Hello from Chamonix, France.
Chamonix is a cozy, valley town filled with many shops, cafes, restaurants along with many buff, healthy people. It is a destination for skiers in the winter while the summer inhabitants include hikers, para-gliders, marathoners, and any other extreme sport you can think of.
The temperature is hovering around the 28-32 degree mark, very warm and unusual for this time of the year. There was a marathon event here on the weekend that brought 25,000 extra people to Chamonix – it was a zoo! It is back to normal now but I felt for those poor runners running in this heat.
We have waterfalls, Mont Blanc and surrounding mountain ranges, rivers and glaciers that provide a beautiful backdrop to this town. Below is the train station which happens to be just across the street from our hotel.
We had our first group meeting on Saturday evening where we met our CEO Juliette who will be our guide for the week. She is wonderful! She lives only one hour from here and know the area very well. Our group has a great mix of nationalities: Australia (1), Britain (1), Canada (3), Norway (2), and US (4). They are an awesome group and we get along very well!
On our first day of hiking, on Sunday, our group met up at 8:30 AM and we took Chamonix public transit to the LesHoutes cable car where we ascended part way up the mountain. We trek uphill further to get spectacular views of the mountains, glaciers and valley towns below.
This section of the morning trail is fairly narrow but not too steep.
We descend for the next few hours and from running races you know that for all that downhill, a crazy uphill is lurking in the near future. We sat in a meadow and enjoyed our lunch before we hit the steep ascension back up the mountain pass.
The trails today are varied: standard mountain trails, local dirt roads, grassy meadows and narrow/steep mountain pathways with cable fencing for support if required.
Here we are – heading out after a little water/shade break. There were spots along the trail where we could top up the water bladder with cold, clear water. It was awesome!
The unavoidable incline back up was difficult, especially in the heat. We eventually made it to the cable car which took us back to the base. There just happened to be a small bar across the road from the bus stop which came in handy for a quick cold beer until our bus showed up to bring us back home. A great day!