The Tour de Mont Blanc trail is too challenging? | Day 3 of TMB from Chalets de Miage to Contamines-Montjoie
The night was very cold in the valley of Maiges, everything was wet and you could feel the humidity coming at you. We were very exhausted from yesterday’s extreme adventure and in the morning felt fallen apart. Our legs, shoulders and back felt very sore. And we didn’t want to move anywhere just stay and rest at the place.
We overestimated our powers with this trail looking at the stages that people proposed and the ones we had on our map. They’re all around 15 kms and we thought that it wasn’t that much. But we forgot about the mountainous relief and that here you feel the distance differently. The same situation we had with Camino de Santiago when the people were doing 30-35 kms and we could barely do 20 kms. For us the golden mean was 15 kms. And here we had to do our own stages as well depending on the trail and our physical state but we would be happy doing around 10 kms a day. This is the rule for us cutting in half the distance that any guides propose to us.
But as the village of Contamines was quite close and there was a campsite to stay in we decided to hike there. It was only in around 7 kms but for us it was more than enough that day.
So we had our breakfast and started to wrap everything up. Most of our clothes were still wet and especially our shoes that were absolutely drenched. But we hoped it to dry up during the day on us.
Right from the start we had to go over the steep uphill and hike up the mountain. It was only around 1 or 2 kms but it felt like more in our bad physical state. So we had to go slow and rest a lot before we could finally get there.
There we saw some wooden houses that were probably the refugee houses. And we saw the cow pastures for the first time in these places, they were brown and white and were very similar to the ones that we saw on the TV commercial of some Swiss chocolate.
After that we started our way down that was very steep, first going through some scenic forest paths and then getting out to some dirt car roads. That was really hard on our knees and it felt like torture such a long steep downhill. We met quite a lot of other hikers going uphill in reverse direction to ours and they were all probably just the day hikers doing it on the Sunday weekend.
The weather was sunny and fresh with the cool wind after yesterday’s rain. And it felt nice except for the slippery tree roots and rocks that we needed to skip through.
When we finally got to the village Contamines it was already 12:30 am and we hoped to buy some food like chocolate, some snacks, and fruit. When we got to the supermarket’s door we saw that it was closed for the afternoon break and will be opening at 15pm. But we were happy that at least they were open on Sundays when most of the shops are normally closed.
So we bought two chocolate croissants and decided to wait these two hours in the church garden. There were very convenient benches where we could have a little nap and just stretch our backs in horizontal position. It felt really nice.
With a bit more powers we headed to the supermarket and bought everything we needed except for the dry mushrooms which we couldn’t find anywhere unfortunately. We knew that it would be probably the last supermarket we meet on our way in several days and so we wanted to make sure that we have the most needed good supplies with us.
Then we ate our yougurts and went straight to that campsite without having any expectations at all. We walked along the rapid river bank, crossed the adventure park with lots of activities like golf, tennis, football pitches etc. And at the side of it was our campsite called Pontet.
It turned our to be a cute little campsite with a several chalets and special dedicated area for the tents. To our surprise the price wasn’t too high only 16 euros for two people and a tent which was incredible and we of course decided to stay. It felt great to have a hot shower and feel clean. We washed most of our clothes and had a wifi connection to drop a message to our family. So the campsite was very needed at that point.
Later in the evening there were more people coming to the tent area, most of them were Corean or Japanese people and they occupied almost all the space. It looked very unusual like a big tent camp and we even took some shots of it. Rarely you see so many tents at one place. It reminds some expedition groups or Everest camps to us.
So it felt very nice to have this time to rest as we came quite early to the spot and to recover the powers. We had the feast of the food with rice, cherry tomatoes, fresh mushrooms and cheese. It felt like home. So we hoped to gain enough powers to continue this hard trail.
Here is the link to Google map to follow the hike: