Time: 7.25h. Up: 780m. Down: 1570m.
Distance: 18km. Difficulty: medium.

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Stage 46: Barme (1492m) to Samoëns (702m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

25 stages ago you spent your first night in Switzerland, in Sargans; today you leave it behind... but not for ever. No-one who hikes the Swiss Alps is able to avoid falling under their spell: I’m sure you will be back. But the H2H goes on and therefore, as faithful H2H hikers, so must you. Mid-morning at the Col de Coux, after one last look back, you will cross into France.

Your goal for the day is the lovely resort town of Samoëns, home to the remarkable Jaysinia Alpine Botanical Garden, given to the village by Marie-Luise Jay, co-founder of La Samaritaine... one of the largest department stores in Paris.

It turns out that in her youth she was a shepherdess in Samoëns and many years later she created the garden on the hillside where she used to sit while watching her sheep. There are 92 stages on the H2H and for each there is a fascinating story....

One other thing: today is Half-way Day!!  As of this evening you will have completed 46 stages, with 46 stages yet to do.  Time for a little celebration... but don't overdo it unless you are planning to take a day off to recover: the next stage, to the Refuge de Moëde-Anterne, is not one that you will enjoy with a hangover!

So, how will you feel tonight?  Exhilarated?  Downcast by the prospect of still having half of the H2H to go?  Or flatly unemotional... too worn down to react or care?  The psychological effects of the H2H upon you will be fascinating... but, especially when times are hard, if you want to be able to remember your feelings afterwards you'll have to keep a journal, for unaided memory gilds the past and suffering is soon forgotten.

Today's hike follows the same trails as the Via Alpina except for the section between Col de la Golèse and Les Allemands. Furthermore, from the Col de Coux onwards the route is identical with the GR5 (see below). Take the path to the north from Barme across the stream and then up to the top of the ridge. There turn left and head west to the Col de Coux (1921m): welcome to France. On the far side of the saddle, the right-hand path would take you to the Refuge des Mines d'Or (relevant if you weren't able to stay the night in Barme). You take the left-hand path around and down to the southwest which, after a couple of kilometers, passes by the side-trail descending to the Refuge le Chardonnière (same comment), before climbing once more to the Col de la Golèse (1660m). From here you descend, at first along a trail and then later along a forest road, through the hamlet of Les Allemands (1030m) to Samoëns.

Concerning the GR5: from the Col de Coux onwards today, and then intermittently until the Alpes Maritimes, the path of the H2H is the same as the French long-distance hiking route GR5 (Grande Randonnée #5). This is useful, because the GR5 is well sign-posted, but also a potential source of problems, because the H2H does not always follow the route of the GR5. When the H2H and the GR5 are identical I'll make sure to note this in the route description. You can find more information about the GR5 here and about European long distance trails in general here.

Alternatives: none that will shorten the day. If the weather is bad, take a rest day.
Maps: ST-272T St. Maurice, IGN-3530ET Samoëns.

The House to House blog... stage 46.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: picnic unless you want to detour to the Refuge le Chardonnière (1346m -- roundtrip from the H2H path 20 min, 1km, +/-60m) around 3 hours after you start.
Dinner and overnight: there are many restaurants and places to stay in Samoëns (for a complete list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Barme: walk down and to the east to Champéry (1055m -- 1.5h, -440m, 5km) where there is a railway station (for train schedule information, see the SBB).
Samoëns: you can either take a taxi or one of the very infrequent buses 20km to Cluses, where there is a railway station (for train schedule information, see the SNCF, for buses see here under "fiches horaires"). There is a nice "how to get to Samoëns page" here.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Barme, centered on Samoëns.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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