Day 26 – Friday, August 23 – Les Hooches to Refuge de Miage – 14km
I slept really well last night. Breakfast was a lot of good food and many choices. The Bread was toast, though, and I just don’t like that as well. It’s hard, crunch toast. I’d rather just have soft bread. Plus it cut the inside of my mouth.
I went to the store to see if I could buy a few things, but I only ended up with two new water bottles. I carry disposable bottles in my pocket, but replace them every few weeks. It’s been almost a month, and the bottle I use for my electrolyte tabs was growing something in the lid and grooves. Sorry if that’s TMI. Definitely time to replace!
I got on my way about 8:45, which I thought was pretty good. I didn’t really know how far or long I had to go, since I’m doing a variant, but I didn’t think it was too long.
You have to walk along the Main Street for a while before heading up the mountain. I got passed by Dino, my host, who was on his way to pick mushrooms!
Up ahead, I saw Michel, which I thought was hilarious. He and the person he was walking with stopped a grocery to buy some things. He said, see you later, but I think this is really going to be the last time I see him. I thought that last time, too. He’s not doing the variant, and he’s going farther, so I really don’t think I’ll see him again.
It was time to start going up. The book said it was as relentless 600m climb. I don’t think it was that relentless, but it was pretty steep in some parts. It started out as just going up through some neighborhoods, and then through some ski areas.
I took some ibuprofen and prednisone this morning, and I think it definitely helped. I think there’s something with the ligament or tendon behind my knee. I was walking deliberately, trying to stretch it without pulling too fast and making it hurt. But thankfully it really seems to be much better on the uphills. Flat or down and it hurts. If I could walk slightly uphill all the way to Rome, I’d be ok.
I made it to the Col de Voza about 30 mins ahead of schedule. They were nice enough to have a very nice, public WC, which I used. There’s a tram that goes through here. I’m sure it increases day hiking in the area.
From here I took the Col de Tricot variant, instead of heading down in the valley to Bissonnay.
It was a very nice hike, going kind of near the bottom of the Bissonnay glacier. There are waterfalls coming off the mountain everywhere, from glacier melt.
There was some extremely steep downward rock climbing. Right in the middle there was a traffic jam with large groups of people going both ways. I let them both pass.
You could hear the roaring of the large, combined, glacier-melt river, and there was a rope bridge going over it. The book said it was right out of Indiana Jones, and that’s pretty much right. I did take a couple of pictures, but I was terrified of dropping my phone the whole time. The bridge jumped and swung a lot.
Then it was a steep climb up the other side, and up towards the col de tricot.
It turned into a rather pleasant climb, with an amazing view of Mont Blanc and the glacier. I could even hear the glacier cracking a few times. How awesome is that!?
There were blueberries EVERYWHERE.
I got to the Col about 1:30. There was an option to go to the peak nearby, and the sign said only 30 mins. I probably could have done it; I had time, but I was thinking about the extra down on my knees. I skipped it. My knees are actually doing pretty well today. I’m sure it’s a combination of prednisone and prayers, but I didn’t want to push it with anything too extra.
The book described the descent as very steep and knee crunching. It also showed some scree, so I was picturing having to slide on my butt. Compared to the brutal descent yesterday, this one was actually pretty nice. It was steep in some places, but I made it with very little pain. It also only lasted about an hour and 15 minutes, and not 3+ hours like yesterday.
This descent showed a different side and different glaciers for Mont Blanc.
There’s a whole little chalet village de Miage with the refuge. It’s a really nice little place.
I got here right at 3. There was a family eating some lunch, and she asked about my skirt. She said she’s never seen anyone hike in a long skirt before. I said I love it!
I was the first to check in. I got to take a real, hot shower, and I even found the electrical outlet so I can charge my phone. I got my laundry hung up on the line.
I had my pick of beds, so I picked the far one by the wall. I felt the mattress, because it looked thinner than the one next to it, and it felt a bit damp. The mattress next to it was also damp, but it was thicker. I pulled the mattresses out and swapped them, but the plywood platforms the mattresses were on were obviously moldy. That can’t be good.
It was another, perfect, beautiful day. Dinner is at 6:30. I still can’t believe I’m here and doing this.
I’m sitting under a tree by a roaring glacier melt stream, looking at Mont Blanc while I write this. The water smells bad, but other than that, it’s pretty cool.
They were selling ice cream cones for only 2.50, so I decided to treat myself to one. I got something that’s basically lemon sorbet. It was delicious.
Dinner was with a couple from New Zealand and three French Women. We had a lovely mixed salad, followed by a huge egg and potato omelette, then a cheese course, and dessert. I was worried about the omelette, but overall the dinner was pretty good.
I paid after dinner, but they forgot to charge me for the ice cream I had earlier, so I went back.
This was really a lovely little place. I’m glad I decided to go this way.