Onward to Switzerland
See our video recap of Days 7 and 8 here.
The breakfast was plentiful and hearty. As usual when available, I had yogurt, granola and fruit. We left out from the hotel at 8:50 a.m., and it was 10 a.m. before we started up the trail.
The first two and a half hours were all up. We stopped just before Grand Col Ferret for a picnic lunch. We had beautiful weather and lovely views down into Val Ferret, though the vista was not as dramatic as in previous days. At the col, we crossed into Switzerland and began the downhill leg of the day’s trek. The guidebook mentions a small side path just a few minutes after the col that provides a grand look into Switzerland. We left our bags at the intersection and walked the few feet to the lookout, which was indeed spectacular.
We continued on until reaching the dairy farm of La Peule where we stopped for our first Swiss shandy and chocolate. Here the trail splits and the main route takes a more scenic path while a variante follows a farm road down. We missed the signage and accidentally took the farm road. Along the road, I noticed dozens of these tiny bugs that looked to be electric blue beetles.
We arrived at Gite de la Lechere at 3:30 p.m., for a total hiking time of 6 hours and 40 minutes for the day. This was the only place where we had a bit of trouble with our reservation. The owner questioned me and asked if we had confirmation, which I did. She was not fully satisfied with the email I provided, though she said everything was fine. (There was plenty of room, so it was odd that she made a bit of a fuss.) Neither Derek nor I felt completely comfortable there, and the dorm room was quite small and cramped. We loosened up later in the evening and had a nice dinner where we met a couple of Dutch guys.
There was an abundance of food, and it exceeded our expectations. We were served vegetable soup, salad, Dijon chicken with pasta and chocolate pudding.
While we ultimately had a fine experience there, in retrospect, we would have proceeded on to La Fouly, which was just a short, easy walk away.