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Published: October 22nd 2017
Gondola Station at La Chaux
View outside the Les Ruinettes gondola station. Second stop on the way up.
Geo: 46.0801, 7.21137
Hi everyone, Sean checking in here again so Erin can have a day off of writing.
Before talking about our amazing day, I would like to fill you in on some of our challenges in getting you the quality blog updates you have come to expect from us from our previous travels. Primarily, in an effort to trim the weight in our packs since we are carrying everything on our backs each day, we tried to keep non essential items to a minimum. Unfortunately this meant we did not bring some things that would be helpful in getting some of Erin's photography loaded onto the website including some necessary cables (honestly, more of an oversight than a purposeful leave behind). Also, instead of a laptop, we have my tablet which has proved useful, but not as efficient for loading images or typing text. That being the case, many of the images we will be loading will be photos taken from my tablet. When we find an available computer with an SD card reader, we will be able to put some better images up. For good news, though, Wifi has been readily available at all of the places we have stayed
Flowers With a View
View from the station at La Chaux looking up the Val du Bagnes.
which has been really cool. Oh, and another exciting tech thing (at least for those of you that are into that type of thing:-)), prior to our departure I was able to find a $30 phone from Amazon that worked on GSM networks, got a SIM card in the Geneva airport, and now have a working Swiss cell phone - really easy and very helpful in setting up lodging and calling home.
Anyway, I digress. For the important info, today proved to be our best yet and helped us understand why we went to the trouble and expense to travel 28 hours to get here. Last nights stay at the Hotel de la Poste in Le Chable proved to be very restful for us all with comfortable beds and cool mountain air. Significant rain passed through the town during the night and we woke to low clouds creeping through the valley floor and shrouding the mountains above. The forecast called for thunderstorms after noon, so we made a concerted effort to get to breakfast and start our day. Yvette, the hotel manager treated us to a pleasant European style breakfast with homemade bread, croissants, jam, and fresh brewed coffee and tea.
Getting Higher and Higher
Looking back at the Val de Bagnes from La Gentiannes.
This has been the common style at both places we have stayed, but we all found the food selection to be both enjoyable and filling.
Once we had finished breakfast, we made our way quickly to the gondola station in town even though Yvette thought it was not running during the weekday. We found that they had started weekday service as of July 5th, and decided to purchase tickets all the way to the top of the 3'300 meter peak of Mont Fort. This would take us on a series of 4 gondola rides through the mountains above Verbier giving us a summer view of the 400+km of skiing available to folks in the winter. Also, this would show us some of the terrain we would hike if we did the remote mountain cabane portion of the Haute Route.
After grabbing our tickets, we loaded up in a cable car and lurched out of the cable station on a steady ascent through clouded forests with sun working to break through the barrier. Looking below we observed advanced downhill biking tracks and hiking trails ascending steeply through the forest. At the different stations we would exit the building to take photos of the
Aaron's best Beckham pose
Advertising outside the last station rising from La Gentiannes to Mont Fort.
ever increasing beauty and admire the immense country we found ourselves immersed in. Soon we passed the treeline and entered snow and glacier covered terrain that looked as though it was stuck back in April with much thawing left to do. This is when we realized it was a good thing we had decided against the more remote sections of the hike as the snow fields and inclimate weather would have made it significantly more difficult and dangerous. Admittedly, however, the adventuresome side of me panged to set off into the vastness and battle whatever lay ahead.
Once at top, we enjoyed the views and a sandwich and brownie in the small, igloo shaped restaurant, and then descended back to Verbier as the rain began to pour down in heavy sheets. All in all it was an unforgettable day and gave me a new meaning of mountain terrain as they seemed to stretch on interminably into the drifting clouds that worked their way through the valleys.
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