TRAVEL JOURNAL 20: REFUGIO ELISABETTA, WHERE CAMPING IS FORBIDDEN

My guide book, which at this point had become a joke, says that after “what will have been two fairly taxing days,” this part of the hike was supposed to be relaxing. When we first started the path looked very flat and straight, and a beautiful snowy peak was directly in front of us. We…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 18: THE HARD TWO DAYS

After we left Le Pontet, it was a long, long way all uphill. The Teenager was briefly impressed when we passed a big pile of stones to mark where someone had keeled over and died. It was grueling, and the path was packed. It seemed like everyone and their sporty girlfriend were hiking there that…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 17: LES CONTAMINES

I woke up at 5:50 and started quickly packing as per orders of the grouchy woman at the Refuge du Fioux. We were all exhausted, so I offered to trade packs with the Teenager, who being young and strong, plus spending the whole vacation complaining that he’s losing his chest and abs, was carrying the…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 16: THE START OF THE TOUR

So I MIGHT have been temporarily insane when I planned this part of the trip, and it had been causing me anxiety attacks the whole time when I woke up late at night. For this part we met my dad and Rose at a hostel in Chamonix to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc over…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 12: SHEEP RODEO

We helped in a minor way with shearing the sheep while we stayed in Alsace. It’s a difficult job to restrain a wiggling sheep and shear thick wool away from its skin without hurting it, so our job was just to catch them, turn them into a sitting position (much harder than it sounds), and…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 11: Alsace

We are staying very close to the German border, among the low, rolling mountains of the Vosges. The air is much thicker here than in the alps. Tall pine trees cover the land except where it is cleared for pasture or hay, and the little houses far away look made of gingerbread. It is a…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 6: THE MAGIC HOUSE

We wake up the next morning and hear roosters crowing in the yard. I have missed animals. There are chickens, a friendly barn cat, a playful dog with beautiful ice-blue eyes, two cows, a donkey that trumpets loudly from time to time, and a draft horse. The farm here specializes in training draft animals. There…