Statistics: mileage 5 1/2 miles ascent 3281′ descent 846′ 2 hours

I awoke in the refuge’s converted cowshed, realizing that other hikers were milling around in the dark, quietly dressing and preparing their packs for the day. Breakfast was almost the same fare as yesterday, rolls and coffee, only without the orange soda!

As we left the refuge, we noticed that some hikers were supported by pack mules; therefore walking without their backpacks.

We soon gained enough height to have a great view (behind us) of Refuge des Mottets and the trail we walked yesterday.

Further up the mountain the trail split into a myriad of paths that eventually reunited near the Col.

Upon reaching the Col de la Seigne at nearly 8000′, we had fabulous unobstructed views of the southern ramparts of Mont Blanc, including the Pyramides Calcaires and out toward the valley known as Val Veni.

Leaving Col de la Seigne, we crossed the border from France to Italy. This particular border crossing has been heavily traveled for centuries going back to the Roman legions. We passed a refurbished WWII customs house a few minutes walk below the Col. A little further down, we looked back up the mountain and could just make out the customs house.

The trail continued to drop like giant stair steps revealing more of the valley below as we came upon marmots, cows and cow herders.

After this day’s short, 5.5 mile walk, we arrived in the late morning at our refuge for the night, Rifugio Elisabetta, situated directly below two glaciers.

Glacier Estellette, directly behind the rifugio, was the sight of a B-17 crash on November 1, 1946. The remains of the plane were only recently discovered and some of them were displayed in Rifugio Elisabetta. A monument to commemorate the crash was to be unveiled the next day and as we walked through the area we saw the preparations and several attendees.

Having arrived at this day’s destination so early, we were able to complete some much needed chores, as in doing laundry, writing postcards, and just relaxing. It is not every day that you can do laundry while admiring glaciers!

An enjoyable afternoon and evening were spent visiting with new friends we had met recently on the trail.

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