Following my time in Courmayeur; I began the final stretch of my trip: 4 more days of hiking along the Tour Du Mont Blanc trail. All 4 of these were blessed with amazing weather, endless flowers, and blue skies.
Day 4 of this adventure started off in Courmayeur, where we took the city streets leading up towards the Alps. As we descended further and further up a series of switch backs, we were eventually greeted with an incredible aerial view of the town of Courmayeur itself. From here, we continued north, ascending to the top of the ridge line. The majority of the day's hike was spent hiking along the ridge line, being surrounded by miles of wildflowers and views of the towering Alps, including Mont Blanc and the glaciers that were covering this central mountain. After several miles along the ridge line, we began our descent down into the valley before eventually arriving at our destination for the night, the Refuge Bonatti. This was a historical wooden cabin that was located at the edge of the Alps and offered terrific views and a good meal to recharge for the remainder of the hike. Between the constant views of the Alps and the abundance of wildflowers, this was an easy candidate for the most scenic section of the entire trail. The Refuge Bonatti also marked my second interesting shower experience of the trek. This time, I was greeted with coin operated showers. While the cold water was unlimited, a token had to be used for a quick wash down of warm water (or what was left of the warm water). This did not detract at all from the actual refuge, which stood out as one of the best places that I had stayed at throughout the trek. For starter, this was among the best meals that we enjoyed out of the refuges; offering a 3 course home meal in a communal dining area. The highlight of this location though was the view. Refuge Bonatti is located the base of the Alps, surrounded by fields of pink and purple Rhododendron. Simply sitting at my windowsill offered me some of the most majestic mountain views I had ever had the privilege to witness personally. The next two days on the Mont Blanc trail found us crossing over from Italy into Switzerland. The views continued to surround us with huge mountains and endless fields of wildflowers. We made camp at a few more refuges on the trail, in nice cozy cabins that were at the foot of the mountains leading to incredible views as soon as you wake up. I also was able to spend July 4th crossing on the trail and made sure to celebrate by hiking in some Captain America attire.
Day 7 was the final section of the tour du Mont Blanc trail. The completion of a 103 mile trail that circled the Alps going from France to Italy to Switzerland. The final day was a relatively easy section that started in Switzerland before we crossed back into France. The day started in the forests before ascending through a series of switchbacks up into the ridge line. At the highest point in the trail, we encountered another refuge, that served cappuccinos and cheese boards and allowed for incredible views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding mountains from the picnic tables outside of the refuge. As with all days, this one was filled with mountain vistas and miles of wildflowers. From the top, we took a gondola ride down the mountain and back to the town of Chamonix, France; where we began on day 1 of this adventure, marking the longest trail I have ever completed; as well as one of the most scenic. I was lucky enough to have met incredible people along the way that motivated me and made me look forward to planning the next large adventure soon.
In addition to the incredible hikes during the day on this trip, I was able to try some incredible cuisine at night. I spent breakfasts and dinners fueling up for the trail with cappuccinos, cheese platters, croissants, gazpacho, pizza, pasta, and so many more local delicacies. This aspect of the trip has encouraged me into looking into food tours across Europe for my next trip.
In my first part of this article, I had dived into the importance of setting goals and how I truly believe life is limitless to those who choose to take advantage of it. There is truly no goal that can’t be accomplished by someone willing to consistently work on the steps require to bring this goal to life. I would like to use this trip to highlight this point. I did not wake up one morning and decide to hop on a place and fly to Europe to tackle this 103-mile trail. There were many steps I took to prepare myself for this venture. I have persistently made the choice to bring myself to the gym and focus heavily on a cardio routine over the past 3 years. Maintaining physical conditioning requires not only going to the gym on the days when its suites your mood, but also dragging yourself to the gym on the days you feel exhausted is vital in getting into and staying in shape. The more persistent your regiment is, the better physical condition you will be able to maintain. This conditioning was vital in allowing me to hike 103 miles over 7 days. This is not something I could have accomplished if I attempted this trail in the physical shape, I was prior to 3 years ago and is just one example of the persistent steps taken to prepare me for one aspect of the trip. The financial aspect also took a prolonged series of steps of a pre-planned time frame. Once I had calculated when I wanted to take this trip, as well as the total cost; I committed to setting aside a certain amount of money each money to pay for this excursion. Regardless of what needed to be done, I made sure to persistently do what was needed in order find the funds I needed. While this may seem difficult, there are many ways anyone can use the skills or objects they have at their disposal and monetize those. As a personal example, I had always been a fan of photography and one activity I had began over the previous year was to take tourist around New Orleans and take photographs of them in front of the landmarks and attractions here. This is just one example of using personal talents to create a vacation fund for yourself. The only limitation that exists to anyone’s earning potential is their own imagination. Doing this activity on a persistent basis helped to supplement the funding for this adventure. This is just one personal example of breaking down any goal into a series of steps that can be taken regularly. Focus on each step at a time until the goal is met but rest assured if you keep taking step after step: your goal will be met!
This trip has only added to my love of travel and my desire to see the world. It provided a needed refresh while also reigniting my desire to what is needed to ensure I can accomplish the goals I have set for myself; many of which include travel. Whether it is trekking through the Annapurna Trek in Nepal or the Inca Trail in Peru. Whether it’s going to Dio de Los Muertos in Mexico or the Songkran Festival in Thailand. Whether its eating Sushi in Japan or Bratwurst in Germany. I can’t wait to continue to live the life of my dreams and share as much of it as I can through my writing and photography in the hopes of inspiring others to chase their own passions. But that is a story for another day…