TMB: Day 4. The Highest of Heights, Beef Jerky and Dolly Parton.

Oh Italy. I love you. Not surprisingly, I got a late start today while lingering over my cappuccino and biscotti. My clients and I frequent Courmayeur throughout the summer, so I thought today was going to be rather anti-climactic as I’ve covered this part of the TMB numerous times during day hikes.

Boy was I wrong!

After the arduous but satisfying ascent to Refugio Bertone, I decided to take an alternate high-route to Refugio Bonatti along Mont de la Saxe up to Tête Bernada and Tête de la Tronche.

The photo barely captures the beauty of this trail.

The trail snakes along the top of the ridge.

I reached a point where I got pretty exhausted and a tiny bit cranky and stopped for a snack and a quick writing session in my journal. This is what is wrote:

I’m well above the soaring heights of birds of prey experiencing what might possibly be the most gorgeous and spectacular day of crisp, sunny weather that I’ve ever witnessed in the Alps. Today, I took a variant route between Bertone and Bonatti and am totally blown away. It might just be the best bit of trail yet. I also just had a breakdown moment that was, of course, directly related to my hunger and energy level. I should know that when I start asking myself foreboding questions like: ‘Am I lost?,’ ‘Will I make it to my refuge before dark?,’ ‘Am I almost out of water?,’ that I just need to chill for a moment, soak up the scenery and snack. After a handful of Teriaki beef jerky and three squares of chocolate (a girl’s got to ration), I’m starting to feel human again. My Ipod’s stumbled upon a seemingly semi-religious and rather catchy Dolly Parton song called ‘The Seeker’ (where did this song come from?), and my feet are tapping to the beat in my makeshift church in the heights where Mont Blanc and beef jerky reign on high.

A perfectly framed post-card perfect view of the mountains.

A perfectly framed post-card view of the mountains.

Thanks beef jerky! You saved my crabby soul.

Thanks beef jerky! You saved my crabby soul.

On my way from Bonatti to Refugio Elena.

On my way from Bonatti to Refugio Elena.

The sun was setting as I reached the refuge.

The sun was setting as I reached the refuge.

I reached Rifugio Elena as the sun was disappearing in the valley. The hospitality in the Italian Refugios is really second to none, and tonight’s dinner table was made up of the most charismatic and lovely French and German families. We laughed and shared stories over big bowls of spaghetti and glasses of red wine.

I really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

Day 4 recap:
Hotel in Dolonne to Refugio Elena
Walking 8 hrs
Refuge: Refugio Elena

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