Day 30 – Tuesday, August 27 – Cabane du Combal to Dolonne – 12 km
711 km walked so far, average of 23.7 km per day.
I did not sleep well. I was dreaming about the Fibonacci sequence for some reason, and that translated to waking up a lot. My throat was also drying out a bit.
I coughed up some dark orange stuff right at first, but then nothing. I’m still not stuffy, but I am coughing a bit more, but it’s really not a productive cough. But I definitely felt worse this morning.
They had me sitting with the main group for breakfast, but I asked to move by myself because of my cough, and we don’t know if I’m contagious.
I started out right before 8. It was a climb right from the start. I still did ok. I’m breathing a bit heavier, but there’s really no rasping or wheezing. It was mostly business as usual, except just a little more difficult. I am feeling a bit of general fatigue, from not feeling well I imagine.
It was absolutely gorgeous. The scenery was just amazing. I stopped a lot to take pictures. I got passed by some of the Colorado group. The marmots were whistling and there were cows too, but no bells, which I found odd. The cows were quite vocal.
At the top of the climb there was a big box that said somethings bout helicopter rescue. I even saw the helicopter later.
I had coughed occasionally on the way up, but once at the top I couldn’t stop. It got better once I started back down, though. We’re really not even that high.
The views were just stunning today. These mountains are amazing. And the sheer immensity of the Glacier du Miage moraine is mind boggling. The amount of rock deposited over the years is staggering. Really impressive.
It was a pretty nice walk down.
Right before I got to the main ski lift area, Jean and John caught up with me. They really are amazing. They’re in their 70s, and it’s impressive that they are both in good enough health to do this. They are speedy on the downhills.
We sat down for a bit at the tables at the Refuge. Jean had heard from some ladies that the descent into Courmayer was awful and almost dangerous. She was wondering if I’d heard anything. I knew people had said it was steep, but I couldn’t imagine it was worse than descending into Les Hooches. Not only was that steep, but it took forever. The descent into Courmayer wasn’t nearly as long, so how could it be as bad?
It was a steep descent from the ski area. I followed a road at first, but then it cut down right by the ski lift and followed under it for a while. Well, I guess it’s not technically a ski lift, since the cabins are enclosed. Idk what it’s called.
I had been following two guys down the road, but they took the lift down. Probably not a bad option. Jean and John were ending in Courmayer, so they felt like that would be cheating right at the end.
They left me in their dust. It really is very impressive. It was a lot of very steep switchbacks, but it only took a little over an hour. It was difficult, but it could have been worse.
As I was walking this morning I decided I was going to try to take a rest day in Courmayer, God willing. I really should have planned it in from the start, but I wasn’t sick when I made the plans.
When I got to the bottom and started walking into town, Jean and John were waiting for me to say goodbye. That was nice of them. It was fun to keep running into them. After this they are spending a week walking in the Dolomites.
Even though it was only shortly after 1, I headed off to my hotel. I was hoping they’d let me wait in the lobby until check in. I asked if I would be able to stay two night, and he said yes, but he’d have to move me to a different room. He said he was upgrading me to a room with a queen bed and balcony. I don’t know how much I’m paying, but I don’t really care at the moment. I’m relived I get a rest day. This illness has been progressing so slowly, I don’t know if I’m going to get better or worse, or is it going to hang on for weeks? Hopefully one full rest day will be enough.
A guy I had seen on the trail had checked in already. He was asking about where to dry clothes. The hotel has a washing service for 15 E, and the same for drying. Or, there’s a self laundry in Courmayer, which is across the river, maybe a 10-15 minute walk. The laundry is right by the pharmacy, and not too far from the grocery.
I took a shower and emptied my bag, deciding what to wash. I haven’t had a machine wash in 3 weeks, and I definitely need it! I stuffed everything into my sling bag and headed off. I had debated about doing it today, or waiting till tomorrow, but I’d rather have the option of not having to go out tomorrow if I need it.
I had to walk down a hill to the river, then back up again, but it wasn’t too bad. It’s a nice little touristy town.
I found the laundry, but there were only two machines. One was 10 E for a wash and the other was bigger, for 12 E. I was there first, but the machine only took coins. I went to go get coins, and someone else had taken the smaller machine, but they didn’t have coins either, so had to go get some. It’s only a 2 E difference. But I really should have brought my sleep sheet as well. I was afraid the machines would be super small. Oh well.
It said 27 mins for a wash, so I went to the pharmacy. I got some vitamin c effervescent tabs, and some voltaren gel for 19.80 E. Pharmacy items are soooo expensive. I went to the grocery, but it was small and cramped, and I had a hard time deciding what to get. They didn’t have any pre-made sandwiches, which I’m sure they would have sold a lot of. I ended up buying a lemon tart for 6 E, and two bars of laundry soap that came in a package, and some cherry cookies. They didn’t have any healthy, convenient food.
I headed back to the laundry, and there were two American girls waiting for the washers. It was fun talking to them. One of the girls had been going to walk part of the Camino for a week, but came with her friend to do the TMB instead. I gave them my other bar of hand soap, and they were debating about whether they should use the washer at all.
I decided not to use the dryer for 7 E, but just bring everything back to air dry, since I have two days.
I really hope I feel better after tomorrow and not worse.
I rescheduled my reservation with Refuge Bonatti, and I emailed Refuge Frassati. When I was looking at that pass, I realized it was going up to 2900m, which is higher than I’ve been so far. I think having the option of stopping in the middle is a good idea. My guide thing says it’s a 3 hour stage, but I can’t see how going up 900m and down 400m only takes 3 hours… especially not with how I’m feeling.
I headed to find dinner nearby in Dolonne, instead of crossing the river into Courmayer. I ended up at a pizza place, and I got a mixed salad and a pizza with eggplant, red onions, and artichokes. It was very good.