TMB Day 7, Rifugio Bonatti to La Fouly

July 25, 2019

After a good night’s sleep we got up at 7 am, packed up a bit, and then went up to breakfast. We were almost the last ones there but there was still a lot of food. It was similar to the breakfast at Rifugio Elisabetta, muesli and milk and Melba toast with jam. Unfortunately no protein, so we would likely be hungry before lunch time.

Val Ferret overlooked by Rifugio Bonatti
Val Ferret overlooked by Rifugio Bonatti

On the other hand, the packed lunch they made for us was very impressive. A large sandwich, an apple, a small panettone, and a small bag of chips. The best part was a large square of dark chocolate embossed with the Rifugio Bonatti emblem.

Starting out on the trail
Starting out on the trail

We started out at 8 am, which was quite late, and it didn’t take us too long to get along the slope and down 420 meters to the trailhead in the valley. Here we met the “Vancouver” couple who we had first met in Les Chapieux. We walked along the service road for a while and then climbed to Rifugio Elena, 320 meters of elevation gain. It was too early for lunch but we ate our apples there.

One of the many bluebell species we saw
One of the many bluebell species we saw
View back to Val Ferret
View back to Val Ferret

The trail continued upwards in switchbacks towards Grand Col Ferret. It was well-graded but steep and we both ran out of steam, so halfway up we stopped for lunch. Unfortunately we still had a long climb ahead of us. We could see people high above us so we just kept plugging along and finally made the top of the spur, from where we could see the col. It had been a hot and tedious climb so it was nice that a kestrel flew over and hovered in the wind.

People high above us near Grand Col Ferret
People high above us near Grand Col Ferret
Grand Col Ferret, onwards to Switzerland
Grand Col Ferret, onwards to Switzerland

We had our photo taken at the col—welcome to Switzerland!—but it was getting late so we took one last look back into Italy and then headed onwards. The trail went gently down to La Peule, which is just a farm, although it has a couple of yurts and sells refreshments. It started to rain there, but it never amounted to much. We continued down the road, which eventually led to a trailhead. Soon we came to the hamlet of Ferret, which was at the end of the bus line. We considered waiting for the bus but instead carried on. It was only 40 minutes to La Fouly and we never saw any buses anyway.

Going down the road towards La Fouly
Going down the road towards La Fouly

We found our hotel, Maya-Joie, and checked in just before 5 pm. We both had showers, removing a thick layer of dust from our legs, and did some laundry before dinner.

The hotel seemed to be entirely dedicated to hikers, and most of the people we talked to were doing some of all of the TMB. The fixed dinner tonight was raclette, a Swiss specialty where you melt cheese in a little tray and pour it over boiled potatoes, with sliced sausage and pickles as garnish. Rosemary opted out and they kindly made her an omelette instead. For dessert there was apricot compote.

We had missed the rain today, but this evening there was thunder and lightning in the mountains. But it stayed in the mountains and La Fouly had no rain.

Next: TMB Day 8, La Fouly to Champex