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Tour du Mont Blanc

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teejaywhy

teejaywhy

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We had a rest day in Champex. It was welcome but for the fact that we had to undergo the stress of haggling with American Airlines to rebook our return flights.

I had mentioned in post #4, two days before, in a brief moment of cell service, I received an email letting me know one of our flights was cancelled and they were not able to automatically rebook. "Please call us..." A huge cluster-fuck at Heathrow had led to our Geneva-London flight being cancelled (along with thousands of others...) (ahh, the joys of code sharing with British Airways)

We called the AA customer service. From the agent's view, there was no solution, but they would happily cancel our return and refund our fare and we would be able to find our own way home.

Hold on there partner. Let's check it out and call you back. Apparently, AA customer service does not have access to the same resources as I do checking the AA.com website. We found several options, none passing thru Heathrow, but involving a three-leg journey (i.e. GVA-> Madrid-> Chicago -> Phoenix).
We call back.
Oh yeah, the agent says, that is available, would you like me to book it? but sorry, the upgrades to premium economy that we paid for is not available.
Hmm, anything else?
Long wait on hold, no, sorry I don't see anything.
Hmm, what about this one GVA -> Madrid->Miami -> Phoenix?
Long wait on hold, oh yes, that is available, sorry no premium upgrades however.
Hmm, what about this one: Zurich to Philadelphia (Business Class), Philly to PHX, (First Class)
Long wait on hold... Yes that is available, do you want me to book that?
Well, in consideration of the hassle, stress and the need to travel to Zurich (3-hour train), we will accept the business class flight..
:doh::huh:;)

Wow. It all worked out in the end, but 4 hours of my vacation not too mention the tension and anxiety... Thanks Heathrow.
 
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teejaywhy

teejaywhy

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Day 8: Champex to Trient. 11.9 miles, 3400' of elevation gain.
What was a long day didn't seem too bad. We must be getting stronger?

We have rounded the eastern edge of the Mont Blanc massif and we head southwest.
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We finish the day in the town of Trient, for our last night in Switzerland.
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teejaywhy

teejaywhy

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Day 9: Trient to Argentiere. 10.8 miles, 4304' of elevation gain.

Tough day. Big climb to start the day. Approaching the Col de Balme
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Snacks and refreshments at the Refuge du Col de Balme
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We cross into France and the Mont Blanc comes into view
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Breathtaking
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teejaywhy

teejaywhy

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We finish Day 9 and check into a very nice hotel in Argentiere. I get ready to hop into the shower and somehow managed to bang my foot hard into a metal handhold on the tub. I collapse into the tub with intense pain. I'm certain I've broken a toe! SHIT. Nine days hiking in the Alps without incident and I manage to injure myself in the freaking bathtub!

OK, it's just the fourth (ring) toe. I can't let that slow me down. Hell, if I were a farmer, I would just cut it off and continue.

By supper time, my toe is completely black and blue and swollen double in size. I hobble my way to dinner and back in flip flops, and decide to make a game time decision as to continuing the next day...

View from our room at the La Couronne in Argentiere
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teejaywhy

teejaywhy

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Day 10. Argentiere to Plan-Praz.

My toe is causing severe pain. Walking is worse. I decide to tape it to the adjacent toe, pocket a handful of ibuprofen and give it a go. I can't quit because of a stupid 4th toe. Most likely, a poor decision in retrospect. :cool:

We climb out of the valley, a huge ascent. My foot slowly adapts from wincing pain to a dull throb. Today's hike is one of the most spectacular of the trip. Unfortunately, I have to cut it short and take the Le Flegere gondola down, a few miles short of Plan-Praz. Total for the day - 5.3 miles, 3285' of elevation gain.

More mundane scenery
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Mont Blanc reflection
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Chamonix
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teejaywhy

teejaywhy

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So ends my Tour du Mont Blanc. Approx 10 miles short of the whole enchilada. :(:crutches:
Disappointed, but not deterred. A good excuse to return some day and finish that last segment.

My wife and the couple accompanying us completed the hike over the next two days. I rode the Brevant tram to meet them at the end of the first day, then rode the train down to Les Houches to join them at the finish line. We enjoyed the extra days in Chamonix.

Thanks for reading along. It only took me a month to post all the segments and photos (hey, I'm lazy AND disorganized!)

Here is a link to the entire photo series on SmugMug:
https://yostoutpost.smugmug.com/Travel-Vacation/Tour-du-Mont-Blanc-July-2022/


Brevant Tram
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The crew back at the start/finish.
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James

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In typical man fashion, I never went to the doctor!
I used to stay up the road from the hospital and would walk by it often. At night you want a light for the cars. There is a bus stop right there.

Where is that Les Houches start, near the tram? That tram house reminded me of Where Eagles Dare
 
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teejaywhy

teejaywhy

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