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Mont Blanc Tour - Day 2

Les Contamines -Mountjoie to Les Chapieux

Description

Les Contamines-Montjoie to Les Chapieux; 11 miles (about 7 hours of walking), challenging, 4,395-ft. elevation gain, 3,260-ft. elevation loss. If for any reason, you wish to opt out of this walk, as it is not possible to join the luggage transfer, your guides can arrange a private transfer at your own expense (cost of approximately 250 euros for a 2.5-hour transfer).

Lodging

Hotel l’Autantic
69 route d'Hauteville
Bourg Saint Maurice, France Tel: +33 479 07 01 70
Email: bonjour@hotel-autantic.fr Website: autantic.fr/

The Day

This was our BIG hike day with 4,395 feet elevation gain (and 3,260 loss on our way down). Everyone was a bit nervous. Good thing Day 1 was a mellow hike to build our confidence!
After breakfast and packing up we took a taxi/van to the end of the valley. Contamines was a Roman camp and we started our hike on a Roman Road from Norte Dame de la Gorge. Norte Dame de la Gorge was a special place for Leonardo Da Vinci. Near the end of his life he travelled by donkey from Rome to NDG! This was recreated to celebrate an anniversary of his death.

Surroundings were lush and green and we hiked in the shade next to a river (hence the gorge). We also saw a Roman bridge. Carinne pointed out the vegetation growing on the peat bog. Because there are few nutrients in the soil, the plants are carnivorous! Don’t walk barefoot on a peat bog!

After an hour or so we could see our mountain pass, the Col de Bon Homme way up there! The hike was fairly steep and rocky. Everyone did great and there was no whining or complaining! We saw sheep herds grazing at high elevation. Our guide told us that wolves came back to these mountains just a couple of years ago . Les loups jaiment les moutons. (The wolves love sheep) so this was a problem for the shepherds. They started using big scary guard dogs (subsidized by the government). These are different dogs than the nice friendly sheep herding dogs! Hikers need to be cautious and not approach the sheep!

After the pass (the first pass!) we enjoyed a spectacular picnic of cheese, ham, salami, and possibly the best tomatoes and melons on the planet, with bread of course. All the while enjoying a view of a dam and reservoir below. This dam was constructed by the Germans during WW II to power a munitions factory. The dam and factory are still in use by the French. They now build aerospace parts. After this beautiful repas we ascended a second pass, also fairly steep and rocky, phew!

I was a little worried about our descent because of my knee but it was a piece of gateau! Very smooth and not too rocky or steep! Surroundings changed to open meadows with more grazing sheep. We watched out for those dogs! At the bottom we soaked our feet in a nice cold stream.

Our taxi was waiting for us and we travelled to our hotel. We were pretty fatigues and I actually fell asleep on the tile floor while elevating my legs. But we recovered and Kevin and I took a swim before dinner, very refreshing!

Photos

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Posted by rewagner 14:39 Archived in France Tagged tmb-2

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