Unique Trek Experience – Fantastic Val Maira !

Day 2

After the survival night

After I survived our first trek’s night (see the previous story, click here) we started our walking days.
The morning is glorious with lovely sunshine and fresh air. Sky is clear and it is like if the storm has just been a dream!
We pack our bags, have our first breakfast and try to get warm with liters of tea!
Then when everyone is ready we start our walk to the Stroppia pass at 2865m. At the col, we find some snow and it is the first stop for some fun sliding down the slopes. We are also at the French Italian border and we change country without realising it.
We enter the Val Maira, the area is very wild, with high cliffs overhanging the path.

Val Maira is in Piemont area and it is named by the river that runs through the valley.

This valley has always been tightly linked to Provence as its inhabitants share the same Occitan language, and there were a lot of economic exchanges between the two regions . Isolated and protected it was also an asylum for Cathares, Vaudois and later Resistance.

In the evening a beautiful area wait for us for put the tents. Over a small lake, protected from the wind. We all had a good night.

Day 3

On the way back to inhabited area

Misty morning and we slept longer than usual. We have breakfast and then we tidy up the camp.
Today it is only way down to a camp site in the valley, we will be back tonight to civilization. Each of us dream of something different: kids about pizzas (they start to be bored of couscous, Chinese pastas and dry soups…) and adults are longing for showers…

The descent is very steep, with a majestic waterfall and one of us start to have sore knee.  A good bandage and we continue.

Then to reach the camp site we walk on a flat, large track along the river with cars around… we already miss the peaceful camps in the middle of the wild meadows…
But the camp site, Campo Base, is really nice and we pitch tents under lovely trees. Showers and beers are our rewards. Unfortunately no pizzas !! but pastas are really good as well as the cheese.
Back to our tents and another nice, regenerating night

Day 4

A thief !

Wake up by the call of our oldest boy: “Our food got stolen !”

2 bags are empty by the tents, we try to list what is missing and look around for pieces: no more bread, our beloved 20 small goat cheeses we were saving for the last part of the trip have disappeared !!! We found in a ditch the M&M’s bag full, that’s something ! The animal has some sense of good nutritional way ! But we feel lucky because M&M’s are the best thing to cheer up when walking becomes difficult…
But we need to refill our baskets as we won’t have enough to carry on… Dads go to the restaurant/shop/hut/reception and buy Italian cheese and some bread. We will survive !

The owner of the camp site let them know that it is not the first thief and that it is a fox that is to be blamed… so clever animals…

We are back to the mountains and so happy and full of new energy. Weather is not great, very misty.
The good thing about it is that we keep walking and we climb fast.

It is a long day and we will pitch our tent at the highest point of the trek camp sites, around 2200m. From there we can see the first pass we will have to climb the next morning , the col de l’Infernetto at 2722m.

Marvelous vista around us, so wild and a gypaete (Gypaetus Barbatus or bearded vulture is the largest vulture of the Alps) welcome us. Very rare. Very intense. Very beautiful.

At nightfall the cold push us to our tents. Good night thanks to our down sleeping bags!

Day 5

A challenging walk and one of the best !

Wake up early by the cold, we wait for the sunshine to have breakfast. Everyone is ready to climb the steep pass. Need to be concentrate, no jokes, everyone watch others steps.

We reach the pass without any issue, beautiful view on both sides and satisfaction to achieve a challenge!

The walk is not finished, we still have another pass to climb, the Gypière pass 2927m high, cross a névé above the Nine Colors lake. Lunch there, we are all very hungry ! Still very cold due to a North wind, we decide not to nap but continue walking to the Chambeyron hut.
We still have a place to find to put the tents before the rain !
This evening we have diner at the hut tables ! Great food, great people. Smiles on everyone’s face.

Day 6

Easy day

It is an easy day. Relax by the tents, small walk or last climb for the more energetic !
Sunny and warm, it is the ideal weather and we appreciate it !
And another diner at the hut table… we really treat ourselves but we all deserve it !

Day 7

Last day – great memories !

Our teenagers are running down the tracks!
So happy to have done it, so happy to be back full of great memories.
We all want to do it again !!

Bravo à tous !!

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