Day Three – Aigle to Saint-Maurice – 17.4 km (10.8 miles)
The weather and the scenery were the stars of today’s walk. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful day, and with a short distance on the itinerary I had an opportunity to pause and take inventory of how I’m doing on this walk.
After about nearly 70 km, my body is starting to show some changes. I can already tell that it is adjusting to the distances. Most of the time my legs feel good. As I walked down a hill today I realized they feel very strong. Thank you yoga. My skin is turning dark as usual and the mild rashes on my legs are familiar walking companions. On hot days I almost always develop Golfers Vasculitis. On the first day’s walk I developed an odd rash on my mid-upper thighs, but it is slowly disappearing. I’ve been wrapping my toes and applying HikeGoo to my feet each morning before walking. No blisters. Knock on wood. My appetite is changing too. In the first days I would ravenously eat anything in sight. Today I left the B&B with just a pastry and a bottle of iced tea. That turned out to be plenty of food until my midmorning break when I downed another pastry. I had lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Masengex, to get something more healthy, and then had just a handful of peanuts for an afternoon snack. Even after three days I can tell my clothes are getting a little looser. All the changes are welcome and they all feel to be a natural part of adjusting to walking these long distances.
This is a good thing. Over the coming days the altitude gradually increases to about 2,469m (8,100 feet) elevation at the crossing of the Great Saint Bernard Pass. I’m currently at 414m (1,358 ft). So there’s a lot of elevation to gain over the next three days.
Today’s walk was mostly level, with the last 3km in the hot sun. The white waters of the mighty Rhône River share the valley with the highway and the railroad tracks, which gets a little tricky as the valley narrows to just a couple hundred meters before opening up again at the pleasant village of Saint-Maurice. The town is home to an Abbey that has been in continuous use since the year 515 AD.
Hiking Notes: Again the official route goes for greenery and solitude which means mountain paths. Bikers have the easy route on the valley floor, so Alison Raju earns the award today for smartest route.