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Trekking is Not All About The View, July 4, 2013

There may have been fireworks in the sky celebrating Independence Day, but we couldn't have seen them anyway.  Awoke again to low clouds and misting rain.  The rain had stopped by the time we started hiking, but the clouds played games with us all day.  By the time we finally got to our night's lodging, the sun and views were out.

Today's route was the most difficult yet (by far, pun intended) and supposed to offer the must stupendous views ... but neither our words nor our pictures can document that.  A total of more than 4,000' elevation gain today, and about the same down at the end of the day, and not the usual reward at the top (the view makes all the huffing and puffing worthwhile).  Instead, chocolate, a hug from Bob, and an opportunity to reflect that without the ablation, I wouldn't be hiking up to the top of anything. 

Our first two destinations were grassy plateaus with working farms and a refuge on each (offering hot drinks in the cold mist).  One of the cow varieties, most prized for the delicious cheeses made from their milk, is really cute -- looks kinda like a hairless panda.  Then came the steep steep muddy slog up (and then up some more) to the Col de Tricot.  The clouds and mist lifted often enough to give a view back down (positive affirmation of how far up we had climbed), but never revealed the top (so you couldn't obsess too much about the challenge still to come).

The cutest cows ever
The cutest cows ever

Looking back down from whence we started
Looking back down from whence we started

The path down the other side of the pass went more gently through meadows of about-to-bloom mountain azaleas and blueberry bushes and past dirt-encrusted glacier fingers.  About halfway down, a suspension bridge crossed a roaring river of glacial meltwater.  The older Italian couple who were at the bridge when we got there were like children at an amusement park -- running across, jumping up and down in the middle, posing for a million pictures.  They were still at it about 10 minutes later, after we'd climbed high over the bridge and were looking back at the views we'd missed when it was so cloudy.

Bob on suspension bridge, with Italians playing in background
Bob on suspension bridge, with Italians playing in background

Our lodging for the next two evenings is a B&B with views of the entire Mont Blanc range, owned by a couple whose culinary skills are amazing.  Oh, and there was a hot tub (no hot water problems here), just waiting for us to sink into after our long day.
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