The Mountain is on its Side

Posted on October 22, 2013. Filed under: Italy, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Travel - Stratification 2This mountain in the Italian Dolomites had huge vertical lines of rock.  The mountain was very forcibly pushed onto its side at some point in its past.  The glaciers look to be still, but they are powerful movers, and any rock in their path better watch out!

I think the colors and patterns of the pushed rock is interesting to look at.

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Isaiah 64:1      Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence…

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Tour du Mont Blanc Snow Walking

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

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We walked the Tour du Mont Blanc in September so there was less chance of snow on our trek, but we did find it in a few places.  We trudged through some white stuff at the top of the spectacular Tête Nord des Fours (2756m), but only right at the top.

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It was strange walking in snow with shorts on!









Travel - TMB snow trekking 1And then there was this short stretch where the trail went right through a big patch of snow.  I think we could only tell it was truly the trail by all the footprints of others before us!

We didn’t have snow on our trip, but there were remnants, and others told us that just the week before our trip there were a few days of snow.  Make sure to be prepared for snow at any time on this trip.  The mountains are beautiful and also unpredictable.

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Chamonix, France – Telepherique Aiguille du Midi – 12,605 ft.

Posted on March 11, 2013. Filed under: France, Tour du Mont Blanc, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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Here is the view at 12,605 ft. (3842 m) of Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in the alps where 3 countries’ borders meet.  Switzerland, France, and Italy all share this mountain.  We got into Chamonix, France, the town at the base of the mountain after a bus to Chicago, flights to both Toronto and Montreal en route to Geneva where we caught a reserved van (by the skin of our teeth).  Exhausted doesn’t begin to describe the feeling.  But we were in France and we had the whole day free to buy a phone, get accommodations for tomorrow night after our first day of hiking, and go to the top of the mountain!

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There is the telepherique cable car coming to pick us up.  The tickets cost about $100 per person, but the ride is about 1/2 hour straight up!  It’s so long it takes two sections where you get out of the first car and wait for a second, more vertical rise.  It is the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world.  The cars are huge, I think I remember reading the max occupancy as something like 75 people!  In the second picture above you can see Bill packed in the middle with the town of Chamonix down below!  It is a bit harrowing, especially going over the towers when the cars bounce a little more and then toward the end when you are so close to the rock wall going up.

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Here we are at the midpoint looking out at the glacier tumbling down the mountain.  This is the first day I have ever seen a glacier in my life!  I begin to call them, “glah-see-airs” like everyone else instead of my usual midwestern American, “Glay-shures.”  This hunk of ice has been retreating up the mountain with the climate changing, and they’ve had to rebuild the water plant underneath it farther up, but it still supplies an amazing amount of water to the town below.  Water is rushing like crazy in the river below.  It is amazing to think about how ancient this water probably is.

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Here we are on the platform at the very top.  Before we started the temperature was about 70° F and here at the top we are at about 30° F.  Quite a difference!  Before we started I had a little headache from the travel and the time change (it’s now about 3:00 a.m. to my body).  Rising to the mid-level platform made the headache a little worse.  Here at the top my head starts splitting.  After a look around here I am eager to get out of this altitude.  We have to wait for the cable car down for about 45 minutes and during that time my headache gets so bad I start to feel dizzy and nauseous and I wonder if I’m going to pass out!  Finally the car comes and even getting to the mid-level helps enormously and by the time we get all the way down I’m back to just the little headache I started with.  Whew!

Travel - Chamonix 7We took our van driver’s recommendation on a brew pub for dinner.  Here I am enjoying a well-deserved glacier-water fresh beer.  Ready for bed!

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Tour du Mont Blanc Again

Posted on March 8, 2013. Filed under: Exercise, France, Tour du Mont Blanc, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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Today I’m revisiting my hiking adventure in the Alps.  Here I am on day 1 of the trip.  My shoulders didn’t ache yet!  But I also didn’t know the beauties that lie in store for me over the next 13 days.  This is the second day I ever saw a glacier in my life.  The day before was the first.  Driving from the airport in Geneva to Chamonix, France I couldn’t believe the gorgeous mountains with their glaciers!  I am wearing KEEN hiking boots and I was extremely happy with them.  I trudged right through many mountain streams that crossed the trail over all those days and not only didn’t I feel a drop of wet, but I felt sure footed throughtout.  I also never had a blister or really even sore feet much at all.  I attribute this to my KEEN boots!

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Here is one of the boot racks at Rifugio Elisabetta in Italy.  I must say I was reluctant to leave my boots unattended!  Hard to believe anyone would nick them, though, being that they were anything but clean!  And no one did, thankfully!

Travel - TMB Trient, SwitzerlandThis is the town of Trient, Switzerland with it’s very picturesque pink church.  Bill and I still laugh about the conversation we had on the very long switchbacks leading us for over an hour down out of the mountains to this town.  We knew we were heading to a town with a prominent church because the directions to our hotel used it as a landmark.  When I first spotted the pink church way down in the valley I said, “That’s probably the church we are looking for to find our hotel.”  Bill agreed until we were so far past it he said, “I’m sure it’s a different town with a different church we are looking for.”  But, alas, no, we turned and headed all the way back even past this town again before turning again and again winding our way down until finally we confirmed that the pink church is indeed in Trient!  One thing everyone who does alpine hiking will tell you, “The downhill is much harder than the uphill.”  This proved very true the day we arrived in Trient!

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