Posts Tagged With: The Alps

A Cure for Post-Super Bowl Blues


Looking for a path away from the post-Super Bowl blues? Check out our short slide show from the Tour du Mont Blanc.

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Tour du Mont Blanc: Up through the clouds

We peeked out our curtain this morning with fingers crossed. The sky was gray, but dry. Perfect! We dashed down to breakfast at 7:00 am, eager to get an early start. We walked through a mostly deserted Champex, guidebook in hand, searching for our trail.

We anticipated a bit of a climb today, as we've had every day, and wanted to beat any change of weather over the col. Our day began easily, meandering through meadows and along a wide track through the forest. That soon came to an end and we found ourselves steeply climbing up and sloshing across roaring streams of snowmelt.

We were contemplating whether to climb over or shimmy under the gate when Reg gave it a push...and we easily walked through.

The trail narrowed and began a steady climb up into the clouds.

We spent 6.00€ on two small cups of instant coffee for the privilege of picnicking at the tables at this Refugio. It was perfect!

Trekkers need to pay attention to signposts or risk wandering far off course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We passed fields of cows today. This one was happy to pose for me.

Wild flowers were just beginning to bloom at the top of today's trail.

 

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Tour du Mont Blanc: Weather threatens to halt trek

Our view from our hotel room in Champex, Switzerland. A four-course dinner in a grand old dining room capped the day Thursday.

Lac Champex is just a few steps from our hotel. It offers several bars, cafes and stores. Winter skiing is its big draw.

Our hotel in Champex has a commanding view in several directions.

The blue skies of the past five days have gone and there has been a bit of rain, thunder and lightening today, a rest day in Champex, Switzerland. We met trekkers who had to turn back this morning from the next day's col due to lightening. They faced a 200€ taxi to the next town around the mountains.

Our trek Thursday to this 5,000-foot elevation lake town was advertised as the easiest day of the Tour. It was all downhill from La Fouly to about 3,400 feet. We passed through several tiny Swiss villages that were strangely almost deserted. So far, so good.

The guidebook said there would be a bit of a climb to the lake. Well, 1,600 feet was much less than previous days, but the steep trail featured rocks, roots and steep drop offs. We have learned there is very little easy about the Tour du Mont Blanc, except how easy it is on the eyes.

Switzerland is not part of the European Union, but there has been no passport control, even when we checked into our hotel. The Swiss franc is the official currency, but the euro is accepted here. The cashiers all carry huge wallets with both francs and euros. We have been using credit cards to get the best exchange rate.

French is the main language in this part of the country, just as we had gotten used to our Italian greetings.

We are to walk to Trient Saturday, but the weather might make the high cols impassible, mainly due to the threat of lightening. Our plan B is a bus-train-bus combination. We are very much hoping to be able to walk…we want to complete the Tour! (And we are hoping to avoid buses, trains or 200€ for a taxi.)

Help us solve the mystery at the bottom of this post.

Several pallets of supplies await a helicopter delivery to a remote Alpine refuge or hut.

A helicopter picks up one of several loads in Champex.

The helicopter is off, soon to return for the next load.

Today's cloudy view of the Alps from Champex.

This contraption has eight arms and rotates, but we could not figure out what it was used for.

What is this? We saw this machine a few days ago in a remote Alpine refuge that looked like it had once been a horse facility. Do you know what it is? Let us know by clicking on “comment” at the bottom of this post.

 

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Tour du Mont Blanc: Switzerland awaits

 

Our starting point this morning was in the valley far below.

Today, our seventh day of walking and our eighth day on the Tour du Mont Blanc, the trail led us 8,300 feet up and over the Grand Col Ferret and down into Switzerland. It was quite a climb!

Our first two hours of walking delivered us to Refugio Elena, strategically nestled into the hillside and sporting a spectacular view of the Glacier de Pré de Bar. Coffee on the deck and then it was time to push ahead.

The original Refugio Elena was lost in an avalanche in the 1950s. The Refugios are only open for the short summer season.

We made it to the top in time to enjoy the view during lunch.

We pose for a quick photo at the top of the col.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is taking us to dizzying heights, testing us every step of the way. It hasn't been easy, but it continues to reward us.

We wish our new friends a safe journey as they continue their trek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We've met some wonderful people on our journeys. It's one of the things we like most about trekking.

We met Dutch teachers Micah and Anna last night in La Vachey. This afternoon we walked to our destination of La Fouly together, the (mostly) gentle downhill allowing for easy conversation.

 

 

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