A big thank you to Gatien who has shared his photos from our trip with me to use on my blog. You can check out his blog here.
We had been itching to go hiking the entire week we stayed with Gatien’s family just outside of a town called Beaufort in the Alps, but the weather simply wouldn’t cooperate. It was non-stop rainy and cold, especially for July.
The day before we left, we finally got to go hiking, and boy was it epic.
There are a ton of trails to choose from of course, so we decided to prioritize seeing the Mont Blanc and chose the trail called “Le Col de la Fenêtre”.
Soizic, Gatien’s aunt who is very familiar with the terrain (she lives there after all), led us on our journey up to the col…
“Good weather” is a relative term; it wasn’t raining thank goodness, but the wind was super icy and bitter cold. As we we set out from the car park, I was all layers and chattering teeth. I quickly ditched the walking poles because my hands were just too cold to keep outside my pockets. July, guys!!
We had only just begun but already the hike was breathtaking.
On our way up, we decided to stop for lunch on this lichen-covered boulder just steps off the trail. On the menu? Rillettes de porc (which was spread on baguette, pictured below), melon, and a nice steaming thermos of coffee. I usually can’t handle coffee, but caffeine is actually so nice at altitude.
Rillettes de porc is a meat spread in which “the [pork] meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste” according to Wikipedia.
There’s nothing like eating after burning a zillion calories walking uphill and trying to keep warm. Lunch was so satisfying.
Up, up, up we went. I was surprised by how steep some of the climbs were – probably some of the steepest I’ve ever encountered. We passed through meadows of wildflowers in an assortment of rainbow colors and even patches of snow at times.
We made it to the top of the pass! Unfortunately it was too foggy to see Mont Blanc but it was still an incredible feeling to make it and honestly it didn’t matter because the views were epic the entire time.
Our highest elevation was 2250 meters (7,382 ft) above sea level, which isn’t the highest I’ve experienced in my life but it definitely had me a little woozy.
You can see how tired and affected by the altitude I was: I could barely keep my eyes open on the way down. It was an incredible day overall. When we got back, I gorged on food then laid down for a while until I felt like a normal human being again.