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TMB Day 8: Champex to Trient

Friends, Arguments, and a Legendary Raclette

September 9, 2020

cow trio walking

TMB Stage 8 Anti-Clockwise

16 km
850 m
GPX File
Map map of the hike

After a good night’s sleep, we met up with our friends for breakfast then set out on the trails. I noticed that the heel pain that appeared on the day before did not go away during the night. Strange. Maybe my body had too much cheese to recover.

To reach Trient there are two captionernatives. The low route through Alp Bovine, and the high and challenging one through the Fenêtre d’Arpette (2665 m). The latter is steep and rocky, and we hadn’t initially planned to do it. But given the bright sunny weather and our companions for the day, we were seriously considering it. I made the call to skip it because of my heel, disappointing the fellowship. We parted ways and decided to meet up at our destination.

Along a waterway, on our way to Alp Bovine.

With hindsight, I’m unsure if I should have done it. My heel was still aching two weeks after completing the TMB. I guess it was a good call not to push it, lest I get a strained heel. Plus, I had my heavier-than-usual backpack. I still wonder if my body would have been able to make it. Probably.

We made a good time that day. Swift on the ascent, we probably had some frustrations to vent because of not doing the Arpette.

Soon enough, we reached the crest and had a beautiful view of the Rhone valley and the town of Martigny. Roughly 200 meters further, we had the signs of the Alp Bovine. Cows. So many cows. And cute calves. It seems that the name of the place is not innocent.

alp bovine
A glimpse of Alp Bovine from the other side.

We had to negotiate our way between the cows to reach the restaurant. We spent some time in the sun, enjoying some cake and drinks, while fellow walkers were struggling to traverse the growing population of cows (lunchtime!).

We quickly resumed the walk and descended along the bisse in the Trient Valley. At one point, a vertiginous catwalk helps us along the path. The view of the valley is stunning.

Valley of Trient from the Bisse

We arrived extra early at the inn, breaking all previous day records, and settled for a salad (finally something else than cheese!) We enjoyed the sunny afternoon on the terrace.

Our friends finally reached the inn a couple of hours later. They told us that the Fenêtre d’Arpette was beautiful. Hard, longer than expected, knee crunching, but beautiful. We told ourselves, looking at the bleeding scratches at their knees, that we made the right call not to do it (excuses!)

After a fantastic raclette made of cheese (duh), tomatoes, and (wait for it) beer, we played some board games in the common room before finally heading to bed.