On our first full day in Feissons-sur-Salins, we decided to do a warm-up hike before our two-day-one-night trekking trip in two days’ time. The plan was to explore the mountains just behind our chalet which would save us from driving to trailheads.
We planned to do a shortish easy hike which would lead us towards Mont Jovet (altitude 2558m), located 10km away from our chalet. We were supposed to turn back before reaching the peak — totalling 10km to 15km of hiking, depending on how we felt. The main objectives were to stretch our legs and also give Silviu an opportunity to try out his new Salomon hiking shoes.
The route included a stop at La Croix de Feissons (The Cross of Feissons), a panoramic viewpoint of the surrounding mountains, which was one kilometre away from the chalet. The short hike to La Croix de Feissons was deceptively easy—the 150m elevation gain in one kilometre already sent my heart rate racing by the time we reached the viewpoint. The spot seemed to be a favourite haunt for families. We saw a few families with young children gathering at the viewpoint during our few minutes of stay.
We hardly met anyone in the next five kilometres as we steadily climbed up by another 600m on well-maintained footpaths. We passed through a couple of forests along the way but for the most part of the time, we were out in the open with unblocked views of mountain ranges.
Our initial plan was to snack on a cereal bar each and return to the chalet using another route. Seeing that we were moving faster than expected and that we felt energized enough after the quick snack, we decided to push a little more towards Mont Jovet.
Time passed and we soon realized that we were actually quite near Refuge du Mont Jovet, just 30 minutes away from the peak of Mont Jovet. We could either turn back and finish the remaining cereal bars (one bar each) or push on and hope that that the restaurant at the Refuge was open. With only a couple of kilometres to go, we decided to push on. The rest of the way was not difficult, but a normally simple hike became laborious when it was done on a half-empty stomach. We staved off finishing the cereal bars as we were looking forward to a more substantial meal at the Refuge.
Luck was on our side. From less than a kilometre away from the Refuge, we saw a handful of cars parked around the Refuge. Parked cars meant there had to be food! As we drew nearer, we saw 4 or 5 groups of guests dining on the terrace. Everyone looked carefree — savouring their meals, chatting merrily with their friends and families, enjoying the great outdoors and the nice summer weather.
Our delight in finding the restaurant still open was slightly blemished by the fact that the restaurant accepted only cash. With only 35€ between the two of us, we had to put our heads together to devise the best way to satisfy two objectives: pamper our palates while maximizing the calories intake. After some serious accounting, we came up with our lunch menu: two cans of Coca-Cola (3€x2), a main dish of “Repas de Jovet” comprising of an omelet, some lettuce, one big boiled potato, two slices of ham and some Tome de Savoie cheese (18€), and a blueberry tart (6.5€) for dessert. A total of 30.50€ with 4.5€ to spare. We would have top up the meal with 2 cups of expresso (2€ each) if we were certain that our calculation was correct. After a strenuous workout, the simple local fare (tad expensive) tasted scrumptious. Refreshing mountain air, great views, pleasant weather, holiday mood and of course, the slight adrenaline rush from the tiniest possibility of not being able to pay for the meal, stimulated our appetite.
It was fortunate that we did not have to resort to eating the cereal bars, which we would definitely have to if the restaurant was not open. The return route that we chose to take from the Refuge de Jovet was actually longer than the way we came from and slightly more technical. It took us three hours to hike back to our chalet. A cereal bar would definitely not hold us out for the entire trip back.
A simple, short warm-up hike turned into a 24km, six-and-a-half-hour hike (excluding lunch time).