Since I’ve graduated to the title of mini-expert extraordinaire of the Tour de Mont Blanc, I would like to offer some insight into your most pressing, imitate TMB questions!
Who should hike the TMB?
-Everyone with good balance, good knees and a good pair of walking sticks! Really, I saw grandparents, little kids with little backpacks, people of all sizes, shapes and shoe preferences, mountain bikers, and even a couple of donkeys! You can always take extra rest days and some of the bus transfers in the valleys if you need an extra little boost, just ask my Parisian friend. Go on, you can do it!
What essentiels should I bring?
I like the packing list on the website ‘Walking the TMB,’ although it might be a little bit too extensive.
Here are my absolute essentiels:
–Walking sticks (They save your knees and give so much support)
-One hiking outfit
-One refuge outfit
-Silk sleeping bag liner for the orphanages
-Ear plugs (Don’t forget them like me; they’re hard to find on the trail!)
-Music (I really like listening to my IPod for a couple hours of day when I get tired)
-Journal & pen
-Thermos & good tea
-Trail running shoes (I prefer them to hiking boots)
-Small first aid kit
–And all the other necessary stuff…underwear, toiletries, snacks, you know.
Should I reserve my bed at the refuge ahead of time?
-If you plan on hiking in a big group, yes, you will have to reserve ahead and stick to your itinerary. I found that I could always find a bed (even in busy August) for one person if I called the night before. That allowed greater flexibility depending on how I felt and meant I didn’t have to keep canceling reservations, which many hikers do when they realize the itinerary they planned out from their laptop in the big city didn’t pan out like they thought it would on the trail with the addition of rain, fatigue, blisters, etc.
Is it safe for a woman to hike all by her little-lonesome, womanly self?
-Yes, and it will force you to reach out and meet lots of wonderful people when you feel the need. I’ve never felt any danger on the trails or in the refuges.
Who wins the MPV award for your Tour, Lady?
-My magenta thermos, of course! Having mid-morning tea on the trail was just too good to be true. Isn’t she gorgeous?! Make sure to bring an assortment of tasty teas.
I love you, Thermos!
Can I mountain bike the trail?
-Hell yeah! Especially if you have sexy calves and are a ridiculously skilled biker! The mountain bikers I crossed paths with were pretty bad-ass and were able to bike everything except the stretch above the Chamonix Valley. Bells on all bikes, to warn the hikers, would be a swell addition to your VTT packing list.
What’s your favorite alpine flower on the trail?
-Well, thank you so much for asking! Check out these moisture loving Scheuchzer’s Cotton Sedges. Even the name is cool. I love how light and airy they are in the wind and sun. Simply stunning!
When will you go next year?
-Email me, and we’ll set a date 🙂