The weather was much finer today. There was some early cloud which mostly burned off during the morning to leave a fresh and bright day.
The family running the refuge were a delight and coped with lots of people with wet gear with good humour. We didn’t have beef stew, but Pork stew with the ubiquitous polenta. Come back beef stew, all is forgiven (apart from the beef stew at the Croix du Bonhomme Refuge- that can’t be forgiven).
The first hour and a half were downhill following the valley from the refuge. Any snow patches had hardened during the night.
Eventually we had gone far enough down to allow a path to find a way up the steep right hand wall of the valley. We zigzagged up for half a Scafell Pike (I don’t think our measurements of height gains and losses are likely to catch on internationally) until the path levelled out in a high valley full of marmots and a few chamois. This took us to the Col de la Vanoise from where it was downhill 1 1/4 Scafell Pikes) all the way to Pralognan. This is a very popular path and there were loads if people, descending first though moraine, then across a shallow lake via stepping stones, and then down into the trees.
At Pralognan we met with a problem. We were looking forward to the hotel, but when we got there we discovered that the stupid website had booked a hotel of the same name somewhere else (more than 2 hours drive away, which would have been difficult even with a car). Anyway, after a bit of anxiety, we got things sorted out and have 2 rooms. We were warned that the rooms were small, but we are very undemanding- ‘What, two whole rooms with showers for 3 people?’ What, the beds have their own sheets and everything?’
The view from the toilet queue in the morning.
Edelweiss just outside the refuge door.
Leaving the refuge (perched on the hill) in the morning.
Looking back at the valley we had walked down in the morning.
Catherine meets a chamois.