Crossing Into Italy on the Tour du Mont Blanc

Posted on May 17, 2013. Filed under: Exercise, France, Italy, Tour du Mont Blanc, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Travel - TMB Mottets 1A stop for lunch at the Refuge les Mottets on the Tour du Mont Blanc is a good idea.  You still have a lot of hiking, a lot of uphill (up-mountain) hiking to do to reach the Col de la Seigne where you pass into Italy.  This is the only day I cried on the TMB!  From this point on it was so much uphill and I had marked a spot in the far distance where the pack mules had turned around a corner.  It looked like the highest point so I (stupidly) thought, “When I make it to there I will almost be at the Col.”  My group had left me in the dust.  I was alone save for the other hikers passing me up regularly!  I finally reached the mule-turning spot just as 2 fairly elderly people came trucking by and quickly passed me up when the trail turned and what did I see?  More uphill to go!!  Yep, a few tears were shed because I was bone-tired, and ready for the downhill that would surely come after the Col.

Travel - TMB Mottets 2Ah, you know what, that’s ok, because a little cry can clear out the cobwebs and give you some new perspective.  I dug down deep and kept going.  What else could I do?  And as far as the people passing me?  Well, they obviously grew up in mountains and had been hiking in mountains all their lives, so I was comparing apples to oranges!

The Col was actually not that much farther.  So when I got to the pillar that marked the border I was relieved.  My group was waiting for me and we had a little picture time and rest.  It is amazing how just a little rest can make all the difference.

Travel - TMB Mottets 3

There is no border protection at these hiking crossings.  I guess it’s too grueling to get there for criminals!  One thing you’ll notice is how windy it always is at the top of a Col.  It’s like a big funnel for the air moving around the mountains.  The views are always spectacular.  And of course, now the downhill does start, which comes with its own problems.  Even gentle downhill becomes painful after a few hours of it and in the mountains it can be hours of one or the other, uphill or downhill.  At first, though, after all the struggle to get up here, the first 1/4 mile feels so good and easy!  Yes, it’s only about that far before you realize this is actually going to be harder because you are jamming your joints with each step fighting the pull of gravity rather than muscling up against it.  At least here you are now heading into the last stretch and you know a shower, meal, and bed are waiting.  For us it was at Rifugio Elisabetta which was quite a treat.

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