TMB – Day 10: Refuge Elena – Champex

The wind we thought would blow forever. There was no relief whatsoever during the night or in the morning. A thought occurred to me when we were packing the tent, carefully holding onto every loose part so that the wind would not have a chance to steal it and mischievously blow it downhill – we camped twice during this trip. On our very first night and on our very last night of the trek and both nights were similarly breezy. Today however the air remained cold well into the morning, and even though we hiked uphill to Grand Col Ferret that separates Italy from Switzerland, dressed in every layer in our possession, we never completely warmed up.

Grand Col Ferret

On the Swiss side, the path went down steeply to a dairy farm Alpage De La Peule where we stopped for a quick cup of coffee (Dave), hot chocolate (me), and an omelette which we split. We were not walking long but since trying to cook in the wind was a lost cause, we ate our remaining piece of bread in the morning, hoping it would supply enough energy to the next available food stop. It did.

“I know you,” proclaimed a lady we met just as we descended to the farm.

Turns out she read my blog entries while preparing for her own trip and lucky coincidence had us meet when our trip is coming to an end and hers is just starting.

Even on our last day, the views were pretty cool.

There was much more downhill after we left the farm, we walked on a road, and then we were back on a path. We crossed several bridges, new views opened in front of our eyes. The mountains were not nearly as dramatic in the other side of the valley, as the ones we got accustomed to seeing lately but verdantly green they hold their own beauty, and the numerous waterfalls we could see and hear, those were just phenomenal.

At around noon we arrived to La Folly, picturesque mountain town with several hotels, restaurants and some pretty nice views. Here we are a lunch at Auberge des Glaciers, expensive soup and salad but it hit the spot, we were both craving vegetables, just like our bodies knew we needed the good nutritions to fight off the cold we both are going through.

We made one last stop lower in the valley, after we walked through forest and along a rushing stream. We were in Issert, town after which the last uphill of the trek would start, and so we had a quick drink at a local pub before braving the hill.

Big mountains are pushed to the distance.

The hill was longish, and steep at places but at the end, like always, it was mind over mountain, and at 4:40 we arrived back at Champex where our adventure started ten days earlier. By doubling some of the stages, we compensated for delays caused by the weather and in the end we made the trek in our estimated timeframe.

No cheap hotels? No problem. Here’s a really cool Air BnB right on the trail.

Time to celebrate. Time to rest. Time to set out for our another adventure.