Although the temperature said -2 C with a 20 km wind, the sun was shining. I decided to head off down the mountain and get as far as I could. Echevennoz, a small town, was a possible destination, but the city of Aosta would be better.
A Slow Descent
The descent of 1230 m looked intimating. I took it with care. The last thing I wanted was to get hurt on the first day of my VF.
The Great St Bernard Tunnel
The Great St Bernard tunnel entered at my right and came out many places down the valley. Some version of it would be with me all day as seen by the structure up on the hill. It is an incredible feat of engineering.
A couple I’d met on the TMB had driven through it. Years ago, they said, there was a head on collision. An explosion followed. Dozens of people were killed.
Since then, exits were in at regular intervals. And cars were spaced at 150 m. “At that distance,” the man said, “you can barely even see the car ahead of you.”
Where are My Friends?
The TMB had opened up a love in me of the high peaks, and my eyes returned to them continually. It would snow for two days where they’d continued to. Part of my heart had gone with them.
While in Orsières, I’d seriously toyed with finishing the trail. But I wasn’t dressed for the upcoming storms. I’d already found that out.
My Shin Hurts!
About an hour in, my right shin started to hurt. Not my left. Just my right. By a few hours in, every step was a jab of pain. This ended even considering reaching Aosta, another 14 km away and an altitude change of 650 m.
For those reaching Echevennoz and needing a place to sleep, the Ostello is basic, but clean. The couple who run the Trattoria manage it.
Right before exiting the village on the VF, take the left path down to the church. The Ostello seems attached to it. The Trattoria is to your left.