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Vosges - Day 3 : Snow

I woke up alone in a pile of snow in the middle of nowhere.

winter hike in france
winter hike in france
winter hike in france
winter hike in france

The view was beautiful and it was nice to wake up alone in nature. This was one of the reasons why I had decided to go on a winter hike. I tried packing everything on top of my bivy bag so as to not lose anything. I discovered my high leader shoes had frozen rock solid. It took over an hour to get them on and even then it hurt just wearing them. 

 

I tried to make soup for breakfast as I hadn't eaten sufficiently during the previous days. Unfortunately, the matches I had kept in my waterproof jacket had gotten wet, likely from sweating. I had also packed a magnesium stick but  couldn't find it anywhere. I figured it had gotten lost when the custom officers went through my luggage. I ate some granola bars instead. Despite the lower elevation there was still a lot of snow and ice which made walking difficult. I  found a few rivers to refill my water bottles and managed to call home.

walking in the vosges
walking in the vosges
walking in the vosges
frozen river
sunrise in a forest
frozen river
frozen river

After a long walk I reached a larger road near a reservoir.

waking in the vosges
vosges
frozen lake
frozen lake
PC209095.jpg

started to get pretty hungry and thirsty, and in hindsight should have taken a break. The route went steep uphill. I came across some of the open, snow covered places I would encounter more later. The snow was super fine which made it difficult to walk through, especially uphill. I felt really warm but it wasn't easy taking off clothes in the deep snow. I think the last 500 meters took me over an hour. When I reached the summit of the hill I saw a few people cross country skiing, besides a few cars those were the only ones I had seen the entire day.

Shortly after it already started getting dark and the climbing less steep, which made me feel cold as my clothes were damp from sweating. After a few hundred meters I started to feel nauseous, likely due to a combination of not eating and drinking enough, the cold, and the difficulty of ploughing through the snow for hours. Most of the food I carried required cooking, which I couldn't do because of my wet matches and lost magnesium stick. Instead I ate some dry granola. I felt tired, thirsty, hungry, and sweaty. I was only half a kilometer away from a road, but this was still one the most remote part of my hike. Because of the cold I considered using my heat blanket. Then I remembered. That's where I had stored my magnesium stick! 

There was no good camping spot anywhere, so I pitched my bivy bag on the trail and melted some snow. That took a lot longer than I expected. Next I wanted to make some macaroni, but discovered the 'mix for macaroni' I had brought was only mix for sauce. I also carried pancake mix, however, that would take a long time to make in the cold. Instead, I mixed some granola with water and apple sauce powder. It tasted horrible, I think the snow contained a lot of pollen from the surrounding pine trees, but at least I had something warm to eat. 

A lot less hungry and tired I went to bed, I planned to take some rest and reconsider my hiking plans the next day.