A walk to a beautiful alpine valley and and evening among cows.
Refuge de Tighjettu to Bergerie Radule (Stage 5)
Distance 14km, 665m elevation gain, 975m elevation loss.
We set off down the valley under clouds and distant thunder. Forest of massive pine trees. Arrived at the Bergerie de Vallone in about 45 minutes. Very happy to have stayed at Tighjettu the evening before, as it was a nicer setting than Vallone. Vallone is fairly short hike out to a road, so it is serviced by mules instead of helicopters. We saw a team of mules heading out as we arrived. Most of the people who took the shuttle and skipped the previous day’s stage hiked in from the road and stayed overnight at Vallone.
There were spatters of rain early on, but it blew over. We had to hike around the ridge that was to our right at Tighjettu. What started out as a wooded walk gradually steepened as we swung right around the end of the ridge. Up a new valley, presenting a view of Paglia Orba and the magnificent cliffs above us.
As we start ascending, the path switched back to the scrambling and rocks of previous days, but no chains or cables. Patchy sun, a lot of cloud rolling in and out, but very hot when the sun came out. Cloud kept blowing over Paglia Orba. We scrambled up the side of the valley, the rocks were already dry despite the rain. It was interesting when we looked to the other side of the valley, it was a nice green meadow all the way to the Bocca de Foggiale. But the designers of the GR20 thought it would be more fun to stay on the north side, and scramble over all the rocks and cliffs.
The Bocca de Foggiale is a nice green meadow at 1980m, and the view over the other side could not be more different from the previous days hiking. A rolling green alpine meadow lay before us. We could see the Refuge de Mori and our trail across the valley, only 40m of elevation left on today’s hike.
We traversed to the refuge to enjoy cheese omelettes and gorgeous alpine views. Paglia Orba refused to leave the clouds so we decided not to risk the scramble ☹, as it is described as the most technical scramble on the GR20, with some exposure. We have 4 high points to summit on our hike, and because of the weather we are 0 for 2 so far.
We descended on soft dirt path along ridge, pure decadence. Down into valley on a braided trail, past an abandoned bergerie, then weaving among rocks and day hikers. The valley was even hotter than the ridge. The valley gets narrower, crossing two bridges over a stream which runs over smooth slabs, before coming to the Bergerie Radule. It was more of a snack shack really. There were cows around, but the farmers do not live at the bergerie full time. The snack shack was staffed by two teenage boys, who did not seem overly service-oriented. We set up camp and watched the day hikers stream by.
There were some people with mules at the bergerie when we arrived. They were not carrying supplies for the bergerie, but hiking with their small children. They used the mules to carry their hiking supplies and the kids. The kids had helmets on for the ride and we would see them again the next day, a cool way to get little kids out into the mountains.
As the evening wore on, the two teenagers entertained themselves singing badly to Beyonce while playing bocce. They left around 6pm. Initially thought we had the place to ourselves, but a few other groups arrived late in the evening. While there was a shower stall, cold water only, there was no bathroom?!
The snack shack was in a bit of a state of disrepair. On closer inspection, with just a little work, it could be quite spectacular. The eating area out the back had an amazing view of the valley. We spent a quiet evening and went to bed early.