Ryder-Walker’s Tour du Mont Blanc
Excerpt from: Solo adventures; Scared of traveling alone?
Fear not: these four female-friendly options boast fitness, fun and companionship.
Shape Magazine, Nov, 2004 by Lori Mayfield
Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc in France, Italy and Switzerland With Ryder-Walker.
Say bonjour, buon giorno and gruezi to fellow hikers as you tread through all three nations–France, Italy and Switzerland-of this legendary Alps circuit. You’ll encounter a challenging mix of steep ascents and descents punctuated with alpine streams, snowfields and lush meadows.
Who goes: A coed group of up to 12 hikers and adrenaline junkies in their early 30s-50s
The lowdown: You’ll start and end your vacation in Geneva (three miles from Geneva International Airport).
While this trip is more strenuous than the others–you’ll spend six to eight hours a day crossing a variety of challenging terrain at an average elevation of about 6,000 feet–there’s no roughing-it factor beyond the trail. Accommodations include charming inns, an upscale four-star hotel, an immaculate Swiss chalet, a family guesthouse and a spartan backpacker’s hut. You’ll have your own room for seven nights.
Calorie blasters: Daily hikes are epic–seven to 14 miles on average–but the spectacular surroundings and camaraderie you develop with your fellow trekkers will help you conquer the complete 68-mile circuit.
Sustenance: One evening your palate might enjoy an amuse bouche of duck canape, followed by rabbit fricassee in white wine and then creme brulee for dessert; another dinner could be family-style pasta or traditional fondue. Start your mornings with a complimentary continental breakfast, and shop the local market for fresh produce, baguette, prosciutto and Camembert cheese to prepare your hiker’s sack lunch ($12-$15 per day). Your guide will tempt you between meals with Swiss chocolates.
Me-time: If the changes in altitude become too taxing, you can hitch a ride on the luggage van (although it’s usually reserved for emergencies), which travels paved roads. Take a day off to explore the next village with a friend or simply draw a bubble bath back in your posh hotel room.
Learn more about Ryder-Walker’s guided Tour du Mont Blanc here.