Testing our new tent MSR Hubba Hubba NX

 Training in Belledonne

We're back ! We spent an amazing time in France on GR 738, where we hiked in breathtaking places during 8 days. 
High peaks, lakes, clouds, thunderstorms, sun, chamois, ibex,... this high elevation path gave us everything we would have dreamed of.

Despite the fact that I had experienced some back pain early July, we  decided to give a try to this new trail and carry 4 to 5 days of food and the full material for the bivouacs. Marie-Laure was kind enough to carry a little more, and we ended up with 11 to 13 kilograms each of us.
Travelling clouds

What did we carry in our backpack?
- A tent for 2
- Our sleeping bags
- Our small sleeping pads (120cm long only)
- A sleeping bag sheet
- A 1 liter pot for cooking
- 2 mugs (1 for each)
- A stove
- 2 spoons
- A lighter
- Sandals for the evening
- A rain jacke
- A jumper for the cold evenings and a thin layer to add just in case
Marie-Laure hiking up the scree slope
- Our pocket knives
- 2 socks
- 2 underwears
- 1 t-shirt
- 1 light trouser for the evening/night
- Gloves and hat
- Maps
- Pharmacy
- Water and food
- A survival blanket
- Our e-readers :-)

The first day ended with a huge thunderstorm that lasted the whole night. We were completely wet after only 20' of rain. But we were lucky : we found a small hut where we spent the night. We were quite eager to try our new MSR tent, but not enough to set it under the rain and the hail !

The next day, the sky was clear. Our clothes were either already dry (like our trousers) or they started drying on us after a while. Marie-Laure became friend with the numerous slippery stones on the forest trail and we soon had to use our pharmacy. We then followed a crest trail that led us to an alp where a sheperdess nicely welcomed us. We spent our evening with her.

Always better with the sun
But when we woke up the next day, the clear sky had changed and we had to face a cloudy and rainy day. We hiked to the pass. After 20', my shoes transformed into swimming pools (they are not in Gore-tex : I'll definitely not use this pair in New Zealand). But our rain jackets remained useful against the deluge and we eventually made our way to a small hut where we decided to spend the night.

Keep the smile in the clouds and the rain


The next day, we had to go down in the valley so that we could meet a friend, sheperd in Chartreuse, that had its free day. After walking 25 kilometers under the rain, we made it to the valley and experienced the ecstatic pleasure of a hot shower. We spent our evening and the next day with our friends.

We had now to move on for the second part of the hike : 5 days and 4 nights in the mountains.

The weather was now better and, after a 1000 meters climb, we pitched our tent near a beautiful lake. We even took a bath in a small lake whose water wasn't too cold. While we were bathing, completely naked (we were far from the trail), we suddenly heard the sound of a small plane that was flying quite low. Seriously !!! A plane !!! Even in the mountains, one cannot take her bath peacefully...

At the hut of Sept Laux, a beautiful evening with lake view
When I woke up the next day, I was sick. We lost a day. But I was thinking : better to have a stomach problem than the back pain. So we just waited. It might happen during our trail in New Zealand as well. Being able to remain patient will be a key skill during our 3000 km hike. Let's practice !

The next 2 days, we hiked on a high trail that crosses many scenic passes. We were lucky enough to see many ibex and chamois. The game of the clouds between the high peaks was fascinating.

We had to deal with many other thunderstorms, once 7 during the same night. We can say that we are happy of our new MSR tent that kept us safe and dry inside.

The next day, we woke up and ate quite fast, but we forgot to drink. After a while, we started arguing on something stupid. But we soon stopped : we drank some water and we were already cooler. When a hiker is getting tired or nervous, the first thing to do is... drinking water. 

This trip gave us the possibility to test our hiking gear and we're globally very satisfied. Experiencing the rain and the storms convinced us to carry 2 extra pairs of socks instead of only one like we were planning. Marie-Laure won't take her hat because it's too warm for her. I discovered, on the contrary, that the hat protects my glasses from the rain and I wouldn't hike without it anymore.

I'm also relieved that my back is getting better and that I can hike while carrying some weight.

When it comes to our way of walking, it's not a surprise : we're quite slow. But at the same time, we noticed that our legs weren't painful after our hike. We can walk many days in a row without any specific problem.

When it comes to our team, we continue to learn from each other and we experienced one more time that we can rely on each other.

In September, we'll be in the Indian Himalayas.... Before that, we'll be busy preparing our travel and I'll go to the World Scout Conference in Azerbaïdjan. I hope I'll be able to hike there a little after the Conference and share with you about the mountains there.

Dear readers, do not hesitate to leave a message, I'll be happy to read you as well :).
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  1. What a great adventure, very vividly told. Good luck with the rest of the preparations!

    1. Thank you for your message Ellen :). We hope to keep you entertained for the next 8 months and share with you our adventures. Best wishes to you too !


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