A pleasant stage, short in length, and with relatively low gradients, with the only difficulty being the descent from Col Fenêtre.
The news of the day is undoubtedly the entrance into the Gran Paradiso National Park: the oldest in Italy.
The first section of the descent from Col Fenetre, very steep and crumbling, is equipped with a rope.
The only water point is in Bruil (Rhemes Notre Dame).
We take Alta Via 2, immediately starting the climb (approximately 500 m height difference) up to Col Fenêtre. The path is good, never exposed. Only the last part of the climb is slightly steeper and more demanding. Col Fenêtre (2,840 m), a narrow window between the rocky walls, opens the view towards the east on the Cima d'Entrelor (3,425 m), with the Gran Paradiso (4,061 m).
After a break, we start the long descent (approximately 1,100 m drop). The first section is perhaps the steepest in the Aosta Valley and the bumpy surface makes it even more difficult. After the first 500 m of negative altitude difference, we walk along the Vallone de Torrent and the path improves, although it tends to remain steep. We thus arrive at the bottom of the Val di Rhêmes and enter Bruil, a hamlet of Rhêmes-Notre-Dame.
After a short stretch on the road, we cross the Rhême stream, continue on the AV2 and begin the second and last climb (about 400 m height difference) of the day, on a good path in the woods. With a small detour, we can admire the Entrelor Falls from below. Resuming our steps, we enter the Gran Paradiso National Park and, with the last climb (decisive, but without sudden ascents), we gain the Pianoro delle Marmotte, which houses the homonymous mountain lodge managed by the volunteers of Operation Mato Grosso.
The Gran Paradiso National Park extends from the Aosta Valley to Piedmont around the Gran Paradiso massif: it is the oldest national park in Italy.
It was created from a hunting reserve of the royal house of Savoy, established in 1856, in order to safeguard the ibex in danger of extinction: only the sovereign had the right to hunt in it.
Finally, in 1919 Vittorio Emanuele III decided to sell the hunting ground to the state, which became a park in 1922.
Along the royal mule track stands the hunting lodge commissioned by King Vittorio Emanuele II, today a hut for the park rangers.
At the Rifugio delle Marmotte the cuisine (as well as the welcome) is exquisite, as well as healthy: highly recommended are the risotto with nettles and ratatuia (a typical vegetable-based side dish).
Rifugio Marmotte,in the Entrelor Valley. Tel. +39 389 348 8785
Starting point NOT reachable by car.
The nearest location reachable by car is Usellières.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The nearest locality reachable by bus is Valgrisenche, starting from the city of Aosta with a change in Villeneuve.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.