Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Sunday 17 August 2008 - An Italian Border Route (IBR) - Day 54 - Walser Villages

A typical 'Walser' building at Scarpia

Plan: Day 55 - Gressoney-La-Trinité to Alagna Valsesia - 15 km, 1300 metres ascent, 7.5 hours.

Actual: B+B Le Rêve in Gressoney-La-Trinité to Camping Alagna at Alagna Valsesia:
17 km, 1300 metres ascent, 8 hours including 1.4 hours breaks.

Best bit: Escaping from the Gondolas.

The forecast today was for fine but cloudy weather. A little disappointing then that after lunch the clouds leaked a bit. To call it rain would be an insult to that word, but a few cold drips did warrant waterproofs for a short while.

As expected, Hermes provided a fine breakfast, and we set off from our B+B with murals in all the rooms, up path number 4 at 8.30.

Not my original plan, but a better route.

We were soon overtaken by a man in wellies with a rod and a big white dog. They were found shortly afterwards beside a succulent looking pool.

The path was otherwise deserted. Past banks of alpine willowherb we entered a lovely coire with splashing waterfalls and rampant eyebright.

Behind its barrage, Lac Gabiet lay despondently grey and half empty.

Just beyond it, Rifugio Gabiet looked resplendent in its red and white livery.

There were a few people about, having been disgorged from the nearby gondolas, but these melted away as we moved on towards the Tour of Monte Rosa path.

We arrived at another ski piste, and earthworks for more paraphernalia. This seems to be a feature of the TMR.

So we left the TMR and the gondolas strung up above it and headed along a nicely cairned path over Passo Zube. Nowhere did we find a sign for this route or pass, perhaps because there were no paint marks.

Not my original plan, but a better route.

Presumably the TMR is designed to give business to Rifugios. In this area those hostelries appear to be positioned to serve skiers. They are therefore accessed by piste, and surrounded by ski detritus.

I'm sure they are very nice in winter.

Passo Zube (2874 metres) had prayer flags and a wooden sculpture, and was backed by a bank of cloud.

Goodbye view (which had been good), hello cloud. We soon stopped for our Sunday lunch - which is usually in bright sunshine. Not today. Fleeces and gloves were employed. It was 8C. The lunch - tea, fresh bread with ham, cheese and tomato, was excellent as always. Notchy's News of invincible Brits poured in, adding to the ambiance of our cold cloud.

A chamois lurked nearby with her baby.

The descent down path 3b, which the TMR adopts after Passo Foric, was pleasant enough apart from the pesky droplets and the limited views.

Below 2000 metres the sun came out and we passed through some high hamlets that retain faithfully the Walser heritage. The buildings have a very distinctive construction - slatted wooden frames, with internal rooms inside the veranda created by the frame.

Here we met just about the only person seen today - a young girl who cheerily greeted us 'buongiorno' in what I swear was a Scottish accent! Local dialect?

A light brown hawk flew off from a barn ahead of us. A goshawk?

Down through pleasant woods to the affluent pedestrianised streets (well, street) of Alagna Valsesia and our camp site, which we were relieved to discover does actually exist.

Dinner was in the tent due to more droplets and the fact that we'd been carrying it since Cervinia! Why go to a restaurant when you can reduce the weight of the porter's pack?

The sky is clearing. The sun will shine tomorrow for our last full day's walk.

All is well with the world - and especially with my mother, who has just worked out how to contact us whilst on the trip.

Hello mum, we hope to see you at the weekend.

Next Day
Back to Index


Gayle E Bird said...

Tomorrow is your last full day's walk?

Oh no!

I've been rather enjoying the experience of walking-the-Italian-Alps-by-proxy.

I need someone else to set off on a month-long trip now - just enough to fill the gap until our own next outing.

Alan Sloman said...

I have to agree with Gayle here: It's delightful walkng the Alps like this. I could do with a good chef.... Lord Elpus never volunteers for domestic duties.