Our hiking day typically started with an early breakfast (usually around 7:00 AM) followed by a trip to the lunch spread where we picked our snack and lunch food for the day. Danny and Julien did a nice job selecting local fresh food and we never had problems sticking to our pescatarian diet.
Day 4: Vallée des Glaciers to Courmayeur
Day 4 started with a van ride to the tiny Ville des Glaciers up the Vallée des Glaciers which eliminated a ~2 mile road walk.
Julien led us from the van to a small farm that makes Beaufort cheese. Beaufort is “produced in the Savoie region of France. The cheese is prepared using 11 liters (2.9 U.S. gal) of milk for every 1 kg (2.2 lb) of cheese desired. The milk used in one variety comes from the Tarine or Abondance cows that graze in the Alps.” And it tastes really good. The ~80 lb cheese wheels are wiped with brine and turned every few days, for at least 6 months.
Today was supposed to be a “relatively easy hike over the Col de
la Seigne (8,245′)” but, of course, we were with “A” team so did a much harder (though very pretty) route that turned this into another 4,000′ plus day.
From Ville des Glaciers we hiked to the Refuge de Rocher where we started a steep climb out of the Vallée des Glaciers.
After about 4 miles and 2400′ we reached the Col de la Seigne at 8200′ and the border with Italy. At this point we could have headed down the valley into Italy but….. being the “A” team we elected to go up the ridge on our right, eventually getting to just over 9,000′.
The weather turned briefly stormy and we got our rain gear on for one of the few times.
This was definitely our longest day and by the time we started the steep, 3,000 foot down climb we were all pretty tired.
The day ended with a mile road walk to where Fabrizio could pick us up and then to our hotel in Courmayeur. We will stay here for two nights – we reverse the direction of the next day’s hike to finish again in Courmayeur.
Day 5: La Vachey to Courmayeur
After two really tough days this was a relatively easy day (still close to 3,000′ of climbing but only 9 miles long). We did this section in the reverse direction to be able to finish in Courmayeur.
Fabrizio dropped us off up the Aosta Valley, Italy for the nine mile walk back to Courmayeur
And, as usual, we ended the day with a 2500 foot descent, walking back to town and the hotel.
Day 6: La Vachey to La Fouly
Another relatively easy day …… only 3,000 feet of ascent! Which I really needed after eating too much pizza and drinking too much wine at dinner last night. And today we hike into Switzerland!
But, this being the Alps, we start the day with a steep 3 mile, 2500′ climb up to the Col de Ferret, the high point of the day at 8,300′ and the border between Italy and Switzerland. Mount Dolent (on the border between France, Switzerland and Italy) is visible to the Northwest.
We dropped down the far side of the col to get out of the wind for lunch before heading down the Val Ferret toward La Fouly.
Then down, down, down the Val Ferret toward La Fouly, where dependable Fabrizio and his van were waiting to take us the short ride to our hotel in Chapex. But we had time to stop at Gîte Alpage de La Peule for a quick beer on the way down.
At the hotel, this being Wednesday I attempted to explain what a Martini was to the nice lady bartender. We basically ended up with glasses of vodka and ice with a few olives. Good enough!