TMB, Day 6: Cozy and Dry in Les Contamines

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We wake up with the alarm, and, unlike some of our other dorm experiences so far on the TMB, we both claim a good night of sleep. There were only two other couples sharing the room last night, so it was relatively quiet. We feel rested and ready to hike. The refuge breakfast is typical of what we have seen on the trail so far: bread, jam, and coffee. There’s just enough food to fill the belly, but not so much that you feel like sticking around. Guess we’ll need to hit the trail and start walking to find some protein! (more…)

TMB, Day 5: Crossing the Col des Fours

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We heard that there are thunderstorms in the forecast, and we have two options to get from Elisabetta to our next rifugio today. The first is the traditional TMB, which involves a long road walk that we hear is easy but a little boring. The other option is the high route. It is supposed to be beautiful but is only recommended in good weather. We are really hoping to do the high route, so we set the alarm early in hopes that we may be able to beat the storm. (more…)

TMB, Day 4: A Curious Welcome

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Today turns out to be an unintentionally short day in terms of distance. In the planning stages of the TMB, many months ago, we decided to not stay in Courmayeur (either due to cost or availability or both—we can’t remember!). Instead, we chose Rifugio Randonneur which was another 1.5-2 hours beyond and uphill from the town.

By a stroke of good fortune, we were given a lift yesterday by the owner, Annalisa, skipping a tiring downhill and uphill trudge at the end of the day, thus saving our legs and making for a more pleasant stay last night. We would certainly have missed dinner by a long shot. Plus it gave us time to do some laundry and get it out to dry while the sun was still up! (more…)

TMB, Day 3: A Miscalculation and a Lucky Break

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Last night, we slept in a dorm room with about 18 people. There was one snorer in the room, and just guess where he was. That’s right, in the bed right next to Matt. Arrgh! It was a rough night of sleep for both of us, and, since breakfast is served beginning at 6:15, we decide to cut our losses and get up. We throw on our clothes and head downstairs to grab a bite to eat—that is, after we take some photos of the glacier wall right outside our door. What a view! (more…)

TMB, Day 1: Off We Go!

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The alarm goes off this morning, and, even though we would love to snooze just one time, we are mindful that we are sharing our dorm room with three other people. Breakfast is at 7, so it seems that the whole pension is rising at the same time to make sure that they are ready to rush the buffet when the dining room doors open. It’s our first morning on the TMB, and we are still trying to sort out what we can leave behind on this trek to make our loads lighter. We finally get it all figured out and then head down to breakfast where we are seated with the same two pairs of hikers from last night. (more…)

TMB, Day 0: Planes, Trains and Autobuses

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It’s been a while since we last posted our Peaks of the Balkans trek, but we are back in the blogging saddle and eager to finally catch up on all of the amazing European hiking we did in the summer of 2017.

When we last wrote, we had just finished up nine days of trekking through the Dinaric Alps in Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro and were unwinding in the capital city of Tirana for a day before heading up to the Swiss Alps for our next adventure: the Tour du Mont Blanc, a 110-mile circuit of the Mont Blanc massif. The TMB is a fabulous introduction to the European tradition of hut to hut hiking and one of the most beautiful treks we’ve ever done. We hope you will come along for the ride! (more…)