TMB Day 2 – Les Houches to Les Contamines

We set off early morning after a healthy breakfast at our hotel La Chamonix for our first day’s hiking. We took the local bus to the village of Les Houches, a famous ski resort, which is about 6km from Chamonix.

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Group waiting at the bus stop in Chamonix for Les Houches

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View from Les Houches

We didn’t spend too much time exploring Les Houches as it was supposed to be a long day. From Les Houches we took a cable car up to Bellevue (1800m). Once on the top we were admiring a 360° panorama over the Mont Blanc massif, Chamonix, its needles and the chain of Fiz and Aravis.

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View of the needles from the Bellevue station

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View of the Chamonix from Bellevue

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Selfie with needles in the background

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Our first group photo of the hike. Courtesy of Clare, our group leader

From here we started hiking towards valley of Les Contamines-Montjoie passing by Bioniassay glacier and the Col du Tricot.

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I spotted the TMB circuit map and decided to take the picture of it. You could see the red spot showing where we were on the map. We were doing the circuit anticlockwise.

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As expected, I acknowledged the fact that the trail was very well-marked.

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Here we also come across the Tramway du Mont-Blanc that goes up to the Nid d’Aigle (“Eagle’s Nest”), the starting point of the ascent of Mont Blanc by the famous “Normal Route”.

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Alex, from Canada, was very excited as it was his first ever hiking trip. It reminded me of my first hiking day trip from Amberley to Arundel. I could still clearly remember walking through lush green fields with views of hills everywhere. And i know that day changed my life …well i become an avid hiker 🙂

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Leaving behind Bioniassay glacier view and walking towards Col de Tricot.

After walking for an hour through a forest like patch, we encounter first suspension bridge :)… there is something about these mountain bridges that excites me 🙂

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Clare taking her time no the bridge

After crossing the bridge, the views opened up once again and as we walked towards Col de Tricot we had amazing views of glacier Bionassay once again ..or may be it was Plan Glacier I don’t know…it was all beautiful 🙂

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After about an hour, we reached Col de Tricot (2120m) where we had a short rest

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a couple enjoying the view while having snacks

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Wasim came up with the idea of taking one-legged picture 🙂

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Sheep wandering 🙂

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another selfie

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As we descent into the valley

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Some pretty hut in the valley

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Lunching time at some hut

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I spotted this ancient pair of skis in the hut on the wall

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While we were lunching, horses were grazing under the glacier too

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Leaving behind the valley and hiking up towards Le Truc

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Views from Auberge Le Truc

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We then hike down into the lovely Les Contamines

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We found donkeys and Alein couldn’t resist to give her regards 🙂

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From Les Contamines we climbed up along an old never ending Roman road, some thousands years old, past an original Roman bridge to the hut which was our stop for the night, in the valley leading to the Col du Bonhomme.

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We finally reached our hut Chalet-Mant-Borant. Everybody was so tired at this point and glad that it was finished. The Gite or accommodation where we were staying was an authentic mountain refuge. The idea behind the establishment of these “gites” or refuges is that local shepherds would provide food and shelter to anyone in need in the mountains. In use for three generations, this cosy place had accommodation in large unisex rooms equipped with long multi-share bunk beds, inside an authentic renovated “bergerie” (barn)

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In front of the hut there was a lovely place to sit around and chill with a view

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View from the hut

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While I was chilling with an occasional fag with coke, Christine impressed me with her shooting skills 🙂

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Happy hikers at the dinner table. The family who run the gite cooked a basic but delicious local dinner for us.

Estimated Hiking Time: 6hrs 30mins
Approximate Distance Hiked: 20 kms
Elevation: Start 1801m; Highest 2500m; Finish 1450m

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