TMB Day 10, Col de la Forclaz to Tré-le-Champ

July 28, 2019

We were up at 6:30 am to get the bag packed and downstairs. But unfortunately the weather gods were against us—the clouds were very low and it was raining lightly. And the prediction was for rain all day. We had already figured out the bus schedule so we decided to go by bus and train to Tré-le-Champ rather than climbing 900 meters in the clouds and rain.

We finished our breakfast and collected our packed lunches, and then sat outside to wait. The yellow Swiss Post bus pulled up at the stop by our hotel a bit after 8:30 am and on we got, heading to the train station at le Châtelard la Frontière. The bus carefully switchbacked down the hill to Trient, where a lot more hikers got on. We saw the Australian family, but they were waiting for the bus the other way.

It’s raining in Col de la Forclaz
It’s raining in Col de la Forclaz

Soon we were at le Châtelard la Frontière. You could tell it was the Swiss border because there were money-changing places and chocolate shops. At the station a lot of the passengers crowded around the ticket machine and tried to buy tickets to Chamonix, which took a great amount of time.

We, on the other hand, had Chamonix hotel cards which gave us free travel between Chamonix and Vallorcine, which was the next station. So we shrugged. If the conductor showed up and wanted payment for the five-minute trip to Vallorcine, then we had cash. But that didn’t happen. At Vallorcine we switched to the French train, which we rode to Montroc. And from there it was a ten-minute walk to Tré-le-Champ, where we were booked into Auberge la Boerne for the night.

Everything went smoothly and we got to the auberge by 10 am. We were very glad that we weren’t out all day. Of course our room wasn’t ready yet, and our bag hadn’t arrived yet either. But we sat inside and watched the cook make up Sunday lunch meals of tartiflette and croûte au fromage. There was also fresh blueberry pie just out of the oven. Everything smelled so good that we decided to buy lunch instead of eating the packed lunch we had brought.

While we were hanging out in the auberge one of the other customers, probably a local guy, came over to talk to us. His French was quite easy for us to understand and he told us that he was a mountain climber, had climbed all over the world, and that he came from Colmar in Alsace. At least, we were almost certain that’s what he meant.

Finally lunchtime came around, so Paul ordered the croûte au fromage and Rosemary had the tartiflette. We shared a slice of blueberry pie.

After lunch we were shown our room, which turned out to be next to the kitchen. There were no windows in the room unless you counted the one which opened into the kitchen! Still, it was a private room.

It’s raining in Tré-le-Champ as well
It’s raining in Tré-le-Champ as well

The rain was still coming down heavily so we were very happy with our decision to take the bus. We stayed in the room for a while and then decided to go down to Argentière to look around. We walked over to Montroc, where we waited only about five minutes for the bus. Our ride down to Argentière took about ten minutes. But there was not much to see there: sports shops, hotels, and cafés. We briefly checked out some of the sports shops and then headed back to the auberge.

Dinner wasn’t until 7 pm so we went out to the dining area and joined the people already sitting out there. We sat there chatting with them until dinnertime. The meal started with a green salad, followed by penne pasta with a chicken sauce. As we were back in France we were served cheese before dessert, which was applesauce with a vanilla wafer.

Next: TMB Day 11, Tré-le-Champ to Planpraz