Thursday, Oct. 06. With one hike under our belt, it’s time to try something a bit more challenging. We decide to do a segment of the Grand Balcon between Montenvers and the Plan du Aiguille du Midi. There we hope that the weather will be good enough to allow a cable car trip to the summit.

We take the rack and pinion train up from Chamonix to the jump off point at Le Montenvers at nearly 2000 metres above sea level.

End of the line is the railway station at Montenvers.

Le Grand Hotel du Montenvers. Alexandre Dumas passed this way in 1832.

The trail rises before us. Now the work begins!!!

Old man of the mountain. This gentleman was hiking on his own. His speech was slurred, step unsure  and and his face distorted…….quite possibly a stroke victim. I didn’t know whether to be inspired or depressed. If he has come here to die, I must admit that I heartily agree with his choice. If it’s to be today, you couldn’t find a better spot or better weather. Bring it on!!!

Trail marker. One of the saddest sights I have ever seen was that of the old man lying belly down in the dirt, his face just inches from the plaque and head moving back and forth as he laboriously read each sentence. Decency forbade a shot.

Another trail view.

Panoramic view. For a sense of perspective and proportion, check out Curt in shadow in the extreme bottom right corner.

Concerned trail bunny who caught up with us later. She too was worried about the old man that we passed. Good news was that he was still alive!!

Curt stops for a rest along the trail.

Wounded trail warrior.  Wounded in the flesh….but not in spirit!!!. Three months to the day after major abdominal surgery. I’m humping 30 pounds of camera gear in a backpack and running up mountains!!! (Don’t show this to my surgeon!!!)  The recuperative power of the human body is simply amazing!!

Panorama with Chamonix far below. Mont Blanc is in the background. For perspective, check out Curt on the trail to the far left.

View from front window of cable car up toward the Aiguille du Midi.

View from the central platform of Aiguille du Midi.

Glaciers at the foot of the central platform.

Back home to the chalet in Les Houches! Looks like a storm’s coming in!!

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