Sunday, May 17, 2015

Alpine Running Routes Tour

This weekeend was a long weekend in Vaud and we went on a trip around the lake to Daniel's running haunts in the Alps. We drove to Martigny, the capital of the French-speaking district of the same name in the canton of Valais. The town lies on the east edge of the Rhône Valley at the foot of the Swiss Alps and is the junction of roads between Italy, France and Switzerland. Daniel begins many of his long runs into the Alps from the Château de la Bâtiaz on the outskirts of Martigny.

We wound our way up the valley to Champex-Lac, a village at the foot of Mont Blanc massif, a mountain range in the Graian Alps. Here we strolled around the beautiful lake nestled in the woods.

After plunging back down the valley we then snaked our way up a neighbouring valley to Col de la Forclaz, a mountain pass connecting Martigny and Finhaut. The pass was originally a track used by smugglers from Martigny into France, but is now an important link to tourist areas around Mont Blanc.

The town of Trient with its iconic pink cathedral

Our adventures took us back down the valley and we smuggled ourselves into France for lunch. I finally got to see the famous town of Chamonix and it lived up to all its expectations. Chamonix is the mountain sports capital of Europe, famous for its ski slopes in winter and amazing trails and alpine ascents in summer. It hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924 and is dominated by the highest peak in Europe, Mont Blanc. It is home to the start and finish line of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. My favourite part was undoubtedly the spectacular glacier rising above the town. It was a perfect spot for lunch.

I'm sure we'll back in this part of the world before too long as it is rich in trails to explore and adventures to be had.

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