Tour of Mont Blanc – Part II (loads of pictures!)

Alrighty, well with the story of how we ended up here over…..all we really have left is walking….walking…..and more walking….. so I’ll keep it to mostly pictures with some bits and babbles along the way.

So on the morning of day 4, we set off from the Rifugio Elisabetta en route to Courmayeur.  After the initial climb, things levelled out for a few kilometes of rolling trail.  The trail meandered above the valley and teased us with views of the peaks hiding behind shifting clouds.

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We were delighted by several happy marmot spottings! TMB 2-105TMB 2-106

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Can I tell you a secret?!

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After a few hours, we found ourselves at Refugio Maison Vieille for a Coke and rest before tackling the endless decent into town.TMB 2-109 We eventually started down…..down….down…….into the town of Courmayeur downnnn below.  I don’t think this picture does it justice….it quickly became an endless and steep zig zag down a hill into town.TMB 2-110TMB 2-111TMB 2-117

Once we made it into town, we were in hot pursuit of something to fill our bellies!  3 pizzas and a few beers later we were ready to check into our hotel.

We checked into our room for the night at Residence le Grand Chalet and were delighted to find out they had a hot tub!  We love hot tubs…..and so that was our evening…..TMB 2-118

until we just had to eat moreeeee fooood!!!  It gives us great pleasure to watch the waiters’ faces when we ask for three entrees (a pizza, gnocchi, and ravioli plus a liter of wine and dessert)…..”Are you waiting for someone else??”  Nope, we just need a lot of food – OH! and can we have some bread?TMB 2-119

and of course dessert!!TMB 2-120

The next morning we set off……to climb up more hills!  Thank God for all the flowers to  slow Matt down!TMB 2-122TMB 2-123

After the first bit of endless climbing for the day, I decided we should do an experiment…..

First Matt paced out 10 of his steps…..then I paced out 10 of my steps behind him……multiply that gap by A LOT of steps every day and you discover the extra distance I get to walk compared to him!  Guess thats some real “Chasing Davis” for ya…… (Matt: We are still walking the same distance BUT perhaps she is on to something… She takes more steps and I glide over a lot more terrain)

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We eventually made it to our home for the night, Refugio Alpino Walter Bonatti.  This “refuge” is AMAZING.  If you could give a refuge stars, this one deserves 5+.  The setting is beautiful, the food is beautiful, everything is beautiful.

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Nothing to worry about, its pro-active foot tape.  My feet are quite happy!

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I could have stayed there another few days, but alas, we’re off.  The start of day 6 was quite lovely, probably for some reason I thought Matt told me the climbing wasn’t going to be so much today…….TMB 2-135TMB 2-136

But, alas…..we found a mountain to climb.  Its probably good the clouds rolled in because it disguised the endless path ahead.

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Although seeing this in the distance didn’t help…..

 

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We eventually made it up and over and down the other side, taking the “alternate high route” into the town of La Fouley.  The alternate route was very nice and gave a break from some of the crowds.  After dropping down into the valley, we noticed significantly more hikers as the next few sections of the trail are much more accessible and offer more accommodations.

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How quickly I forget the hard parts!

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Our next two days were pretty straight forward.   From La Fouly, we took a bus to Champex since we needed to cut out a day and this one seemed least exciting.  We stayed in Champex at La Penion en Plein Air.  The next morning, we went from Champex to Trient, staying at L’Auberge (more of a cattle-call of a hostel due to high volume and minimal options in the area).

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In the morning, we took our time and let the droves of people set off ahead of us.  We opted again for the alternate route on this stage between Trient and Argentire.  I was a little nervous of the “chain assisted” portion mentioned in the guide book but it turned out to be A-OK,

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The “chain assisted” section – I obviously still thought I was going to fall to my death and therefore had to walk as close to that wall as possible…..
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We were met by some rain and winds

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Our refuge for the night was just outside of Argentire at Refuge Le Moulin.  Simple accommodations with great food and a very chipper hut master!  We took the bus into town to get some pastries!

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Pastries!!

The next morning, we woke up to blue skies and snow capped mountains!  What a treat!!  We did not have very far to go today so took plenty of time to soak up the views.

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Our sites for the day were set on Lac Blanc.  Matt read about this spot in the guide book and really wanted to head back up into the mountains before we finished in Chamonix.  Due to my deep hatred for ladders and ledges, Matt found an alternate route up that only had 2 short ladders!  As we walked up, up, up we enjoyed some truly phenomenal views and the occasional helicopter running delivery loads to various huts.

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After a bit, we found ourselves at Lac Blanc!  WOW!  The aqua blue waters were unbelievable!  Matt quickly set his sights on a pass sitting just above the lakes.  I hung out at the lake and watched the little ant-sized Matt Davis scamper up the hillside.

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It didn’t take long for us to settle into the beautiful Refuge du la Lac Blanc.  We enjoyed a steady stream of snacks, hot drinks, and a very delicious dinner.  As the afternoon and evening rolled on, the clouds rolled in again and we thought we had settled in for the night….. until someone suggested going swimming and Matt could not resist!!  The swimming ended about as quickly as it started, but it gave us all a good hoot! (Matt: It was by far the coldest body of water I have jumped into!!!)

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In the morning, we woke up to clouds and light showers.  With a pretty firm cut-off time (catching the last bus back to Geneva) we set off with the goal of one last dinner in Chamonix before heading home.

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Luckily, the clouds lifted a bit and gave us some final teaser views of the peaks!

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I opted for the lift down to town to salvage what was left of my knees.  Matt continued on a bit further and galavanted down the hill to meet me for dinner in Chamonix.  We ordered raclette….which Matt maybe thought was something else….but none-the-less we attempted to tackle a giant block of melting cheese with a variety of meats and potatoes.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Bob says:

    Amazing pics as always! Finally my kind of adventure, well the food part at least. Um, no thanks on the chain assisted walk! Oh and you know how I feel, Kelley, trying to keep up with Zack walking. Love you guysbob

    Like

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