This past weekend I had the beautiful opportunity to go hiking in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, France. After a month in Geneva, I had been longing to get myself to some mountains for a nice hike. So, I booked a 8CHF ticket on FlixBus to take me about an hour and a half from Geneva to the stunning Alpes.
Ever since my first French class in high school, I had wanted to visit Chamonix. The night before I left, I researched the best hikes to do and I fell in love with the hike to Lac Blanc. So, I downloaded as much as I thought I needed - in preparation for the morning.
The bus ride from Geneva was absolutely stunning and it seriously felt like a dream. The mountains are so drastically different than the Rockies; their jagged, spire-like formations jetting up into the sky seemed as if I had stepped into a novel. One of the best parts about getting a semi-early start is that I arrived in Chamonix, just in time to see the sun rise behind Mont-Blanc and the Aples.
When I got off the bus, I couldn't believe how chilly it was - enough to see my breath! So I got out my Patagonia down coat that I had brought just in case. But, the coat didn't last for long and in fact 30mins later I was wishing I was wearing shorts and a tanktop!
After about an hour of wandering around the town of Chamonix and realizing that I did not completely download the road I needed to take to get from the town center to the téléphérique flégère from the town center. I tried wandering around a bit to see if there were any immediate signs that would point me in the right direction, but I couldn't tell where to go so I decided to grab some coffee and figure out where I was supposed to go.
The directions were a bit cryptic, but once I finally had a better understanding of where I was going, I set off. I could have taken public transportation to get there, but I opted for the more scenic route. I walked about 45ish minutes to the neighboring town and FINALLY found the téléphérique flégère! I got there a bit later than I would have liked, but the exploring Chamonix was definitely worth the wait!
Anyway, I got there around 2pm and asked for a round-trip ticket. And, before I left the cashier made sure I knew that the last téléphérique back would leave the top of the mountain at 5pm. Being the adventurous, over confident "professional" hiker that I am, I didn't think much of the time.
After the 5 minute ride, I got off and began orienting myself amongst the overwhelming stunning scenery. Luckily the hike that I had set off to do wasn't too hard to find and was a lot more popular than I expected.
I began hiking.
Oh my! How absolutely stunning! I felt like I was hiking through all of the photos that I had grown up with. *Also, if there had been a less steep hill my inner Sound of Music would have come out.
About an hour into the hike, I began meeting people on the trail and I started hiking with these two lovely women from France. And, since 5pm was getting closer and closer the three of us started hiking a bit more intensely than before hoping that we would be able to reach the top before 3:30pm (a reasonable time to turn around).
As 3:30pm was approaching my two hiking friends decided that the most reasonable thing to do would be to turn around. This was a very intelligent, but slightly less exhilarating decision to make. I, as you can probably guess, did not make the same decision. I said a few brief words to them thanking them for the hike and decided that I had come too far to turn around.
I made it to Lac Blanc! And, my goodness, what a magnificent view! If possible I want to come back next summer and do a camping trip here (and stay more than 10mins). I mean, just look at those peaks!!
I could have stayed there the whole day, but since I was pushing my time...I decided that, if running, I could make it back to the téléphérique in about an hour. So I left around 4pm from the top, along with other lovely adventurous people. Some people ran the whole way, others took a fast pace, and I decided that a combination of the two best suited me - since obviously there should still be time to stop and take photos.
Even though I was nervous that I was going to miss the last téléphérique, being surrounded by people who had a similar thought processes to me just made me smile. I seriously love people and the outdoors. And, I really love people who love the outdoors.
When a group of us finally were able to see the building that we had to get to, we had about 20min left until 5pm. So when it hit 4:52pm a lot of us began jogging, some sprinting to make it to the téléphérique. The adrenaline and joy that I exuded was indescribable. I couldn't help but laugh as we all were running to make sure we didn't miss our ride.
The best part of all of this is that as soon as we arrived at the top of the hill, where the téléphérique is located, there was already a queue of about 50 people waiting for the "last" one. As we arrived in a group, each and everyone of us - whether we knew each other or not - began smiling and laughing. It was beautifully contagious.