Decision time. We could take the Fenetre Glacier route or the Bovine Route. The Bovine was reputed to give big views of the Rhone Valley and Swiss Alps in contrast to the Fenetre, which is largely on open and rocky, boulders, steep and loose terrain. Karyn was conscious of the recency of the food poisoning and I was more than happy to take a less hairy route so we settled on the Bovine.
The track was rather muddy from the rain last night but no slips so far.
We ran into Charlie and his walking group at the junction of the routes. We conferred over which was which given someone had decided to turn the post from its original position (our first day of deferring to a compass for navigation). During discussions we exchanged stories on the routes we had take. Both had arrived into Col de Balme and they asked us if we ran into the Dragonlady. We laughed – she’s clearly infamous on the Mountain!
This was the first day we found the necessity to get out a compass. The notes had us taking off from a particular marker, which we were having trouble locating – of course it turned out it was within 10 metres of us!
From here it was up, up, up – a common theme for many days to come! We reached Col de la Forclaz and made our way onto the Bovine track – was evident how it had gotten its name, with its narrow little trench to walk in. Along this track we had fantastic views of Martigny and the Rhone Valley.
Further along we had views of the Bernese Oberland in the distance – hiking for another trip!
It had been a long day but we finally made it to the cafe at Plan de l-au, which was perched high above a valley with beautiful views. Thinking we were close to Champex a decision was made to reward ourselves for our efforts of the day with an icecream/coffee. We were to come to realise the reward was somewhat premature – there was still a way to go!
During our ascent into Champex we passed some of the bomb shelters Karyn had told me about (on their rest day in Champex on the Tour de Mont Blanc, Rod had done a tour of one). They had been built during the Second World War to protect the citizens of neutral Switzerland. They had now moved onto being used as shelters in the event of nuclear fallout. It was a requirement that all communities had one.
We finally wandered DOWNHILL into Champex to find our hotel had a lovely verandah overlooking Lac Champex. It had felt like a long day and I was pleased to arrive.
We finished the day with a meal at a restaurant where our waitress spoke no English – we managed to communicate two red wines please….