Wildlife of the Tour du Mont Blanc

Posted on April 28, 2013. Filed under: Exercise, France, Italy, Photography, Switzerland, Tour du Mont Blanc, Travel | Tags: , , , , , |

Travel - TMB Wildlife 2                 Travel - TMB Wildlife 1

The three main animals you might get to see on the 105 mile trek around Mont Blanc in the European alps are:  the alpine ibex, the chamois, and the marmot.  We were happy to see all three, although at quite a distance.  The 2 photos above are ibex.  The close-up on the left is used here by the courtesy of Charlie Posnick (thank you very much!) and the one on the right is mine.  You will probably have to click on the photo to enlarge it on your screen to see the ibex walking along the ridge here above the refuge Bonhomme.

Travel - TMB Wildlife 4           Travel - TMB Wildlife 3

Above left, trust me, are 2 marmots we saw.  (At the bottom of the ravine, about middle, and about in the upper right 1/3 of the picture, again, zoom in!)  These rodents can reach 2 feet long and 14 pounds!  They disappear into their holes pretty quickly so it was a thrill to see them even from such a distance.  On the right was probably the most thrilling as 2 chamois ran playfully above us on this hill.  Chamois are goaty/antelope- type animals with small curled horns.  I was proud of myself that I actually retrieved my camera fast enough to get them at all.  You can see the one against the blue sky at the left even at this size, I think.

Hudson and CharleHere are the two beasts I was most happy to see upon my arrival back home; our two dachshunds, Hudson and Charlie, or rather, sausage-dogs as the Brits like to call them!

Please note all photos on this site are either used by permission or are expressly owned by Mary McCluskey.  If you wish to use one, please ask permission.

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Tour du Mont Blanc High Crossing

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

 Travel - TMB view     Travel - TMB Bonhomme

The refuge of Bonhomme on the Tour du Mont Blanc is nothing to write home about.  It’s old and smelly, no way around that.  Hot water is at a premium and you will line up for your shower and pray it lasts until you get in there because every muscle aches and you don’t think you can take it if the water is frigid.  Since it is all a product of solar heating you know there is a real possibility of it going cold.  The food is bad.  You can’t believe the coffee is so weak it looks like tea.  Dinner is mishmash muck, but you eat it.  At breakfast you wait for the food while others are eating dry bread and honey until you realize that IS the breakfast.  This is a very dismal end and beginning to hard hiking days!

My night and morning here, though, were still glorious!  I had conquered a tricky high water crossing to get here.  A false step and I could have plummeted down the mountain.  Thankfully there is no algae on the rocks in the mountains so stepping into water and loose rocks is less treacherous than I expected.  The rocks are not slippery.  The view from the balcony is stunning.  In the morning ibex are running on the ridge above the refuge.  The air is so fresh it infuses every cell of your body with vitality.  This is the happiest place I have ever been!

Travel - TMB Bill          Travel - TMB High Cross

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