The Walker's Haute Route • September 8 - 16, 2013

Bob Hertzfeld and Mary Lucas joined Kathy this year to hike the famous Walker's Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt.

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Bob and Mary on the day we left Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley behind.


Our first day was a "warm-up" day, spent hiking up to the Lac Blanc in the Aiguilles Rouges. The day dawned very wet and we almost headed for more town-y pursuits, but a sudden clearing encouraged us to head up. It would have been a shame to miss these peek-a-boo views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Aiguilles.


We were in and out of mists all day, but Lac Blanc emerged from the fog in time for a few shots.


The next day we left Chamonix in a thick valley fog. It took us a couple of hours of hiking to a high ridge crest to get above the mists and see what was around us. Mont Blanc in the background, and the Aiguille Verte on the left, look unexpectedly close and imposing as the clouds drop away.


After a cup of coffee at our high point, the Col de Balme, we crossed the border into Switzerland and descended toward the village of Trient. Good-bye Mont Blanc!


The long and relentless descent tested our "down legs", but we were rewarded with a good meal at the end of it all.


The following day the mixed weather pattern continued, with mostly sunny skies above a certain altitude, but mists below. Here we approach Bovine, where a rustic kitchen in an old-fashioned herdsman's summer chalet turns out beautiful pies and cakes. We scarfed them down with some hot coffee, yum!


A herd of the famous "vaches d'Hérens", the fighting cows of the Alps, justifies the name of this spot. This particular gal was fired up and ready for a bout! After a few alarming reactions to our attempts to scratch her forehead, we gave her a wide berth and were on our way.


Ready for dinner in our next stopping place, Champex Lac.


On our third hiking day, we took a bit of an assist on this very cold and suddenly wintry day. Heading up to the top of the Dix dam.


The wildflowers got a bit frost-nipped, but bravely showed their colors through the dusting of early snow.


Heading up to the Prafleuri hut, the mountains look forbidding indeed.


From the Prafleuri hut we had a long day ahead of us to reach Arolla. Up early, we reached the Col des Roux shortly after sunrise.


The waters of the Lac des Dix are glassy on this calm morning as we descend toward its shores.


A long, but comfortable walk along the shoreline, ends abruptly as the trail climbs away from the lake.


... and climbs, and climbs! Once again the sun makes its appearance just in time to encourage us in case our spirits flag.


A few saxifrages bravely hugging the rocks.


Views of the high peaks reward us along the way. Mont Blanc de Cheilon in the background here.


Approaching the vertical ladders at the Pas du Chèvre.


Getting to them is half the battle. But someone seems to be enjoying it...


Almost up! Just don't look down...


It's back into the fog as we start our hike down the other side, into Arolla.


After a very long day, Mary forces herself to remember that this was NOT a bad idea for a vacation and that YES, she still loves her hubby!


On the morning of day... what day is it again?... the sun finally makes an un-ambiguous appearance. Leaving the Val d'Hérens behind, we are heading to Grimentz!


Beautiful hiking here, with the high peaks filling the horizon. Dent Blanche on the left, the Pigne d'Arolla on the right, and waaaay back there in the middle, the Dent d'Hérens just peaks out above the glacier.


The Col de Torrent at last.


Still lovely sunshine as we descend toward the lake and dam of Moiry. The impressive icefall of the Moiry glacier in the distance.


Yes, the waters of the Lac de Moiry really are this unearthly color! At least when the sun is on it.


Obligatory treats are duly documented at the lakeside restaurant.


A pot of home-made apricot ice cream, delicious!


A late-afternoon stroll around the charming historic center of Grimentz, gives a taste of old Switzerland.


Another morning starts off sunny, but it's not forecast to last. We start out from the meadows above St. Luc.


The sky is turning that ominous pewter color as we approach the Meiden pass.


Another pass accomplished; another fresh view into a new valley, still more discoveries ahead.


The descent into the Turtmann valley starts off stony and austere.


By the time we've descended to the first cluster of summer cottages, it's a warmer and greener world again.


Impressive views of the Weisshorn at the head of the valley.


Our trail's end is a rustic old inn high in the Turtmann valley.


A touch of homey charm ...


The following day being very wet and cold indeed, we cut to the chase and bailed for Zermatt. Our first priority upon arrival was to find a good meal, so that's what we focussed on for our first hour or two in the village!


The following morning we were hoping to climb the Breithorn. A break in the weather was forecast for the first half of the day, so we made a run for it. A bit of a lull in the tram schedule had us cooling our heels with several dozen ski racers at Trockener Steg, but the views were fine.


The first hour of our climb was indeed quite beautiful under metallic-looking clouds. Sadly, they thickened and lowered very fast.


We declared this (where the heck are we anyway???) our high point as the first flakes began to fall and the wind to gather force.


Running for the barn through the foggy gale, along with our new (and anonymous) friends, it's time to find a warm "Stubli" and a bowl of soup. Thank you Bob and Mary for a great week!

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