Hiking amid glorious mountain landscapes, contemplating the immense vertical walls of one of the world’s most famous – perhaps too famous – mountains: Mont Blanc. What’s not to like about this venture? Walking along easy, marked paths, facing gentle elevation gains and smiles galore. Well, in truth, the Tour du Mont Blanc is long. Very long. Especially if you carry a 10-kg backpack. Still, we were up for the challenge and set up everything at the drop of a hat.
Organising the Tour is relatively easy, there is a well-established circuit – its website is here – where you have access to updated information and precious pieces of advice. You then grab a map, sketch out a rough plan and Bob’s your uncle. The average amount of time needed is eight days with 6-8 hours walking per day.
You can choose to stay in huts – some are more expensive than others – or opt for a tent. I don’t always enjoy the noisy atmosphere of huts, where your neighbour is invariably busy with his or her snorathon, so sleeping in a tent was just sublime – when it wasn’t raining, hailing or we had a thunderstorm over our heads, that is!
France is very well organised, in that you can place your tent pretty much everywhere, offering regulated free camping areas with fresh water close by, while camping is only allowed above 2,500 metres in Italy and altogether forbidden in Switzerland outside designated areas.
Wherever we went, we were greeted with encouraging faces, magnificent vistas and silence. Silence is so precious these days that we all take it for granted. Do we still know its meaning? Do we comprehend how vital it is? Maybe not, since we’re all always too busy with social media or interacting with a computer these days.
Complaining about this trend is somewhat pointless, after all that’s the direction society is going, however I invite everyone to experience the beauty of wild camping. Whether in the shade of Mont Blanc or elsewhere, as the saying goes, the world is your oyster, and you know you cannot simply stand aside and let it go past.
Be adventurous. Be Bold.
All pictures © Lucia Prosino