“Less is more” is a maxim used by artists of the minimalist school to explain their way of seeing things, i.e. you can usually improve a work of art by taking things away from it. You repeat it like a mantra as you buckle up your rucksack, which you’ve packed very conscientiously. You’ve been very careful to keep things down to what’s strictly useful and necessary: rations for two days, warm and compact sleeping bag, headtorch, lighter, toothbrush, mini-towel and your trusty Swiss army knife. After all, you’re going to be transporting your kit by leg-muscle power alone for the next 36 hours, so “less is more” indeed.
On the big day, you make your way to Le Châble to meet your group and your guide, Mélanie. You get on the post bus heading to Mauvoisin, where things start in earnest. This first day is all about walking: you have a hike of about six hours ahead of you, in the protected natural landscape of the Upper Val de Bagnes. During the walk, you take the time to gather the ingredients needed to prepare your supper, following Melanie’s wise advice. She’ll also tell you a bit more about the farming that goes on in the valley. But what really makes this day special is being immersed in this exceptional natural environment: chamois, mountain goats, bearded vultures, golden eagles – iconic creatures that you may be lucky enough to see if you keep your eyes open.
Finally, the time comes to bed down for the night. You lay your sleeping bag down in an “ître”, an old shepherd’s bothy in the high pastures of the Val de Bagnes, whose stone walls will shelter you for the night. You join your fellow participants in preparing your meal, put together with what you’ve gathered during the day. As you eat it, you hang on your guide’s every word as she tells stories and legends of the Val de Bagnes. Your several hours of walking have finally had their effect, so you are quite tired and sleep deeply, cradled in this peaceful night. The only sounds you hear are those of the natural world around you.
You wake up perfectly refreshed, relaxed and eager to start this second day of hiking. A hearty breakfast to get your strength back, and you’re off again! Today, Mélanie’s going to take you to discover a local mountain pasture, with its uses and traditions. It’s the chance to learn a bit more about the farm animals and the local products that are the pride of the Upper Val de Bagnes.
The region is crammed with interesting places to explore. Depending on the path that’s been chosen, your guide will give the hike a specific theme. She will tell you about what makes the Upper Val de Bagnes so special, whether it be its geology, fauna, flora, nature, or human-made features – the subjects are varied and endlessly interesting.
And here you are back at Mauvoisin, where the post bus awaits to take you back to Le Châble. You head back to the bottom of the valley, already a little nostalgic for the two timeless days that you’ve just experienced, in harmony with nature and the elements. This total release has allowed you to refocus on the essential, and you feel better equipped than ever to get back to your everyday life. Mission accomplished!
* The experiences and itineraries described are examples only and may vary at any time in line with the forecast weather conditions, the make-up of the group or the choices of the accompanying guide.