The weather forecast for my hike into Switzerland wasn’t the best predicting 60, 70 and 80 percent chance of rain. I kept my raingear handy and after a noisy breakfast started hiking along a still very cool valley. Today I would hike from Chalet Val Ferret to La Fouly. The hike consisted of one climb up to Grand Col Ferret (2537m) where I would cross into Switzerland and then a descent into the valley of La Fouly.
Come on, it’s time to hike faster and get warm!
Climbing towards Rifugio Elena (2061m)
About 300 meters of elevation gain would take me up to Rifugio Elena, the first milestone of today. I was glad to be climbing up as I needed a long time to get warm this morning. Clouds were hanging in the sky but I wasn’t too concerned about the weather at all. The landscape around me was just wonderful even without having the greatest views. The smell of fresh summer rain was all around as some single drops were falling from the sky.
The climb was fairly easy and short and I already met some early runners on the trail. I always step aside and wait for them to pass. First of all it’s always a welcome break for me and I am not in a hurry, second I have a huge respect for those people who run around in the mountains as if it would be the easiest thing to do!
A wet climb towards Grand Col Ferret (2537m)
Arriving at Rifugio Elena I went straight inside to use the bathroom and fill my water bottle. It seemed to be a nice refuge and from the terrace you can have an incredible view facing directly the nearby mountains and glaciers.
As soon as I stepped outside it started to rain a little bit and I dressed into my heavy-duty rain jacket. No drop from outside would ever make it through the fabric. I tested it while having a shower at home. Nevertheless condensation on the inside was an issue. I was already wet from my own sweat when I lined up into the colored snake of raingear-equipped hikers, that proceeded slowly up the hill towards Grand Col Ferret.
Climbing was not too bad but in some places I was happy about the light rain. Covered with loose sand some sections might have been a little slippery. But the sand was just about wet enough to be gluey and stick to the boots.
Crossing into Switzerland
At the mountain pass Grand Col Ferret, the view back into the valley was remarkable. As soon as I got there the rain stopped and the sun came out trying to find its way through some gaps between the clouds. I sat down for a break but didn’t stay too long as it was windy and cool up there. There were also no hikers I had met before to chat with. I would see Devon again in La Fouly as she was staying at the refuge and the South Africans were having a rest day at the campground nearby. I was looking forward to catch up to my trail friends again!
The descent was more than easy after I got past the first snowfield directly at the pass. It should turn out, that the TMB is somehow more easy in Switzerland than it is in France and Italy.
Downhill towards Alpage de la Peule (2071m)
The trail crested along the mountainside and descended to Alpage de la Peule. A refuge but also still a milk business with lots of cows. It was worth stopping. But also this stop was very short because I could see some dark clouds rolling in over the mountains. In fact it looked like I would get wet!
Hiking in the rain
And I got wet! Descending from Alpage de la Peule to La Fouly it was raining constantly. But it didn’t matter to me. The hike was easy and my thoughts were flying far away…
Hiking is for me the best way to think about things, forget the unimortant and concentrate on what’s essential.
In a good mood I walked down the road towards La Fouly. A road up the mountain to my right left led to Maya Joie, the refuge I would spent the night at. As it was still early I wanted to go into the village first and get some Swiss Francs. Would I find an ATM right away?
The mountain village of La Fouly
I was concerned for no reason. I was in Switzerland and of course the first thing I saw walking into La Fouly was the red sign for an ATM. Other than that La Fouly looked like a cute mountain village.
After filling up my wallet I hiked back to the junction and walked up the mountain to Maya Joie. A quick shower later I sat together with Devon and made plans for the night. After our dinner at the refuge – traditional Swiss raclette – we walked down to the campground to meet the boys from South Africa again. We were a bunch of people playing card games and drinking for a while. It was well past hiker’s midnight when Devon and I made our way back to the refuge. We are no party girls anymore – hiking makes us tired!
–> next post: Day 7 – La Fouly to Champex-Lac
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