A very different day on the Tour du Mont Blanc, with almost no glaciers, epic mountain views, or ridiculous ascents (though there was still a decent hill at the end of the day). Instead the track followed the bottom of a beautiful valley, passing through charming Swiss alpine villages and the stunning Lac du Champex, before reaching the relatively flash Relais d’Arpette (certainly compared to the diary farm the previous night).
I said goodbye to glaciers for a while as I headed down the ridge from Gîte Alpage de La Peule in the morning light.
In La Fouly I shared the road with cows being moved between pastures or off to be milked I assume.
I loved this free outdoor / indoor climbing wall.
The track meanders above the river with nice views of the valley and villages on the other side.
Three hours after starting the day I walked through a succession of lovely alpine villages – Praz de Fort, Les Arlaches and Issert – filled with firewood stocked houses new and old, plus a few gnomes.
After Issert the hard work for the day started heading uphill through forest along the Sentier des Champignons track, home to an erie cave and lots of cool wooden animal sculptures.
Finally I arrived at Champex, the highlight of which was the stunning alpine lake.
One more push up the hill was needed to reach Relais d’Arpette, walking along a water channel and this bizarre tree on a rock propped up over the stream.
Relais d’Arpette was rather nice, with views up the valley, and small dorm rooms.