Statistics: mileage 11.75 ascent 2237′ descent 1854′ 5 hours

At first light the next morning we were presented with glorious sunshine on the mountain tops. It is amazing how a sunny day lifts the spirits!

We entered the dining room at the Hotel Edelweiss to see a lovely array of breakfast choices and left with renewed energy for the day’s trek.

After suiting up for the hike ahead of us, we were ready to spend an enjoyable day walking through the Swiss Val Ferret.

After leaving LaFouly we turned on to a serene track through meadows and forest.

Shortly, this track became a trail along the hillside.

Continuing along the hillside, we encountered more interesting strata in the rock.

Emerging from the woods, we entered the stunning Saleina Glen with magnificent alpine panoramas!

Now, in the valley, we observed the Swiss pastoral landscape at its best. Folding green pastures, dotted with cattle and barns were a very peaceful scene. The small, quaint village of Les Arlaches had as many time-worn barns as it did homes.

The majestic mountains were lining both sides of this gorgeous walk.

We never were short on drinking water as farms and homes near the trail often provided a generous, always flowing water supply for hikers.

The last village we encountered in this valley was the charming Issert, where we stopped for a pastry and a pot of tea. As we ate, we also chatted with some of the locals who were fascinated with our trek.

From Issert the trail immediately ascended a mountain with a series of switchbacks. Intermittently along the path we were entertained by a number of wood carvings placed by locals.

Nearing Champex we noticed several rather ominous looking fortifications built into the rock face of the mountain. It was a creepy feeling not knowing if someone was inside watching us. We later learned that this area has a large military complex that was built underground in the mountain between 1940 and 1943, has over 600 meters of tunnels and can house 300 men. There are many hidden military installations throughout Switzerland; this one has not been used since 1998 and is known as Champex-Lac Artillery Fort. Tours are available.

Champex is situated on alluring Champex-Lac. As we walked alongside the lake, we decided that an afternoon snack was in order and stopped in at an attractive lakeside restaurant, Le Cabonon.

After an iced coffee and a fondue, we walked another 30 minutes to our rifugio for the night, Auberge Gite Bon Abri. Immediately off the trail, across a field, we arrived at the rifugio, a large, sprawling building with plenty of outside space where, today, visitors could bask in the afternoon sun.

There was even a ping pong table at our disposal. Our rooms were simple but clean and cheery.

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