Monday, August 24, 2009

Annette and Bob

Newly wed. Welcome to Finhaut.

Yes, they have chosen Finhaut to be their honeymoon. Annette is a painter and Rob is a composer from California.

I have asked them to take pictures of fauna and flora when they have time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Half Day: Hike to Gietroz

This hike starts at the ugly concrete baby dinasaur. It is located if you follow the road downhill from the train station. This road will end at T where you go down or up; down to the road to Trient or to Emosson dam.

Walk towards the baby dinosaur and you will see a path down to the train track. Cross the track and there is a well marked train down the mountain all the way to the river. This descent is nice but on the steep side, wherever it is steep, there are adequate rails for protection. I think there is only one section. Nothing is scary or sketchy. You don't want to do this hike in the rain as the river might be prone to flash flood.

Once you reach the river, just follow down where the water flows. There is a trail that goes to the border and beyond to France. There is an ancient forest untouched here. This trail either goes to Trient or all the way to Vallocine and to Argentiere and to Chamonix. The trail goes and goes.

At Gietroz, you can take the train back to Finhaut if you like. From here, the trail will be flat but is very pleasnt. You can also take train back from Vallocine. Between Vallocine and Argentiere, there is a small pass and it is bit far. Next station is called Planet Montroc.

If you want an easy and orientation hike, the first leg of the hike is good enough.

Half Day: Hike to Le Trietien

Walk up the village and you will see yellow trail signs. Otherwise, ask someone. The trail is well maintained and easy.

At the Le Trietien, there is a gorge. This gorge goes all the way to Martigny and is cut by the glaciers and ice. It is supposed to be spectacular.

You can take the train back on the way.

Here are some pictures of what trails look like.

Full day - Hike to Montenvers plus a visit to Aig du Midi

Chamonix in Summer 2008

Aiguille du Midi is accessible via the Chamonix tram. It costs around 50 euros and it is well worth the visit. It will include a few rides. You need to get an unlimited pass.

This hike uses several rides from this. Most people will go to the top. Instead you can get some of the most spectacular sight-seeing as well as a moderate hike to Mont Enver. At the Mont Enver, you can see the most spectacular glacier formation.

I think buying this ticket entitles you to all that. The hike will take good four hours and trails are excellent. But there are some hard sections for beginners for the lack of conditioning and altitude.

You need a liter of water per person, snacks, a lunch, water proof jacket, or umbrella, a hat, sunscreen.

It is important to have good weather to maximize this trip and hike. In bad weather, you won't see or enjoy the hike. This is the Alps. You need to pay attention meteo.

Take a tram to Aig du Midi and take a sightseeing around the top. Take early tram like 9 AM.
Take a gondola to Helbronner. This takes you over Vallee Blanche next to Tacul, Noire to Italy. Once you are there, take a break. You could even walk down to the snow and walk around.
Take a gondola back to Aig du Midi and a tram down to mid station. Get off here and look for the trail head to Montenvers. It should be clearly marked. Many people do this hike and you won't miss it. It will take two hours to walk to Montenvers. Stop and take frequent breaks. There should be a lot to see; marmot, alpine flower, glaciers and mountains.

The last train in the summer runs late but you need to make sure you know it. Time yourself. Once you are at the Montenvers, you can go down to the glacier. It is a lot of downhill and uphill even with gondola rides. I don't recommend.

From Montenvers, you take a train back to Chamonix. You should be tired by now. You need to make sure you dial into Chamonix express train so that you can get back.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Around Mont Blanc

You can drive around the mountain. It goes through the Mont Blanc tunnel and Aosta and over the St Bernard pass.

The best option is to use a tour bus starting at Chamonix train station. As of 2009, it is about 47 Euros. Considering how much distance it covers, it is a bargain. Just going through the tunnel is a lot; may be 35 e in 2009 per person.

It is called "Tour du Mont Blanc". It leaves from Chamonix at 9 am and returns at 18:15. You could possibly ask them to let you off near Finahut. It does not hurt to ask.

Food in Aosta is great. Dine there and wine is also good.

more info

Picking berry

Around the village, there are bountiful berry harvests. Typically, there is plenty just off the hiking trails.

These berries are tiny but are incredible and packs a lot of nutrients. So, do look around. You can have jars of them and keep all year around if you pickle.

Visiting Chamonix

You can take a train all the way to Chamonix, Mont Blanc Express.

You need to change trains sometime at Gietroz or Vallocine. At Gietroz, you cross border into France.

There are free transportation using Carte d'hôte