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City: Canon City
Begins: Sep 18, 2016
Date: Wed, Sep 14th, 2016
Start: SW of Argentiere
End: Les Houches, France
Entry Visits: 377
Journal Visits: 1,382
Guestbook Views: 6
Guestbook Entrys: 0
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Tour Du Mont Blanc, Final Day
It was great to wake up and watch the sun peek over the big mountains to the east. I took my time and goofed around before finally heading south down toward les Houches. Jeanine and Patrick caught me about twenty minutes into the hike as I sat below a glacier and treated my water (I still had another few weeks of vacation in the UK and didn't want to take a chance with giardia). We saw more Ibex as we hiked, but nothing as close as I'd seen the evening before. It was another day of perfect weather and we made great time over the trail. We stopped at the Chalet de la Flegere for hot chocolate, the pressed on, going through a few ski areas, one with some significant construction that definitely sullied the scenery. There were a couple stout climbs through the Col du Lac Cornu and again to the Col du Brevent, before we finally reached the highpoint at Le Brevent. It's a huge tourist spot, with a gondola that delivers people up the mountain to take in the views from the peak. We sat and ate the last of our food, and enjoyed a couple of cans of juice from the restaurant.
Finally, we began our last descent back down into town, and a long descent it was. It seemed that we dropped for hours, with the towns, first Chamonix-Mont Blanc, then the town of les Houches never seeming to draw closer. Along the way, Jeanine flushed a small snake, but we couldn't get a good look at it - we're wondering if it may have been an adder. We hiked down and down and down, through the boulder fields, past refuges and animal parks, past le Christ Roi (a massive religious statue overlooking the town), until we finally reached civilization again. Jeanine and Patrick led me through town to the Gite de Michael Fagot where we met back up with Lighthouse, who hadn't felt well enough to tackle the hike today. We all took hot showers and scrubbed our laundry in the sinks, then wandered out to find dinner.
We ended up at a tiny little restaurant with three tables. We had the traditional Swiss dinner of Raclette Cheese, and a meat platter with pickled veggies and chilis. We had salads, and of course, Ice Cream!!! The owner, a sweet French guy, joined us for an after dinner digestive of Genepi, made of Wormwood.
I can't believe the trail is over already - it seems like just yesterday that I first messaged Lighthouse asking what he knew about the trail. It's an incredible hike, but I'd definitely recommend other hikers try to hit it in the off season. I can't imagine trying to get through in the worst of the busy hiking season. Even in fall, we had pristine weather, and it couldn't have been prettier.
I'd definitely like to come back again someday and hike it again, but I'll be taking more time if I come back. There are so many little side trips and other places to explore that I feel that we missed out on quite a bit. I'd also try to stay in a couple of the higher elevation refuges as well. We camped outside the Refuge Robert Blanc, and briefly got a feel of what it would be like to experience that aspect of hut to hut style hiking, but only stayed inside for our last night.
Tomorrow morning, we'll be bussing back to Geneva to the airport. Jeanine and Patrick are taking the train back home, and Lighthouse and I are going to Scotland. I've still got another two weeks of vacation in the United Kingdom, and my best friend from the States is flying over to play tourist with me. Unfortunately, Amber isn't a hiker, so I won't be tackling any of the long Scottish trails on this trip.
If you have any questions about the TMB, please don't hesitate to email me. I'm by no means an expert, but might be able to give you some insight to the trail.