Today on my hike from Trient to Tré le Champ I would hike back into France again. The circuit was slowly coming to an end. Only three more days to go! Time flies if you are enjoying an adventure like this.
The breakfast buffet at Hotel Les Grands Ourses was okay but nothing special. Overall I was very disappointed of the breakfasts the mountain huts and gites offered on the TMB. Sometimes I could only get one hour of hiking out of a bowl of cornflakes and was haevily relying on the snacks I carried.
But my 9th day on the TMB should start with some other food issues…
A campers breakfast
I knew from Dillon who told us the night before, that my camping friends from South Africa were short on food. Walking through the main street I pictured a bakery where I could buy three fresh croissants as a surprise. Unfortunately there wasn’t any kind of shop in the small village of Trient. Where did those people get there food from? I was hiking towards the campground looking for something I could buy. Nothing at all!
Disappointed I arrived at the campsite with empty hands. Cliff was standing at a wooden table cooking some canned beef for his sons. He called it “breakfast” allthough it looked and smelled like catfood. I made a mental note that I needed to get them something different for the next breakfast. Running out of snacks myself this was not an easy task!
I said goodbye to Cliff for now and started hiking. Around the corner a big black crow was grazing close to the fence. Nice chance to say hello. I reached out and thought the cow would smell my hand. It didn’t. Instead it tried to wrap the biggest tongue ever around my whole arm and – yeah, what? Eat it?! Good morning, cow!
Col de Balme (2191m)
The climb up towards Col de Balme was nice and I had some company for a while. A couple was hiking there with its dog Fara. Fara seemed to be a clever hiking dog. She always found the trail and very often looked around to wait for her humans. Her only distraction were some whistling marmots on a nearby meadow.
Arriving at Col de Balme I saw that the trail got more busy. Lots of day hikers were sitting up there enjoying the incredible view into the Chamonix valley. A cable car station nearby made the area easily accessible. I met David the runner for the last time and we took some photos of each other with the valley in the background.
I checked my maps to see where the TMB went from the col and walked towards the Aiguilette des Posettes – probably the most beautiful mountain ridge I’ve ever climbed.
Fine views of Mont Blanc
From now on the trail provided the best views of Mont Blanc of the whole tour and I stopped many times to take photos from every angle possible. The weather was perfect again and hiking through the green mountain meadows sprinkled with the flowers of alpine summer was a blast!
Looking down to Chamonix I realized that the end of the tour was getting near and it made me a little sad. It felt great to be hiking again every day – maybe my legs remembered the PCT – and even my blisters in the back didn’t hurt so much anymore. But I had only two more days to go….
I pushed away the upcoming sadness, took a deep breath of the clear mountain air and enjoyed the moment again.
Aiguilette des Posettes
The Aiguelle des Posettes is a part of the TMB you can easily skip – by purpose or by accident due to many trails up there. I did the climb and it was nice climbing mostly over grown rocks. Actually I like challenging trails and a little bit of climbing, as long as there is no steep drop-off I could fall down. The Aiguilette des Posettes was just about perfect for me!
Arriving at the highest point it was quite busy with lots of day hikers around. Nevertheless I sat down for a while to enjoy the view into the Chamonix valley. Once again I realized how lucky we have all been with the weather. When I started in Les Houches the weather forecast had shown rain and thunderstorms for more than a week. Instead I had bright sunshine nearly every day!
A nice summer hike
Hiking along the ridge was great with stunning views in all directions! There was the Chamonix valley and ahead there was Mont Blanc dominating the scenery. But also to the right the mountains were impressive! As always I also had an eye for the small things along the trail – a nice flower, an interesting stone formation or a bumble bee flying around. Life was great!
Descending towards Tré le Champ
The descent down to Tré le Champ was long and sometimes steep. Wooden steps were buildt in the first part and helped me going down. After a while I entered a nice pine forest and was thankful for the shade the trees provided. Descending into the valley the temperature seemed to increase with every step.
I was hiking around another switchback when I could hear some familiar voices in the back. Dillon and Jade came down the mountain and caught up to me. They must have hiked fast! Together we descended the last meters before the trail hit a road that led into Tré le Champ and later into Argentière. We sat down in the grass and waited for Cliff who came after a while and joined us. Plans for the evening were made.
A night at Auberge La Boerne
I had booked a bed in the dormitory at Refuge La Boerne – a nice wooden alpine building with lots of charme. I cancelled my pre-booked dinner with short notice as I wanted to join the South Africans for a walk down the mountain into the village of Argentière. The boys were camping next to the Auberge. After a quick shower and when all the tents were pitched we walked together down to Argentière. We were quite a big group and aimed for the first pizza place in town. Devon joined us as well and we had a nice evening with some nice food and lots of red wine.
The walk back to Auberge La Boerne was quite adventurous. It was already dark and we opted to walk on the road instead of the small and probably dangerous path through the forest. We also had only a couple of lights for a group of about ten people. I wasn’t well prepared! The road back up took some switchbacks and in the end the way back was longer than expected. But we made it!
After a last beer and some homemade rum (bad idea!) on the terrace of the auberge I was done for the day and quietly made my way to the dorm room. Eight people were already sleeping in there and a couple of them snored. Great! But even worse was the smell! It took me a while to realize that the wooden room that looked so cute during the day had no window (!) and with all these people in it breathing would be a challenge for the rest of the night. Without a noise I crawled into my hut sleeping bag and hoped that sleep would come quick.
–> next post: Day 10 – Tré le Champ to La Flégère
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