The frontier Italy-France: Col du Grand Ferret Italian Home
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Stage 3

from Rifugio Bonatti (2020 m, I) to La Fouly (1610 m, CH)

Uphill difference of level / in height 800 m
Downhill difference of level / in height: 940 m
Refuges on the way: a restourant on the valley floor by Arnouva (1759 m), Rifugio Elena (2062 m), some baitas near La Peule (2071 m)

Average duration of the path: 6 h

A very hard and fatiguing day leads us out of the Italian boundaries into the quiet and tidy Swiss side of the Val Ferret. We set off after a huge breakfast and cover a long walk on the side of the mountain that offers us a superb view of the Grandes Jorasses, after a steep descent we reach Arnouva (1759 m). Here Riccardo tells us he cannot stand the pain at his knee, which was already hurting him as we started our journey. He will take the bus to Courmayeur, leaving us just after two days. We wait with him for the bus and then set off again (with a mate less and some unhappiness more) (less in number and a little bit sadder): we must still cover a long distance. We reach the overcrowded Rifugio Elena in less than one hour, take refreshment there with our dried fruit and chocolate bars and then start climbing the peak of the Col du Grand Ferret (2537 m) that we eventually reach at about 3 p.m., not without much effort. The peak of the mountain, that signs the border between Italy and France, is completely surrounded by clouds, reducing the visibility to some tens of meters, and is slashed by a very stark wind: we must immediately put on our jackets, hats and gloves. The path starts then grounding down interminably towards a group of baitas near La Peule, where it is possible to buy milk and cheese. There starts a long asphalt road (terrible for our knees); we go through the tiny but very nice village of Ferret ((where it is possible to spend the night, in case you are very tired) and eventually get to La Fouly.

It is 7 p.m. when we finish pitching camp; we eat a frugal dinner, just some bread and cheese, though washed down with a good bottle of red wine (everything bought in the very expensive supermarket of the village). When we start heating some water on the camping cooker to make a tea the sun has already went down and it begins to be very cold; at about 22 we enter our tents to spend the night under a sky becoming more and more cloudy and menacing.

Just leaving the Rifugio Bonatti, on the path leading to Arnouva The Mont Dolent from the Col Ferret
On the way to Arnouva, not long before Riccardo leaves us UA beautiful view of a waterfall from the path ascendine to the Rifugio Elena
The Val Ferret from the path leading to the Col Ferret Crossing a meadow to find the path lost in the fog