Monday, April 18, 2016

Day 10: The End of the TMB


September 4: Temperatures continued to plummet during the night--I could feel that much with my face sticking out of my sleeping bag, but I hadn't realized just how cold it really got until I got up the next morning to find ice on my tarp. The rain and condensation had frozen into thin sheets of ice. It froze!

Sunrise from camp had me excited about the rest of the day!

The rain, fortunately, had stopped, and near sunrise, most of the clouds had blown away. I was looking forward to a beautiful, clear day after the last few days of clouds and fog. Let's finish this trail with a bang!

While eating breakfast, a herd of sheep came down and started grazing around me, including the cutest little lambs. I heard them before I saw them, with the sound of clanking bells getting closer and closer through the morning, but they were finally upon me. I tried to talk them into staying away from me. "Go away!" I told them. "I'll be leaving soon, and you can poop all over this location when I'm done." I didn't want them trampling over my campsite. The never approached closer than about 15 feet from me, though, and most of them seemed prefer a little more distance from me than that.

I shook the ice off my tarp and broke down camp, eager to finish the trail and get into town. I hadn't had so much as a shower since arriving in Europe. I hadn't even slept indoors since my arrival. I was on the trail and hiking at 8:20 and within minutes, the clouds swooped back overhead.

I cursed the clouds again, shaking my first into the air.

Once again, my views were largely limited, and I'd get small peeks of the grander views through small windows in the clouds, frustrating me to no end.

The day's hike went upwards at first, hitting a peak at Le Brevent which has covered with countless day visitors who had taken the cable car to the top. Then the trail started its long descent towards Les Houches and where I first began this trek nine days earlier.

View from my campsite, just before I left. Awesome! =)

Near the end of the day's hike the clouds finally started burning off again, which I was immensely happy about but still annoyed that it only happened near the end of the day's hiking. The views were spectacular! I'll let the photos speak for themselves because there's really nothing I can say that the photos can't show much better. =)

Once in town, I found a spot at a hostel and the first thing I did was take a shower, washing the week-and-a-half of dirt off me. I wore some of my camp clothes which were less dirty than my hiking clothes, at least until I could get my hiking clothes cleaned. And I finally got online, using my laptop to connect onto the wi-fi connection. It was the first time I'd been online since arriving, and I figured Amanda was probably getting a little antsy to hear from me. (As it turned out, just the previous day, she had sent me an email saying she was starting to get worried about my long "radio silence.")

Finding lodging wasn't a problem. The ultra run was long over, and now that it was September, it wasn't even as if it was the busiest time of year. We were in solid "shoulder season" now. I just walked into the first hostel I saw and asked if they had space available, and they did! =)

I did leave the hostel once to buy some food and snacks at the local grocery store, but that was it. Then it was back to the hostel where I started catching up a whole heck of a lot of emails and messages. And figuring out how to get myself to Milan and the World's Fair, for that was my next destination on this European adventure. Stay tuned, because that's what you'll be hearing about in my next post! =)

Unfortunately for me, this is what the trail looked like about 10 minutes later. NOOOO!!!!!

Don't trip on the rocks on the trail! It's a long fall if you do!
It's a marmot extended family! There were actually six marmots (that I counted) on these boulders, but they kept popping up and down and this was the most I could get in any one photo. (They all disappeared when I tried to get closer.)


There's the easy way up the mountain, or the hard way. The gondola is the easy way. =)
GO AWAY CLOUDS!!!!


These sheep were on the trail and would not get out of my way!

The clouds continued teasing me with these small views through gaps and holes in the clouds.
The hill I was was almost clear at this point! Yeah! Not that it's particularly spectacular compared to the other mountains in the area.

The sky was pretty clear to the north, but clouds STILL obscured the large mountains! There were actually very few clouds around... except around the largest mountains--which were the views I most wanted to see!

The final bit of trail up to the peak was quite steep in places!


Looking back down the ladders I had just climbed up.



I think this building looks like a fortress for an evil Bond villain. What do you think? =) This is where the gondola comes up and there are TONS of day-hikers up here.
Looking back at the "Bond villain" complex from further away.
The sheep are always watching.

The small windows through the clouds into the distant glaciers and snow-covered mountains were gorgeous, but infuriatingly small and brief.




Late in the day the clouds finally started burning off and the views started to improve.




I gotta say, I'm SOOOO jealous of this guy! I had some nice views, but imagine HIS views floating by this glacier!!!!


This was a new method of "trail traction" I'd never seen before. =)

The fence on the side is the edge of a zoo. Apparently. I didn't see any zoo animals or anything, though!
The last few miles were largely in the trees--just when the weather had cleared enough to enjoy the mountain views, there were no more mountain views!


Le Christ Roi is an 80-or-so-foot tall statue along the trail. It's a big one! =)

Further down the trail, I turned around to look at this lake and noticed the statue still visible back there! (You can also see the mountain I'd just come down and look at how clear it is now!)
Passing by a dam near Les Houches.

Entering Les Houches! Almost done! =)
My home for the next couple of nights! =)

1 comment:

Mary Mac said...

Beautiful photos! I don't like those trails covered with boulders, ladders and metal foot steps! Ouch!