Starting out from Chalet Val Ferret, we knew it was going to be a tough day. After wrapping up early on day 4 due to inclement weather, we had to push on even though things outside had yet to improve. Worse yet, the storm was not likely to subside for at least a week. Today’s hike would take us over Grand Col Ferret, from Italy into Switzerland. Walking in rain is bad, walking in mud is even worse, but for some reason I’ve never minded the snow and ice. This turned out to be a good thing as we received a great deal of both. The trail starts out easy enough and climbs slowly though the valley, crossing over a few streams. After a short climb, we came upon Rifugio Elena. At this point the snow had started to fall, and the temperatures followed suit. We met another group who was heading up at the same time as us, and we decided to make our way up together to avoid any confusion if the weather got worse. It was a good call, because just as we started up the visibility started to diminish.
There were a few groups that passed us walking in the opposite direction who looked everything but warm. A few locals scampered by on trail runs clad in thigh high shorts. With this much foot traffic, the trail was very easy to follow, and fortunately for us, the snow didn’t get any heavier. There was maybe 6 inches underfoot, but underneath that was mud and slush. The footing was great, but without the snow it would have been much worse. I wish we could have enjoyed better views once we reached Grand Col Ferret, it would have been special to stand in Italy, and look into France…but it was not to be.
The walk downhill after the Col was fairly easy and quite pleasant. The weather had stabilized quite nicely, and the softly falling snow was a special summer treat for us coming from Southern California. We reached La Peule and dusted ourselves off before making our way to La Fouly. The rest of the trail followed a road which usually isn’t so nice, but the number of cows and clanging cowbells make the last few miles a relaxing end to the day.