Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chamonix and Mont Blanc

We took a 3-day trip to Chamonix, a village high in the French alps at the foot of Mont Blanc. Eric was invited to give a reading at the Mont Blanc Writing Workshop, reading from Hemingway on a Bike. Why not make a family trip out of it?

The drive took us 4 1/2 hours, along the Italian coast, up through the central plains growing arborio rice, and back into France at the very end. We went under 154 tunnels on the way there, including the longest tunnel I've ever driven in--the tunnel going right underneath Mont Blanc!

This trip was epic in more than one sense. We did both drives without stopping. You might not be all that impressed, if you've never gone on a road trip with four small children.

The best part, though, was the hiking. Day 1 was cloudy, misty, and rainy. Good for short hikes. Day 2 was a rare day of sunshine in an otherwise unusually rainy June. We opted to hike to Montenvers Mer de Glace (Montenvers Glacier).

Last year Eric ran up to the top in 45 minutes, so we were under-prepared for how long and difficult it would be (1 mile vertical gain according to my GPS map and 11.4 miles long according to my fitness tracker). I didn't bring enough water and we ate every last crumb of our food at the top. I also had to cajole a very cranky Zari into not giving up. She was ready to head home after less than 2 hours of hiking.

But we made it! And everyone--Zari included--loved reaching the summit, watching an avalanche, riding a gondola down to the glacier, and walking through ice caves.

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