the trails. There was cow barriers and there was only one entry and exit.
My feet started aching, more on my pinky toes on both feet. I wanted to wear my favorite shoes and it looks like it’s time to retire them. It’s getting really worn out. We both only have 2 shoes and both are for trail running, running, gym, walking, cycling…everything. That’s all we can pack! It was really hard to run and I was pretty bummed about it. It ended up being a sufferfest toward the last 4 miles towards Servoz as we hiked down this steep section as it is the most direct way to town. Luckily, we made it even though I almost cried it hurt like shit. It was also 4 minutes before the train showed up when we got to the train station!
We got home so tired and my feet just screamed. On the other hand, it’s a temporary pain and the whole time being out in the mountains was all worth it! Dinner was a recipe I always wanted to try out and it’s a Nepali-Newari snack called Bara. It’s a 100% lentil pancake and topped with an egg. We enjoyed it with some Nepali achar (chutney) sauce used for momos. It’s very delicious and simple to make!
A great way to end the day. We both crashed in bed right after dinner…