Mountain Hiking – Big Small Contrasts

Posted on November 26, 2013. Filed under: Photography, Switzerland, Tour du Mont Blanc, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Travel - Swiss GrasshopperThis large green grasshopper greeted me along my way hiking in Switzerland.  I’m sure he was congratulating me on completing a very hard ascent and descent of the Fenêtre d’Arpette of the Tour du Mont Blanc.  I had to stop and admire his gorgeous green with black accenting.  He actually had big expressive eyes for a bug!

Travel - Swiss Fenetre

One of the things I love about hiking in the alps is the wonderful contrasts of enormity and the diminutive.  I am a slow hiker partly because I am overwhelmed by the environment and I cannot rush through it.  A hike here is not just a good workout in nice surroundings to me, but rather a chance to really step outside of normal life and lose myself in a place.

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Tour du Mont Blanc – Fenetre d’Arpette at Last!

Posted on September 20, 2013. Filed under: Switzerland, Tour du Mont Blanc, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Travel - TMB Fenetre 4

We went back this year to the Tour du Mont Blanc and hiked a piece of it we missed last year.  Bill had a sore knee and this variant of the route warned of joint-crushing boulder climbing so we took the easier, though no less scenic, Bovine Route.  This year, feeling better, we went up to the Fenetre from the pretty little town of Champex Lac and then back down to the town.

Travel - TMB Fenetre 1

Here is the view of where we were going.  The little dip in the skyline right above the road is the Fenetre.  Doesn’t look so far, huh?

Travel - TMB Fenetre 2

I think this was probably the hardest way to do this because the route on the other side looks less rocky from the pictures I’ve seen, but we had a great place to stay in Champex which made for a nice thing to look forward to after the hard hike.  We also had a car which made it more difficult to do through hiking this time.  As you can see this is a very rocky path, and this is after the harder part of nothing but boulders.  If it weren’t for my trekking poles I could never have done this!

Travel - TMB Fenetre 3

At the top, though, there is quite a payoff with an amazing view of the Trient glacier, and the world’s tallest dammed lake.  I was amazed that it wasn’t very windy.  Every other Col I had been to had been brutally windy, but it was calm and sunny this day.  Really, we had perfect weather, lucky for September.Travel - TMB Fenetre 5The gourmet meal at the lovely Hotel Alpina at the end of the day really hit the spot!

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The Tour du Mont Blanc as a Gateway Hike

Posted on July 10, 2013. Filed under: Switzerland, Tour du Mont Blanc, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Travel - TMB as a Gateway HikeWriting this blog about our experience on the TMB last September has been a great way to relive the memory.  It has also been a great way to let the effect of the trip saturate my whole year producing a longing to get out into mountains again.  Be warned:  If the TMB is the first long hike you are doing, you may very well get hooked on this type of vacation!

So, the tickets are bought and the planning has been done.  We are going back to do one day of the TMB we missed last year, the Fenetre d’Arpette in Switzerland.  That day we did the easier Bovine route which was wonderful.  The Fenetre d’Arpette, though,  is more difficult and gets you to the second highest point on the trail at 2,665 m (the other being the Col des Fours at the same altitude which we did.)  We’re going to go back and conquer it.  We will be fresh, though, without all the other days of hiking behind us so it should go well if the weather cooperates.

Then we will be off to the Italian Lakes and then the Dolomites.  I have lots to report after this next trip, but I do believe I’m thoroughly hooked on mountain hiking due to the TMB!

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