9. September 2011 – Day 9 Tour de Mont Blanc: Depart 09.00, 400 m Ascent, 1020 m Descent Arrive 16.15
La Peule 2071 – Ferret 1705 m – La Fouly 1610 m (0.40 h) – Praz de Fort 1151 (2 h) – Issert 1055 (0.30 h, Buvette) – Overnight Hotel du Glaciers, Champex-au-Lac 1456 m (1.30 h)
Notes: Another easier day – at least at the beginning. Walked down and then back up and even though we are seasoned by now, the afternoon was tough. Had lunch and a nap in the sun in a farmer’s field in the valley.
Refreshed, we climbed steadily through a quiet mature forest to Champex. After the long, long hill to Champex-au-Lac, we walked through the village to Hotel des Glaciers.
This picture-perfect ski village is nestled around a clear green lake; from the shore, we saw trout swimming in the waters. One highpoint was sitting on the patio in the late afternoon sunshine. The air was clean and fresh and the patio was warmed by the brilliant sunshine. It doesn’t get much better than this!
10. September 2011 – Day 10 Tour de Mont Blanc: Depart 08.25, 730 m Ascent, 660 m Descent Finish 15.30
Champex-au-Lac 1456 m - Plan de L’Au 1330 m (1.30 h) – Bovine 1987 m (2.0 h) – Col de la Forclaz 1526 m (0.50 h).
Notes: Ed left us this morning to attend his school reunion in Bern. The rest of us, five now, hiked the lower route and were rewarded with the most beautiful views and hiking of the whole tour. The trail wound down through a forest and then up again along a rushing mountain stream.
At the pass, a larch forest seemed to pour down the hillside. We ate lunch on a soft grassy promontory that overlooked the Valles, into France and back towards Italy. Afterwards we ambled over another pass, down into a valley and up to our starting point at Forclaz.
We did it! We completed the Tour de Mont Blanc in ten days. Our adventure is an accomplishment and – thanks to the logistical expertise and attention to detail of our Swiss ‘hosts’ Karl and Anna – it was an amazing way to experience the hospitality of Switzerland, France and Italy.