Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tour du Mont Blanc #2 Elisabetta - Courmayeur, Italy (European Alps)

In July of 2014, I toured, explored and photographed the Alps and after spending a few days in Chamonix, France, I began hiking the famous Tour du Mont Blanc trail, a total of 110+ miles. The tour circles the Alps' highest peak; Mont Blanc. Continuing from the last blog posting, I crossed the French - Italian border on a stormy mountain pass the day before.
After 4 days of bad weather, the rain finally stopped. It was overcast, but leaving the mountain refuge without rain was a good change. While walking down to the beautiful Veni Valley (Val Veni), the sunshine came through the thick clouds. The lights through the clouds created the pattern on the towering mountains.
This entire valley offered outstanding scenery.  Small lakes, surrounded by fresh greens, reflected the mountain range as a perfect mirror along the trail.  Vivid wildflowers bloomed everywhere in the valley. I just wished that there would be more sunshine and blue sky...  I could have spent many more hours photographing this area if the lighting was better.

The trail branched off to the higher mountain side which I climbed with my heavy pack.  The trail continued along the cliff which overlooked the valley and the south side of the Mont Blanc range with several hanging glaciers.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn't cooperating again...  The clouds got darker, and it could rain at any moment... it wasn't desirable lighting for photography either.  I was frustrated by the lack of photo opportunities since the start of this hike.

The rain started falling again and got heavier as I was hiking down to the town of Courmayeur.  I climbed down steep muddy long switchbacks on the trail in the rain, finally, the town came into view.

Courmayeur is on the the Italian side along Mont Blanc. (Monte Bianco in the Italian language) Soon after I walked into town and I felt like I was transported back to medieval times! The town is made up of narrow cobble stone streets with old stone buildings and a chapel... The old part of the town, Dolonne, is a historic mountain village with a charming atmosphere. People are still living here without development as a tourist attraction. I spent a few hours photographing this old area.
Nice atmosphere at evening...

Here is the City Center, the tourist part of Courmayeur.
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