TMB: Day 7. How did all these people get on the trail?

Note to self and future TMBers: Don’t save the Chamonix stretch for your last day of hiking.

I forgot that with all the cable cars from the Chamonix valley, on a beautiful, sunny Sunday, the trails would be swarming with day-hikers. Not that’s there’s anything wrong with day-hikers. I work as a guide on these very same trails and frequently bring groups of 20 slow moving people to block your way. I apologize now to all you TMBers trying to finish your grand adventure while passing large groups stopping for picture ops and taking off layers.

I felt a level of frustration today that I hadn’t anticipated, but all I had to do was look around at the all-pervasive beauty and get over it. Still, I wasn’t in my groove.

jump on the La Flégère cable car to get an awesome view of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley.

You can jump on the La Flégère cable car to get an awesome view of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley.

I was glad to get the opportunity to hike up to Brévent which was much rockier, technical and rougher than I had imagined. Springing chamois greeted me near the top, and it felt like I was taking pictures of the mountain goats I see in print when I read my weekly horoscope. Was I seeing a representation of myself, the Capricorn — steady, independent, free? I would like to think so.

Bounding Baby Chamois.

A bounding baby chamois (mountain goat).

Maybe I really am a mountain goat?

Maybe I really am a mountain goat?

The not-so-well marked trail descending from Bel Lachat to Les Houches was absolutely brutal on my aching knees, and I was forced to take it nice and slow down the steep, slippery slopes and walk with intention. I wouldn’t be making it back up to the Col de Voza in time to catch the afternoon train down to finish the TMB. Just before les Houches, the statue of Christ-Roi greeted me with his awesome grandeur and reminded me it was ok to wake up another day on the trail.

The Christ-Roi statue was build in 1933 by Georges Serraz and looks over the Chamonix valley above Les Houches.

The Christ-Roi statue was build in 1933 by Georges Serraz and looks over the Chamonix valley above Les Houches.

After a quick pizza, I put my throbbing knees to bed around 9 pm in hopes of an early start tomorrow.

Day 7 recap:
Le Tour to Les Houches
8.5 hrs hiking
Refuge: Hotel Chris-Tal, Les Houches

Advertisements

Chamonix, you’re cool!

The site of the first winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix wins my vote as the coolest mountain-town in France. Plus, any city with a significantly highly percentage of handsome, rugged, adventure-seeking, outdoor-loving men to women ranks high in my book 😉 But really, tucked in the Arve Valley with unbelievable views of the all-powerful Mont Blanc, the Aiguilles Rouges and all those pointy Aiguilles (needles) of Chamonix, a zillion yummy restaurants (tartiflette, anyone? For those of you who haven’t eaten this rich, creamy concoction, it’s potatoes, onions, bacon and melted cheese all baked into a gooey, artery-clogging mix), and fun bars and cafes on every corner, Chamonix is perfect in any season. Mountain biking, hiking, skiing, rock climbing, trail running, ice climbing, paragliding, rafting, squirrel-suit jumping, you name it, you can do it here. Now I just need to learn to ski so I can go back in the winter…

image