Day 4 started out well. A bit of downhill, a walk through the valley floor, then a steep, quick, uphill section before leveling out until lunchtime.
Gorgeous views of the mountain from at or near the highest point on the trail - 2420m. On the steep climb up I am really slow and Raymond was just walking behind me cheering me on. Like you can do it! It was like my own personal cheerleader!
After the climb up the path is just gradually downhill or level with beautiful views and lots of cows. It was so nice that it wasn't a hard, steep, uphill climb. It does end up going down to Mason Vielle restaurant where we stopped for some cold beverages and ate our lunch before continuing on. Unfortunately the afternoon was just super steep downhill to Dollone and Raymond ended up hurting his knee on the way down. It was a few hours of that steep steep down and was really hard on my joints as well.
After Dollone you head across the river to Courmayeur where we stopped to take a break. We got there around 3 and I left Raymond at the visitors center and headed off to try and find some treats and something for his knee. Only it is Italy where everything closes in the afternoon so nothing was open! I was so tired by that point and just wanted to lay down and do nothing. I did run into the Irish people again even though they should have been a few days ahead of us as they kept taking the shorter alternate routes. They said their joints were all killing them after that downhill to Courmayeur and so they took some rest days to try and recover.
We were thinking we would need to try and skip a section as it was as we were worried we wouldn't make it back in time, so we were going to try and skip ahead 2 days and take a rest day to rest Raymond's knee. We asked at the visitors center if there was an easy way to get to Ferett or La Fouly Switzerland and they told us yes, just take this one bus up the valley. So we hopped on and it took up within like 2 miles of where we wanted to go, but those 2 miles in a straight line were actually up and over a pass. We had passed a campground on the way up there so we just went back and set up camp there for the night and we would figure out how to get to the other side of the mountain the next day. The campground was beautiful and no one was there when we got there. It was kind of strange as there were buildings, but no people. Eventually we found the people who worked there and paid and got some treats (the cheapest treats on the trail!) and it was really nice. That bus ride up there was a really steep, windy, narrow road and the trail pretty much follows it. If we were hiking we would have just climbed by the road all day to get to almost where we camped which was interesting.