Saturday, July 21, 2018
Start: Rifugio Bonatti
End: La Fouly, Auberge Maya-Joie
Elevation: 4134′ gain, 5453′ descent
Stage: 6, variente/original TMB route taken due to poor signage
After a nice but very busy hostel last night, we were eager to be on our way this morning. We were up at 6am, breakfast at 6:15am, and on trail by 7am.
The first hour or two had more small ups and downs than anticipated, and Toby’s body was creaky and slow. Once we arrived at the first hostel, Chalet Val Ferret (1784m/5852′), we decided to hike the remainder of the day at our own individual paces. Soon after, I missed the trail turn-off to the right and ended up following the single track road up to the next hostel, Rifugio Elena (2062m/6763′). From there, I climbed. Even though it was only 1.25 hours of climbing, it was steep and crowded, and got cold and windy towards the Grand Col Ferret (2537m/8321′). The Grand Col Ferret marks our entrance into Switzerland.
From there, I descended to La Peule (2071m/6793′) and the dairy farm there, passing by many fields full of cows. Due to poor signage, I missed the sharp left that would have kept me on the new, main TMB route. Instead, I followed the old route, which is now a variente.
I followed an old farm road into the valley. There were very few markings to tell me I was on the correct path. This made my descent very anxiety producing, as I wasn’t confident in my direction. I managed to find a few signs indicating I was going in the right direction, so I kept going. I ran into Michael and Wayne on the way, so I felt more confident. Once I arrived at Ferret (1705m/5593′) on the road, I felt more settled and wandered my way towards town.
On the outskirts of La Fouly, I saw signs for our evening’s hostel, Auberge Maya-joie. I arrived around 1:45pm, got settled in our room, went into town for supplies, showered, and hung out some laundry. Hopefully, with our private room, we’ll be able to relax and get some good sleep.
Today’s hike was frustrating. It seemed that once we entered Switzerland, the trail marking significantly degraded. It made the hike stressful and anxiety-producing.