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Wild camping struggle in Italy?! Is it even possible? | Day 7 of TMB to Courmayer, Rifugio G. Bertone
In today's episode of Tour de Mont Blanc we hiked from Plan de Veny to Courmayer, Rifugio G. Bertone in Italy.
Watch the full video here:
The morning of that day was very cloudy and chilly with lots of humidity and wetness in the air. It was one of the first cloudy mornings on the trail. We woke up quite early at 6 am and were just chilling out in the tent for a while. We were so grateful for the privileged location that we camped in yesterday evening. The views from the site were incredible with the massive rocks and waterfalls coming down from them right in front of us. It was so beautiful that Angelina even got desire to draw a quick sketch of this view just for the souvenir sake.
We got out from the camping quite late at 11am because we had an accident with that map application we are using for GPS. It was accidentally deleted with all the maps of the countries and regions when trying to update other application and freeing up the space. And so we had to download them once again. And the Internet access had a limit of 500MB of use so it took quite a bit of time to do so.
We knew that in front of us there is another mountain to climb and we didn't want to do that today because we were doing one mountain every day the last several days and got a bit tired. So we had a plan to get to the village Courmayer and then to look around in search for the camping spot.
All the first part of the trail we were walking along the pavement car road with a gentle downhill which felt so easy and great. And fortunately there wasn't much traffic on it. We still got the amazing views of the mountains, Mont Blanc in the clouds, waterfalls and glaciers. In about an hour or so we were in the village Courmayer. We hoped in the supermarket in the last moment before it was closing for siesta and bought some local products to try like cheese, focaccio bread, cherries and some yogurts. There were quite a lot of cheese variations on the shelves and many of them we have never seen before.
The town Courmayer was a nice village with lots of rock buildings and beautiful views all around. We would even stay there for a while because we like this kind of mountain villages quite a lot. There were a lot of pizzerias too, so we definitely had a plan to try pizza in it one day.
We had our snack and started to get out from the town. Unfortunately there were no campsites close to the village so we had to continue along the trail going uphill in search for some place there. We saw that there were some flat spots not far from the path but they were all too accessible from the route and parking down the trail so we thought it won't be a good idea to stop there. Also we continued seeing the camping crossed signs with no fire no littering signs together but we still wanted to believe that it was referring to a camping during daylight and not to wild camping for a night.
The trail was going up in a zig zagging style and it was easy enough all the way through. It was going through the forest with lots of shadow and the weather was very comfortable too. The weather forecast was apparently wrong saying that it will be thunder storming all day long. And it was great because the rain is able to ruin many plans. We were just quite tired to enjoy it because all the last days we were conquering the mountains and were pushing to the same muscle groups so they got quite a bit sore. Also we met a squirrel on the way which was a very pleasant encounter.
In about an hour and a half we got to the top of the hill and we had to do 800m of elevation from 1200m to 2000m. There was a refugee house staying on top of the mountain and we wanted to ask them whether it is possible to set up a tent close to them. We asked the receptionist about it and he definitely denied that. He said that in this region of Italy wild camping is not allowed in any place. That the refugee houses are a private business and if the owner will see the tent on its property he will be unhappy about it. Also he said that there are forest rangers and people can get fined but not always. So you can do it on your own risk. We felt really disappointed about that. In our opinion it is unfair to the people like us to not allow to stay in tent which was our own choice and personal preference. And we were even ready to pay some set price for the spot and using the toilet but it wasn't even offered to us. It wasn't even an option. France could do it differently allowing the bivouac for a night and we just didn't get it why it should be so different in the neighboring countries in the same mountain massif. Unfortunately we see that it is very commercialized because this trail is so popular and the prices are very high for everything. We are sure that there are people just like us who like to stay in tents and cook their own food and don't like dormitories and shared spaces.
So after searching for quite a while going downhill and uphill with almost no powers we luckily found a good place to camp. It looked like it was just made for a tent - so flat it was. So it was a real reward at the end of the day. So we had our buckwheat mixed with rice and cheese for dinner and very exhausted hoping that nobody will disturb us went to bed.
What is your opinion about wild camping prohibiton?