Rest in the Rain

Rest Day 2 – Tuesday, August 20th – Salvagny

The bed is hard and not great, but I actually slept very well. It helped that I was alone, because the night before was difficult. I just used my sleep sheet and the temperature was almost perfect. It was nice to get some really good sleep, but I am also just tired and dragging this morning.

I’m sure the weather isn’t helping. Today is turning out to be a perfect day to not walk. It is raining, HARD. A heavy, steady rain that I was hoping didn’t happen here. Maybe it’s only raining hard like this in the lower altitudes, but still, this is the kind of rain that it doesn’t take long to get very wet in.

Breakfast was good. I probably ate more than I should have, but I’m not planning on eating lunch. The host said he was going to take Bernard by car to a popular place in the area and he could take me, too, and then we would walk back. It’s about 8 km or so. In the rain. I said no. Getting wet on a rest day, just because, does not sound like a way I want to spend my rest day.  I also have some scheduling to do, so… no. Plus it’s REALLY raining.  Bernard said something about women being more intelligent than men. The host said it was my choice, that I could stay here all day if I wanted. Like that’s a worse choice than walking 8km in the pouring rain? 


So I am looking ahead at my schedule for the Tour Mont Blanc. I had been really intimidated by this whole walking through the Alps thing, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get harder than what I’ve already been through. After the last couple of days, I realized that I don’t want to schedule all of my days to be 7-8 hours, especially if there is going to be rain. I’m trying to get some shorter days in. 

There is a website, that helps you plan and reserve your refuges. Not all are reservable online, but the ones that are sure make it easy. 

The day leaving Les Houches, you have two options. One is considered harder but with better rewarding views. It won’t be too difficult compared to what I’ve been doing. But, the refuges available on that route are not reservable online. So I did a super hard thing and I called them! I said I speak a little French and started to ask but then she said, “you can speak English if you want.” Perfect! It all worked out, so my place is reserved for Friday the 23rd. 

I am still trying to figure out the 26th. One place I can reserve online only lets you reserve full rooms, but says to send an email if you don’t want a full room. I sent and email, but who knows if I will hear back quickly or not. The other option is Refuge Elisabetta, which has some really bad reviews, and you can’t reserve online. But I am not stressing too much, not like the last rest day. I’m sure the weather helps, but I’m feeling it today. 

I sent an email to cabane du combal, and then I actually took a nap. I had the window open and I could hear the rain and all of the other noises, but I still fell asleep. I don’t know how long I slept, it probably wasn’t very long, but when I woke up, I had an answer from the place! I’m all set for the 26th as well.

I decided to get a hotel in Courmayer. I think some guaranteed alone time after 4 consecutive nights in a dorm is a good idea.

Trying to figure out the next steps are a little difficult. From Courmayer, I start to make my way over to the Via Francigena. I turn onto the Alta Via 1 at Refuge Bonatti, but do I stay there, or stay at Refuge Frassati, which is at 2500 m? It would be at least a 7 hour hike from Courmayer, which I would be ok with, as long as the weather is good, and there’s no way to tell. I sent an email to Refuge Bonatti, so I’ll see what they say. From there it should be 6 hours to Saint Rhemy.

This is actually happening! Very exciting.

The WiFi isn’t good in my room, so I was in the common area working on uploading pictures, when Oliver from Refuge Chesery came in. He had stayed at Refuge Golese last night and came here. So I basically did two stages in one day. Another guy from Chesery showed up as well.

Bernard came back from his walk and he had some pictures to show. It was an area with many waterfalls coming off the mountain. It was very beautiful, but… I’m happy with my decision to stay here. I got some good things done. And it’s still raining. Tomorrow should be nice, but then, who knows?

I heard back from Walter Bonatti, I’m all booked for the 28th! That means I’m all set until Italy! And I’m slightly terrified because I don’t know Italian and idk how Italy works. AHHH!  I will figure out the basics. I need to learn how to ask for accommodation.

Dinner was lovely. We had a larger group. Tonight was tartiflette, which I’m glad I got to eat. I heard it was a regional specialty. It’s potatoes and lardons and cheese. I probably ate more than I should have because I didn’t walk today, but I really have a heard time saying no to good food. 

Today was a good day. A much better rest day than my first rest day. I feel good. I have my TMB booked. The weather is iffy, but I booked shorter days to help in case it really does rain all week. It will be ok! 



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  1. When we lived in England, Courmayer was one of the places we’d ski. Beautiful place. (The lift came into the hotel. Courmayer and Cervinia were favorites. The spelling may be wrong on Cervinia —the Italian side of the Matterhorn.

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