Les Houches to Les Contamines

Despite a rather hot night, we all got some sleep, which meant that Catherine was awake for the walk, which helped.

A steep plod up an easy track took us to the Col de Voza, with great views of Mont Blanc. From here we had a choice of routes and Catherine threatened to undermine the whole concept of the expedition by beginning to hint that maybe we should take the harder option. Needless to say we didn’t.

So back down the other side it was, and then up the valley to Les Contamines. It was extremely hot and Les Contamines seemed a bit further away than was strictly necessary. The route took us on some steep wooded paths and minor roads, and, although very attractive, seemed at times to be taking the line of most resistance. 12 miles or so today with a Scottish Munro of ascent (and nearly descent). Very easy paths, the only real problem being the heat.

We have used Airbnb to get a tiny apartment, which is really set up for walkers. There are loads of them here as the Tour du Mont Blanc goes through here. In fact our route has coincided with that extremely popular trek all day. The supermarket is just 2 minutes walk away, which should be manageable.

Ready to start again

Catherine had been working at the Kendal Calling Festival so we had arranged to pick her up and her little tent at 5.30am in order to get to Manchester airport in time for our flight to Geneva. It turns out at that for festival goers 5.30 in the morning is late at night rather than early in the morning and we collected her straight from the staff party. As a result she has been falling asleep at every conceivable opportunity and seems to have trouble grasping what the word ‘today’ means.

In fact we needn’t have been so early as the plane was 2 hours late leaving Manchester. We got a Chamexpress bus, which, with an ironic nod to the convenience of motorised transport, dropped us at our hotel door. The Chamonix valley is as dramatic as we left it, and the hotel is more or less exactly where Judith and I finished last year. So we can start again where we left off, but now with our narcoleptic daughter.

2018 plans

We are getting ready to continue our north to south trek through the French Alps. We finished last year at Les Houches near Chamonix, and we will travel there on Monday 30th July to start walking on Tuesday. This year we will walk as far as Modane, which is a walk of a little more than 100 miles. I don’t think that sounds too much for a 2 week holiday. But we couldn’t help noticing last year that those pesky Alps are very hilly and those miles will include 9500m (31,100 feet or so) of ascent and descent, which is rather more than climbing Everest from sea level. We’ll take it nice and slowly though and hope for good weather. It is meant to be a holiday after all. The snow which lead us to use spare socks as emergency mittens last year was early enough in the trip that it has now dropped discretely below the ‘older posts’ button. So all sunshine and blue skies.

This year Edward is doing other things, but we will have our daughter, Catherine with us. As in 2017, I’ll post progress here when mobile phone reception allows.

Everything nicely organised!