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Day 1 - Les Houches - Bionnassy - Les Contamines

This trip was different than the previous Great Treks as my companion was no longer the “Mighty” Kirk or a friend, but instead my beautiful, new wife Jennifer. Our journey to trek the Alps was probably logistically the simplest of any of the Great Treks. In stark contrast to the long multi-day excursions with extensive layovers, this was a relatively quick red-eye from Philadelphia to Paris and then a connection to Geneva. We then were just a bus ride away from the start of the TMB.

We hit the trail early, but quickly got lost. The lack of signs was definitely a foreshadowing of things to come. So we pulled out our trusty guidebook, for the first but not the last time, and it directed us to the proper start. The trail climbed steeply. From the very first step we struggled. The relentless incline upward gave us no hint it would ease. After a little over two hours we reached the small town at the pass of Col de Vosa situated by a train station shuttling the less adventurous visitors up and down.

Tour de Mont Blanc, Les Houches to Les Contamines

Tour de Mont Blanc, Les Houches to Les Contamines
Tour de Mont Blanc, Les Houches to Les Contamines
The trail was literally carved out of the flowers with flora covered walls rising on either side of the trail. While the flowers in Patagonia stretched farther, there was little variation. Here there were whites, purples, yellows, blues, not to mention the variegated ones. Passing one small village after another, the flowers helped distract us from the pain emanating from our legs.

Tour De Mont Blanc, Les Contamines

When we arrived in Les Contamines complications began. The inexpensive nearby hostel was full. Walking to the next cheapest lodging meant a long trek out of town, clearly unacceptable. So we compromised our budget on the first night, gave in and stayed in an inexpensive hotel.

The story continues...