Beaucoup de Papillons. Adventures by train! Martigny to Orsieres 20km 475-900m with some up and down.

We discover the little Co-op Pronto petrol station at the end of the campsite bakes its own bread and pastries and is selling by 6am. After breakfast we start walking up the Dranse. This is a tributary of the Rhone which disappears over to the east somewhere in another valley. Our route is tortuous and we marvel at the determination of Hannibal’s army in getting elephants and troops up what was unknown territory. There are two right angle bends in our route both look far from the obvious way forward.A few km from the site we are following both road rail and river and the valley is narrow. We end up on a path that points us at the railway line with no crossing. We had missed the signpost hidden by the tourist information board! We scramble across the line looking for a way up to the path above us. Tim slips, a train is coming’ Tony hurts his hand helping Betsy down a wall. Ray always the fall guy gets told by the train driver to go back to the station to cross.
We retrace our steps licking our wounds wondering if the police will be sent to pick us up.
An hour or so later there is no pursuit we are high on the walls of the valley deep in steep woodland with many butterflies.
Towards a village we see a sign Pedibus, this seems to be a system of supervised walking to school of small children. What a good idea!
After dropping back to the road in Semirancher we get coffee or beer or both in the case of Betsy. She is trying avoid repeating yesterday’s nap by taking coffee with her beer. To be fair she has tried this before but usually been thwarted by the bar staff who know better than stupid foreigners how many people are in the group. Or by whoever is ordering who cannot quite bring himself to order both. This seems to work and she and Tony race ahead up the route Napoleon took on the way to Austerlitz. Ray and Tim are again distracted by a meadow of dozens of butterflies including at least 3 possibly 4 species of frittilaries.
As eventually get together in the Hotel Terminus opposite the station in Orsieres. This place should do us breakfast about 7am tomorrow ready for the push up to advanced Basecamp with all gear tomorrow An excellent walk today up a lovely alpine valley. Gy

Link to where we are on Google Maps

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