Statistics: mileage 10 miles ascent 3875′ descent 3865′ 6 hours

Everyone was up at 6:00 in our male dominated dormitory, all of us dressing in the dark and preparing backpacks. We left Trient to rejoin the TMB trail at La Peuty.

The Trient Glacier was just above us as we walked by.

The next three hours were a steady climb. Eventually, we could just make out the Col de Balme refuge.

Refuge du Col de Balme is a stark block of a building on the Swiss-French border. The personality of the proprietor matched the look of the building, very unfriendly. The views from the Col de Balme, however, are spectacular and well worth the time taken to enjoy it!

As we ventured out just beyond the refuge, we were amazed to see the Vallée de l’ Arve and Chamonix in the distance, Mont Blanc.

The views in the other direction revealed Lac d’Emosson and its massive dam (white bar in center of picture, with the lake behind it).

The trail continued up the Aiguillette des Posettes amid juniper, alpenrose and lupine.

Reaching the summit of the Aiguillette des Posettes, we took a celebratory photo.

The panorama before us was so appealing that it took discipline to pay attention to where we were walking.

Toward the end of the crestline, the path dove down the hill in a series of switchbacks.

While admiring Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles Rouges, we realized that we could see our rather intimidating route tomorrow as it zig zagged up the mountain (trail in the center of picture!

The long, knee-grinding descent ended at Tré-le-Champ and the flower-laden, 18th century Auberge la Boerne, our destination for the night.

We were warmly welcomed as we arrived at this cute, cozy refuge with little rooms tucked everywhere. Our bunk room had a door to a balcony with a convenient clothes line to do a little laundry.

Boot racks are available in each refuge, since boots are not allowed inside.

Settling in, we each ordered our afternoon snack (I had a fruit crumble with ice cream) and joined everyone on the patio for a game of Yahtzee. We were surprised to realize that we knew all the people at the auberge.

The evening activities after the family style, yummy dinner were much the same as Day 2 at Refuge des Mottes. Someone played the accordion and all joined in singing with arms entwined while swaying back and forth to the beat of the music. Such special memories!

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