It’s finally hut’s time again, snow is beginning to melt and hour 5 stars hotel far away from civilization are beginning to be reachable again.
We have decided to go to Borroz Hut, in the Aosta Valley, actually in the Clavalitè Valley. It’s a new hut to us, it has been Dario to advice us to go there, and him again have organized the whole weekend. It’s strange, for once, not have to take care of everything: phone calls, grocery, organization, everything. So thanks so much Dario, both for the organization and to bring us to an amazing place.
We drive on A5 highway Turin-Aosta up to Nus exit – for those who don’t know it yet, exit here means almost 10 € toll spared than taking the next exit in Aosta, just some kilometers after. Then we go on following the directions to Fenis. The road is paved and perfect until the little town of Lovignan and we go there by car, then still on a paved road but close to cars, we walk to the hollow of Pian Clavalitè at 1.525 meters.
We know it has snowed in this valley just a couple days ago, around 20 cm of snow and even if we still can’t see it, we know there will be a lot. So we decide to bring our snowshoes along with us, they will be useful eventually, our luck not fron the beginning.
Once we get to the end of this highway in the middle of the woods, a perfect one, even too much that it clash a little bit with the nature it is surrounded by. We finally get over it and end up in Pian Clavalitè, an amazing and wide hollow, totally whitened by the recent snow fall.
In this big flat we find some little home clusters, at this time of the year almost empty. The first one we pass by is the “La Rayetta”, a handful of nice home, for sure holiday homes, even because the access neither simple nor direct and to live here during the long, snowy winter – usually, at least – would not been easy.
This part of the trail is very relaxing, we walk deep into the cocoon-like silence made from the snow, the path totally flat, a perfect way to enter the mood of the weekend and warm up our legs.
We get to the last cluster of houses, it is called Celey and from here onward we are forced to wear the snowshoes: the snow is too wet, warmed by this sprin sun high in the sky and we are sinking knee-deep at every step.
Moreover, the tracks end here and we will be the one who have to track the way to the hut: we are the first ones to reach it after the winter snow.
Once we are done with the part of trail in the woods and the last little town, we enter the most evocative part of this trekking and of the whole Clavalitè Valley. We are almost at the tree line and they begin to thin out, opening up a great view.
Down there, on the backgroud, we can already catch sight of our destination, but there is still a long way to go.
The total heightdrop we will be walking today is more than 1.000 meters, but it is well developed along many kilometers on a nice path never too step. It is very nice walking this trail, even if the snow is pretty heavy; it’s actually a walk for everybody, even families with kids – well, just let the snow melt before, snowshoeing upwards is not that easy!
The landscape, nontheless this almost summer temperature – we are pleasantly wearing t-shirts! – it’s still a wintery ones, covered in a nice white layer. We stop many times, both to take some photos and to make our friends rest – is their first time snowshoeing and they are doing great – when Attilio says “It will end in all of my friends hating this hell of a gear – snowshoes – as much as I do!”
We are almost arrived, the refuge is closer and closer, just there, down the rock wall. We overcome the river and crossing the wall, here we are: we get to the Borroz Hut, in its enviable location right in the middle of this wonderful valley.
We enter, Dario and I, first ones while the other still have to arrive, and light up the stove with the wood logs neatly cut and piled in the room near the kitchen. Everything is ready to warm up the others who will be tired and hungry.
Once the fire is lightened, we have a nice exploration tour of the big hut – it is more of a Grand Hotel than not one of the nice but rough places we are used to! It has electricity thanks to a little solar panel, a gas kitchen with a full tank and all the dishes and tools needed for a great dinner.
This place could easily host a whole army department: a huge dinner room with a very big table and the kitchen with its table on the ground floor and 12 bunk beds on the big dorm on the first floor, for a total 24 places to sleep.
It’s more of a hotel than not a hut. Once Sara and Edo, the two late ones, arrive too, it’s time to celebrate: we uncork a wine bottle and enjoy a very italian aperitivo with bread, cheese and salami, sit in front of the hot stove, with a wonderful view from the windows opening onto the valley.
This moment, of the whole weekend we are usually spending in the mountains, is the moment I love most: relaxing after the long fatigue. Arriving, rewarded to get to the destination and have earned a good dinner, a glass of wine with the most loyal friends and watching in awe the fire crackle.
Drinking and chatting, it’s soon dinner time. We have a very chic dinner, in line with the place we are: sausages and a good pasta, soaked into some good wine and a sip of genepy – the local herbs liquor – to end it all, watching the stars.
Cold has finally come after the warm day, but it’s not too cold, spring is coming and we are happy to breath the cold frizzy pure air after a whole week in the city.
We talk a lot, the people we are with are long time friends and there is time to many stories and laughter, thanks to the wine and genepy too, then the eyelids become heavier: warm sleeping bags and compy beds are waiting, sleep comes in a matter of seconds.
Sunrise from the hut is just a wonderful experience: the mountain peaks are the first ones to get enlightened and we enjoy the show both having breakfast than after, while we walk upward to the Etsely shed at 2.440 meters altitude.
It’s just an hour or so walk, today, but only because it is covered in fresh, untracken snow and it gets harder to walk: during spring, when all the snow is melt, it will be a nice and easy walk and getting not too much further will let you enter the amazing Mont Avic Park, where we have recently been in a discovery exploration.
We will surely not forget that loop once the summer will come, but it is just a project as for now: once the snow melts, we will come back here again with a full backpack and some free days, free to roam around between Clavalitè and Champdepraz Valleys and obviously the Mont Avic Park.
Back to the refuge and again with the two lazy friends of us who did not come along, we clean and tidy the hut and get ready to come back home.
Along the way back it is impossible not to notice how just a sunny day and a night where the temeprature didn’t drop under zero, has make the snow level thinner and thinner.
Back in the hollow, we almost are not able to recognise the place: grass patch are everywhere, there where just 24 hours ago there was only snow. Soon the green will come, along with flowers and all the spring nature to born all over again, and we will be here to witness the magic of spring.
A last stop along the river, then we get to the parking lot and the car and the adventure ends.
Thank you Dario, you have let us discover a very amazing place, we will come back for sure, as well as in many other wonderful places.
See you next time!
This article is available : Italian