It was tough to leave the comfort of Les Chapieux, but the excitement of our first border crossing made it a little easier. Day 3 would take us out of France and into Italy via Col de la Seigne. There is a war memorial just outside of Les Chapieux, and the thought of soldiers holed up in this narrow valley gave the morning an entirely different feel. Once we put a few miles behind us, the face of Aiguille des Glaciers began to intermittently peak out from behind an ever moving conveyor of clouds. The first two hours was spent walking on a road until we crossed over the river to find the solitary structure of Seloge.
The trail picks up a little bit of steam after passing Mottes, mixing in a number of stream crossings before thinner trail veins splinter away from what was a wider main trail. The climbing isn’t very steep or difficult, and the views naturally draw one upward. We took our time and crossed paths with quite a few walkers taking on TMB in the opposite direction before reaching the Col. It was a special feeling to be standing on the border of France and Italy. It didn’t last long though, the weather behind us was clear and crisp, but the view down into Italy had rain written all over it. Stutters of sunlight punched through the clouds in short bursts, but as we stood there, they continued to grow shorter. We decided to quicken our pace to Rifugio Elisabetta in hopes that we could avoid any heavy downpours.
It started raining just as we reached Rifugio Elisabetta, and at times we could see lightning and hear cracks of thunder. The trail started to erode in places and puddle in others. Luckily, there is an alternative route for poor conditions just after reaching Lac Combal. There is a road that leads to La Visaille at this point. We decided to walk along the road, but many caught a bus to Courmayeur. Courmayeur is a very nice Italian town, and one of the more popular places to spend a winter ski vacation for those inclined to do so in Europe. There are many shops, markets, and restaurants to choose from, and the accommodation list was just as vast. We stayed at a great place called Hotel Edelweiss and bought food at the market to prepare our own lunch and dinner. We had lunch at a nice little restaurant next to the bus station in the center of town.