A cloudless start, and it remained that way all day. Bleary-eyed for breakfast at 8 am, the dortoir occupants - Gaynor, Hilde and Dave, complained of lack of sleep due to overeating last night!
It was too nice not to go over the Col de Fenetre d'Arpette, so Dave and I did that, but the other four were 'tired' so they went by the Bovine route to Champex.
Over breakfast, Hilde, to my amazement, admits to being unable to map read, so having offered to navigate the four girls, demands a guidebook as the map is no use to her. Meanwhile, Gaynor, fresh from her night in the hotel's dortoir, inquires "Is this a hotel then?" Surely a wind-up I think, but no!!
So it was with some relief that after a half hour wait I set off with just Dave at 9:15 for the three hour ascent to the col at 2665 metres (from 1526 metres). Very pleasant and not too hot, with frost lingering in shady spots until mid morning.
Wonderfully clear views, and lots of photos to make up for the slides destroyed by Jessops following our Tour of Mont Blanc (TMB) trip in 2000.
Dark blue monkshood glimmered as the sun got higher.
9:50 - at the top of the bisse - groccles and English people with dogs.
By 10 am it was time for shorts and suntan cream. Reached the
col by 12:15 after chatting to the Americans (seen yesterday) who live in a
mountain town near
We also pass a number of Brits - members of the 'Over the Hill' club (OTH), some of whom have reached the busy col before us. Fresh snow is lying in the shade above 2400 metres - it disappears over the next few days.
We spend a good 45 minutes in a lovely position here - before heading steeply down towards Champex (13:00 to 16:10) via Relais d'Arpette (15:10 to 15:35) where a cafe au lait in bright sun went down perfectly.
Tame chamois frolicked / slept in a compound here.
Very hot and sunny for the final lap into Champex, where we arrived before the girls, whose walk was supposed to be two hours shorter than ours. We eventually bumped into them and ended up at Plein Air dortoir, where Sue and I stayed in 2000. Gaynor and Hilde went elsewhere and saved SF2.
Everyone disappeared for a couple of hours whilst I chatted to the Over the Hill Club people, who have a mascot, Meringue the Orang-utan. He has a website - meringueontour.com. (Now defunct.)
"I presume you are Mr Miller" said someone connected to a Ramblers TMB trip that was here overnight, mistaking me for their leader. Quite a different group to those where everyone knows each other, like ours and the OTHs.
Nice meal - salad, pork with mushrooms and carrots and rice,
then ice cream. That, after David E (Sue's husband)
has arrived, without his rucksack, which is still on its way from
I enjoy a walk into the village, mountains silhouetted attractively against the dark sky, with lights of aircraft pottering across it. Then to bed by 10 - can't face any more beer. (Dave Skipp and 'Waggy' were setting a fine pace.)