TMB: Day 5. Switzerland: Squirrels, Fungi and Cheese!!

A passing hiker took this candid photo of me on the trail today!

Don't judge me; it was the morning and I'm not looking my best.

Please don’t judge; this was taken pre-coffee, and I’m surely not looking my best.

As I crossed the border from Italy to Switzerland, my body told me it wanted to slow down a bit and stop every 12.5 minutes or so to blankly stare at something new and extraordinary (Now I was in Switzerland!), take a picture, or eat a small snack. I didn’t mind complying and decelerating a notch. The weather was perfectly gorgeous again, and the trail shepherded me through a valley alongside a healthy river and through neat and tiddy towns with colorful shutters and friendly Swiss hikers. I was especially grateful that today wasn’t going to be a big day of climbing; I could just soak in the new scenery and chillax a bit.

I really hadn’t been hiking in Switzerland until today and many things stood out as new and fresh! I’ll remember you, Switzerland, for this comprehensive and impressive list.

Drum roll please…

-Colorful shutters

Orange shutters are fun. France take note!

Orange and yellow shutters are uber fun. France take note!

-Cute trail markers

I want to be hiking with a happy little dog!

I really want to be hiking with a happy little dog!

-Squirrels both real and crafted

Two squirrels roasted a marshmellow...no wait, a mushroom!

Two squirrels roasting a marshmallow…No wait, a mushroom?!!?!

Vive l

Vive la TMB. Is that a fox, maybe?

-Nicely stacked wood.

'Wood is wealth,' as my friend Elmer likes to say.

“Wood is wealth,” as my friend Elmer likes to say. By the way, I miss you, Elmer.

-Things that squirm.

Colorful larvae.

Colorful larvae.

-Mushroom Wood Carvings.

DSC04918

-Cheese.

And this is only the beginning. I stopped for a very late lunch in a small café and this is the only thing they are able to make me. I thought it was going to be bland, but it was delicious. White bread, butter, creamy cheese. Can't go wrong with that.

I stopped for a very late lunch in a small café and this is the only thing they are able to make me. I thought it was going to be bland and BORING, but it was delicious! White bread, butter, creamy cheese. Can’t go wrong with that. 🙂

And here's the inside of the café which was quiet during the off-hours.

Here’s the inside of the café which was quiet during the off-hours. I was the only one. Even the owners were downstairs washing dishes.

-Oh, and the woods.

Today was my first really wooded day on the trail, and it was such a nice change of pace.

Today was my first really wooded day on the trail; what a nice change of pace. Tree cover makes me feel cozy and protected.

Despite being such a snail today, I still walked over 25 k and made it to my reserved hotel in Champex Lac in the early afternoon. I shared dinner with four sore Spaniards from Madrid with blisters galore on their poor feet and a Belgium couple who was hiking the high route over glaciers. Although Americans resided in all my refuges/hotels, the staff always placed me at the French or Spanish speaking tables, and that began a source of pride for me and a realization that maybe, just maybe, I actually fit in here in this foreign land with these foreign languages. I jumped back and forth from Spanish to French as I said goodnight to my new friends.

I closed my eyes wishing it weren’t already Night 5 and nearly over.

Day 5 recap:
Hiking Refugio Elena to Champex Lake
8 hrs
Hotel: Chalet Au Club Alpin

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