We arrived in Geneva on August 9, in the morning and had a long shuttle ride by beautiful and enormous Lake Geneva and up into the mountains on a very curved, narrow road to Champex Lac, a small, quiet resort town. Champex is in a mountain basin, high above the surrounding valleys. A large mountain complex, the Grand Combin can be seen across the lake. I had my first Swiss lunch, on the lake behind the hotel, of rösti, fried potatoes, covered in nice cheese, followed by wonderful Movenpick, Swiss chocolate ice cream. We went to the market and I bought cheese, chocolate and fruit, which were always delicious while I was in Switzerland. We were all tired and punchy from jet-lag and lack of sleep.
We stayed two nights in Champex and had an extra day there. We decide to do a preliminary hike out of Champex on our extra day before starting our trek. We started the hike through the outskirts of town past a lodge, houses and two prized Herens cows with their bell collars. Perhaps they were used in the local cow-fighting events. Soon we started to climb steeply up through the forest of Larch trees, evergreens, and deciduous trees. We climbed up a stream valley that was nearly vertical above us and turned to climb across the high ridge until we reached tree line and the open meadows above. In the high alpine meadows, we found a very rustic farmstead at a place called Bovine where the owners served food and drink to hikers. I bought a glass of wine and a nice piece of lemon cake to go with the sandwich I had brought. After lunch we climbed a short distance to a viewspot, where we could see the high peaks across the valley that held the large town of Martigny. Back at the hotel, dinner and lunch were provided as part of the board and were very nice, as they were at all of our lodgings. As at all the hotels, the dining rooms were very nice with wood-panel walls and interesting decorations.