We were strongly advised to begin our trek with two gondola rides from Chamonix, taking us more than 5,000 feet up above spectacular terrain to Le Brevant, more than 8,000 feet high. Clouds blocked our view across the valley to Mont Blanc and made visibility poor for most of the day.
So, after ascending into the clouds, all we had to do is walk to Les Houtches, about 10 miles away, but more than a mile below. It is impossible to describe how challenging, exciting, tiring, painful, and wonderful it was. We walked across snow fields and hung on to railings and chains as our feet made their way on rocky ledges. Most of the way, each step had to be measured.
The skies held their moisture most of the way, but there were a few episodes of icy rain and we finished with an hour of rain.
We arrived at our hotel after seven hours, exhausted but filled with vivid memories of our first day on the Tour du Mont Blanc. We shall see if we can walk when Day Two begins!