Tuesday 22nd August: Day 3, Tour des Glaciers de la Vanoise, Refuge du Fond d’Aussois to Refuge de L’Arpont

What an awful night’s sleep! The German man who we’d been chatting to over dinner, in John’s words, ‘snored like a pig’! After an enjoyable dinner, we had an early night and I fell asleep by 9 o’clock and didn’t hear some of the others in the dormitory come to bed. However, at 11 o’clock I was wide awake listening to the snoring, and could hear John was restless in the bunk above, obviously also disturbed by the noise!

Today’s walk has made up for the rubbish night’s sleep though. It’s been really beautiful, and not too difficult, mainly on a balcony path contouring the hillside, which was relatively easy underfoot. That said, we have done over 20k with 800m of ascent.

When we left at 8.20, after a good breakfast, the sun was just coming into the valley, lighting up the refuge and the plain where pretty cows were grazing.

Soon afterwards we heard a man running up behind us. He was trying to catch us to take some photos for the Aussois Tourist Board, and walked with us for a bit. Who knows we may be famous this time next year… or we may be edited out of his video! Anyway, he kindly took our photo with my camera too.

The views over the reservoirs in the valley below, with the mountains beyond, were beautiful.

After reaching a ski lift, we turned into another valley and there were lots of people getting ready to paraglide. We followed the path, which wound around the hillside, in and out of gullies, and then gently zigzagged upwards, while 6 or 7 paragliders soared above us, catching the thermals.

It’s been a hot day and a rather long hike, but because the ascent has generally been gentle and the path hasn’t been too technical, the walking has been very pleasant. The stunning scenery also helped!

As we were starting to flag near the end, the sight of the refuge was very welcome. At this point, we turned another bend in the path and were greeted by amazing waterfalls, flowing down from the glaciers above. There were so many of them, I didn’t know which to photograph first!

We trudged up the steep path to the refuge where we sat in the sun on the decking with a beer. Bliss! Here we said goodbye to a British couple who we met last night. Unfortunately they left it late to book and couldn’t get into this refuge, meaning they had another 4 hours hours walk, on top of the 7 we’d done already. Watching them go, we felt really sorry for them.

This refuge is lovely. It’s modern and quiet, and in a beautiful location. The sun deck is perfect in this weather, with stunning views all around. Dinner smells delicious, and we have 2 lower bunks, and are hoping for a quieter night.

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