My experiences with thru-hiking

Happy Birthday To Me

Posted in Hiking GR5, 1500 miles across Europe by onefootatatime on August 28, 2009

 

Jul 25 2009

July 25 2009

I turned 38 today. I’m getting old. I keep seeing a lot of old people on the trail, and I hope I’ll still be hiking in my seventies – well, at least day hikes.

In the morning, I discovered that two Americans were staying at the refuge. Kerry and Amber are from Florida and love the hiking in Europe. I haven’t seen a lot of Americans on the trail…so I ask if I can join them on the trail. We set out together to Les Houches, a small resort town. Both Kerry and Amber are pretty fast on the trail, and I’m having a hard time keeping up with them. I was seriously out of breath and my heart was pounding. Despite me being out of breath, we still carried on a conversation. Kerry had a lot of nice things to say about the hiking in Switzerland, and enjoyed it more than the hiking in France. We finally got to Le Brevent, which is the highest I’ve climbed so far on the trip, and we could see some beautiful views of Mount Blanc.

We still had to walk another forty-five minutes to the restaurant at the top, and when we got there we stopped to grab a bite. The restaurant had a gondola ride down to the town of Chamonix, and I decided to treat myself (and my knees) to a ride down the mountain. Besides, Kerry and Amber were taking the gondola ride, and I wasn’t about to let go of the only other people who spoke English.

Chamonix is the center for mountaineering in France, but the place was like a huge city. There were some nice glaciers surrounding this “grande ville”, so close you could walk up to it. Kerry, Amber and I decided to catch a bus to Les Houches, where they had already booked a hotel room. I landed at a gite nearby. Later, Kerry and Amber treated me to a birthday dinner. We had planned to eat at their hotel, but had to escape as some teenage French alternative band started warming up, and they sounded bad. The first song, Wonderwall by the Oasis, sounded hilarious with their French accent. We would have stayed, but the singer was atrocious. So we escaped to a nice restaurant down the street. When I got back to the gite, I discovered I had a roommate from London. He was getting ready to summit Mont Blanc with a guide. I wished him good weather.

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