Friday August 17
Before I left to begin this amazing trek there are a few things I would like you to know. One: Anna is my hiking partner for this adventure, she is from Australia and we met in Spain on the Camino de Santiago last year. During our brief time together we exchanged numbers and said one day lets do a hike together. Shortly after I returned to the U.S. and Anna to Australia we had the TMB planned. We really had only known each other a brief time, however we had the same Birthday and easy going spirit with lots of laughs. Second: I had been not feeling well a few weeks leading up to our trip and while I was trying to train I could not believe how exhausted I was feeling. After seeing the Doctor and getting blood test the results were in. I had Mono and I had the worst case my doctor had ever seen, I was off the charts. As you may know, Mono lasts a long time and you are seriously fatigued as well as your muscles fatigue too. I wasn’t going to let Anna down and I thought for sure I could take a taxi and catch up later. I had four immune therapy IV’s to get me going and off I went.
Anna and I met in Geneva and spent the night and half a day there before heading to Les Houches, where we would start from. We took a bus from in town but you could go straight from the Geneva Airport to Leas Houches or Chamonix. The Geneva airport also offers a free ticket on the train to the downtown area. You get your ticket at a kiosk when you exit baggage claim.
The Tour du Mont Blanc has two main routes, clockwise and counter clockwise. Counter clockwise is the recommend route which we chose. In Les Houches we stayed at Gite Michel Fagot. This wasn’t one of my favorite places, the hostess was rude but it did the trick and it is across the street from a Bakery and Wine Bar. The breakfast is toast and coffee, pass and go to the bakery instead. 50 Euro for half board 7 Euro for picnic.
Day 1 Les Houches to Refuge de Miage
Down the street about a quarter mile you will fined the cable car up to Bellevue. The ride is well with the 15 Euro. I seriously suggest you do not hike that leg, no one really does. At the top you start, we chose to go Refuge de Miage , towards Les Contamines, which is the harder route. I did enjoy it, however the next day was even harder. I would consider going the lower route. Still beautiful.
When you arrive at the summit before heading down to Miage take a break and enjoy the view and your first huge accomplishment. If it has rained take caution as the hike down to Refuge de Miage is extremely steep and during the rain very slippery. Miage served a good dinner and had a comfortable bed, The showers were a bit primitive. 65 Euro for half board.
Here are a few pictures