Field Notes

Chamonix Alps 2A • June 26-July 18, 2018

A Final Farewell!

July 20, 2018

Bonjour again,

Who would have guessed that the hardest day of hiking had actually yet to come! We arrived in Paris, stepped off the metro, and were immediately greeted by what must have been at least 10 flights of stairs! We summitted the metro station with our heavy bags gasping for breath and could not have been more thankful for Keegan and Brooks, who volunteered to carry our heaviest bag full of our group gear – trekking poles, paperwork, and all of our electronics.

After settling into our hostel, we began our long trek to the Arc de Triomphe, where we joined hundreds of thousands of French soccer fans, as they awaited the arrival of the World Cup Champions. The French team drove along Avenue des Champs-Élysées on a double decker bus, and fans, hanging from trees and standing on cars, lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the players. Nine French fighter jets flew overhead streaming blue, white and red, the colors of the French flag, and the streets erupted with cheers. We were extremely fortunate for witnessing such a spectacle, which was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The next day, Megan and Dean took the group on a touristy trek throughout Paris, admiring as many sites as possible in just a day’s time. Before sightseeing, however, we wanted to match the Parisians’ trendy dress while on a student budget, so we stopped by a thrift store. Blake, with his keen eye for fashion, advised Brooks, John, Keegan and Dean on which sport coats to purchase, and we all laughed as Brooks matched his velvet green jacket with the personality of an eccentric millionaire. Meanwhile across the street, Hallie, Gigi (Eugenia), Catherine and Cassi dressed themselves more casually, choosing to replicate the dress of vacationers on a cruise ship. When we finally left the thrift store, we realized we had gone a little overboard playing “dress up” and now stood out even more than we had before, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying a quick photoshoot along the street as we received confused glances from onlookers. Nonetheless, donned with new outfits, we were now ready to begin our tour of Paris.

Every stop – the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower – impressed us in its grandeur, and we regretted not having more time to explore the many gems of Paris, a city packed with cultural heritage. As expected, Parisian food lived up to its name, and Katherine, Claire and Maya agreed that our lunch, though just a simple sandwich shop on the outside, was arguably the best meal of the entire trip. After miles and miles of walking from one site to the next, we eventually headed to our banquet dinner, where we treated ourselves to fancier meal accompanied by soft drinks and gelato.

Back at the hostel, we all snuggled into one room together to celebrate our last moonup.  The next few hours, we reflected on highs, lows and all the sweet moments in-between. With tears in our eyes and disbelief that three weeks had gone by so quickly, we all embraced our last few hours together as a group!!

Megan and I write this letter to you with a heavy heart, as we suffer from separation withdrawal. Though oftentimes a dysfunctional family of thirteen, we were a family nonetheless, and we loved every minute together on this trip.  It’s hard to believe it’s possible to develop such strong bonds with a group in just 23 days; although we are no longer physically together, we will always carry the memory of this trip in our hearts. Thanks for making this a trip of a lifetime!!

With much love,

Your pseudo parents (Dean & Megan)


Out of the Pyrenees!

July 18, 2018

Bonjour from France!!

As we returned to France from Costa Brava, a fog settled over the city of Lourdes, which would serve as our home base during our trek through the Pyrenees. Arriving in the late afternoon, Lourdes’ empty streets and vacated buildings stood in stark contrast to what we had previously been told about the city. As the third-most popular Christian Pilgrimage, behind only Jerusalem and Rome, Lourdes hosts roughly 4 million visitors annually. The legend states that in 1858 a young girl was visited multiple times by the ghost of the Blessed Virgin Mary and at the spot where the ghost stood, a spring arouse from the ground.  Over 150 years later, pilgrims still travel from all over the world seeking the healing properties of the holy spring water. We thought little about the ghost-town feel, however, as we mentally prepared ourselves for what we knew would be our hardest challenge yet – an arduous 8-day trek, the Cirque de Gavarnie, through the Pyrenees Mountains.

Day 1: Cirque via Anguilla and Lieusaube

We woke up early in Lourdes, laced up our hiking boots, and walked outside to meet our new guide Sacha, who drove us an hour away along a winding mountain road to our first hostel. Along the way, Sacha explained that the world’s best bicyclists would traverse this very road in just a few weeks on the Tour du France, and we struggled to imagine this seemingly impossible feat.

When we arrived at the hostel, the group celebrated a small victory as Sacha explained that today would be a “packs-off” warm-up day. After becoming accustomed to lugging heavy 50+ liter bags on long, 8-mile treks, we reveled in our newfound ability to leap from rock to rock and we could not have been more grateful for Maya’s selfless decision to carry the group gear in her pack. After a short time, we arrived at a beautiful green pasture filled with wildlife; cows grazed in the field and marmots gave off their signature high pitched whistles as they popped out behind distant rocks. Keegan had an special knack for always spotting the marmots before anyone else could lay an eye on them. We enjoyed a lunch of bread and meats and cheeses, and then we watched in awe as our guide Sacha casually decided to dip himself into the arctic high mountain stream. A few members of the group mustered up the courage to follow Sacha’s lead, and we could not believe the daring of Cassi, John, Brooks and Keegan as they plunged into the cold water. We then returned to our hostel and ate one of the best meals of the trip – caramel pork with a creamy risotto, followed by a dark chocolate mousse cake. With our stomachs stuffed and legs now warm, we went to bed eagerly anticipating the first true day of the Cirque.

Day 2: Horquette d’Alans

Being one of the longest and most difficult days on the trek, we woke up early again and started our ascent to the highest point of our trip, a pass called Hoquette d’Alans, which stands at 2430 meters. Despite the difficulty of this day, the group remained in high spirits, and our LODs, Brooks and Cat, pushed the group onward with their positivity and encouragement. We took brief breaks, just enough time to laugh as Keegan placed a frog in his mouth and Cassi swallowed an ant, but the group remained focused on the task at hand, which was to beat the incoming storm to the pass. The speed and enthusiasm that everyone hiked with far surpassed that of the TMB, and Megan and Dean could not have been more proud and impressed with the progression of this incredible group. As we approached the pass and the clouds rolled in under our feet, our vision became blurred but words of encouragement echoed from the group as we made our final ascent. At the top, we celebrated with exuberant yells as we admired the breath-taking views through the clouds, and we caught a small glimpse of the Spanish and French border, which we would be viewing from the Spanish side in just a few days.

We raced down and out of the rain to find a picturesque hostel on the side of the mountain. We enjoyed a long, late afternoon nap, listening to the patter of the rain on our hostel roof. After dinner, the weather cleared and we enjoyed our most eventful Moonup to date; the horses that were grazing in the pasture took a special interest to Claire’s hair and decided to join our circle, but we stood our ground and Cat and Brooks continued to lead Moonup as planned. Just two days into our trek, the group had already determined that the Pyrenees surpassed all prior places, and we felt fortunate to have saved the best for last.

Day 3: Gavarnie

Exhausted from our strenuous hike, we enjoyed the luxury of sleeping in until 8am and woke up to an entirely different landscape than the night prior, as the clouds no longer obscured the massive mountains and green valleys that surrounded us. Our guide Sacha kindly offered to lead us in his morning sun salutations, so we joined him in his morning ritual of yoga and meditation before filling our bellies with a delicious breakfast of various breads, jams, and coffee. After breakfast, we slowly packed our gear and gathered around our LODs Katherine and Gigi for morning huddle, where they inspired us with a quote from Khalil Gibran.

“Solitude is a silent storm that breaks down our dead branches. Yet it sends our living roots deeper into the living heart of the Earth”.

Impassioned by these words on solitude, we decided to spread out and dedicate 30 minutes to self-reflection before continuing our trek. Megan lead a discussion on understanding ‘your four pillars’. These pillars would represent your four fundamental characteristics that allow you to be the best version of yourself. During this time of solitude, Megan challenged the group to spend some time brainstorming our four pillars. This morning marked the beginning of a much greater trek to self-discovery, which would become our theme throughout the Pyrenees.

After a relatively restful hike, we arrived at the end of the Gavarnie Cirque and stood in silence as we gazed upon “the Grand Cascade” and listened to its roaring waters. A truly impressive spectacle, “the Grand Cascade” stands at 423 meters tall, making it Europe’s highest waterfall outside of Norway. We enjoyed lunch at its base and then walked through the valley of Gavarnie to a small village where our hostel lay. We explored the village in the afternoon, and the group enjoyed a special treat at a crepe stand at the end of the village. Cassi, the crepe expert of the group, even praised her Nutella and butter crepe as the best crepe she had ever tasted! We then enjoyed another delicious dinner at our hostel as we watched France defeat Belgium in the World Cup semifinals.

Day 4 – Bujaruelo

¡Hola España! In the morning, Sacha took us to a small church built in the 12th centuries; from the worn squeaky wooden floor boards to the turquoise ceiling embedded with golden stars, the group was mesmerized by this church’s simple beauty. Sacha pulled the group to the back corner to reveal a special cabinet containing four skulls inside! He explained that these were the skulls of the famous templars, a group of knights founded in 1119 that were tasked to protect travelers, and this church because it marked the beginning of a famous pilgrimage, el Camino de Santiago. Eugenia squealed with excitement, as she had spent the past semester studying el Camino and couldn’t believe she was standing at the starting point of this great voyage. Eugenia explained that el Camino is a month long journey to Santiago, Spain. It traces the path of Saint James as he traveled to “the end of the Earth” to expand the church. Today people choose to begin this walk for various reasons, but all approach it with an understanding that el Camino is a month-long journey of self-discovery. The first half of our trek today followed el Camino, and the group thought it would be fitting if we started similar to our fellow sojourners, with a silent walk.

We climbed through the pastoral valley of Pouey Aspé and ascended to the “Puerto de Bujaruelo,” marking our entrance from France into Spain. We enjoyed lunch and a short nap on top of the pass, and then were led down an unconventional path to our hostel in Bujaruelo. We first glissaded down a long patch of snow learning the proper technique to slide quickly yet safely down a giant rock field. Sacha’s “shortcuts,” as he called them, always challenged us, but the group never failed to rise to the occasion. Whether it be Claire, Blake, and Keegan racing to the bottom of the rock field, or Maya overcoming her fear of the steep rocky descent, we were continuously impressed by the tenacity of this group as they tackled every challenge. When we finally arrived in Bujaruelo, we treated our bodies to a cold ice bath in a nearby river.

Day 5 – Torla

Sacha brilliantly designed this trek, interjecting short “rest” days between the hardest days of hiking. So, following this routine, Sacha led us on a relaxing hike through the woods to the quaint stone village of Torla. As we hiked in a light drizzle through a shaded stretch of woods, Hallie and Brooks challenged everyone to think about their “dead branches,” in reference to Katherine and Gigi’s quote from Day 3. At lunch, we stopped at a neat swimming hole, and the majority of the group – Cassi, John, Gigi, Blake, Keegan, Cat, and Brooks – enjoyed the thrill of leaping off a rock and plunging into the ice cold water below. Keegan outdid the rest of the group, as nobody could match his 4 jumps (most of us could only bare the cold once). We arrived at Torla early in the afternoon, so we enjoyed the luxury of walking around this beautiful stone village, before enjoying another delicious 3-course meal at a restaurant across the street from our hostel.

Day 6 – Goriz

Yesterday’s rest was needed; today’s ascent, as Sacha stated, would be like “scaling a vertical cliff.” Much to our initial dismay, Sacha was not exaggerating. We arrived at the trailhead and craned our necks, looking straight up at a massive vertical wall of rock that stood before us. Another seemingly impossible task, we arrived at the top in just one hour and 30 minutes, earning praise from Sacha as the fastest group to accomplish this feat. At a circular lookout, we enjoyed a breathtaking view, marveling at the vast distance we had hiked in such a short time, and then we pushed onward along the edge of a valley to a remote hostel in Goriz. Here, we enjoyed one of the best views of the trip.

Day 7 and 8 – Returning to Lourdes

From Goriz, we began our two-day trek back to el Puerto de Bujaruelo, where we would meet our driver and return to Lourdes. We enjoyed the ease of descending through the valley as we returned to the comfort of our hostel in Bujaruelo, and when we passed the same swimming hole, more participants decided to take the leap. As Maya and Katherine leapt with a shriek, the group laughed and applauded their bravery, for just two days ago, we would have had no chance of convincing them to join in on the thrill. Our final day, however, still presented an uphill 3-hour challenge to the “Col du Bucharo” as the French call it. We struggled retracing our steps up the snow and rock fields on our journey back to the French-Spanish border, a vivid contrast to the downhill trek two days prior. Finally, traveling side by side as one team, we emerged victorious at the top of the pass, where we embraced one another in a bitter sweet hug, for this moment marked the end of our trekking!!

Day 8.5 – World Cup!!

We could not have timed our trek anymore perfectly. As we drove back to our hotel in Lourdes, France, Sacha pointed out a large park in the center of town, where there would be a public showing of the World Cup Finals between France and Croatia. We arrived in Lourdes with just enough time to quickly shower before heading into the park to celebrate a thrilling 4-2 victory for France, high-fiving the locals and cheering the few French words we knew – Maya, in her attempt to join the locals in cheer, repeatedly screamed “Bonjour,” receiving laughs from the nearby fans.

As the 90-minute clock ran out and France hoisted the Cup victorious, we got to experience the emotional investment that goes into the most popular sport in the world, and we were fortunate enough to witness it on the world’s largest stage. As we walked back to the hotel, enthusiastic fans flooded the town, and their cheers echoed through the streets! French flags were hung proudly outside of every window, and car horns blared until the early hours of the morning. Given the excitement in this small French town of Lourdes, we could only imagine what celebrations were to come in Paris!


Hola from Spain!

July 7, 2018

Coming to you live from the beautiful coastline of Costa Brava! This rugged coast stretches 37 miles north of Barcelona to the foothills of the Pyrenees at the French border. While much of Costa Brava has lent itself to tourist development, other parts still retain their traditional flare and are “hidden gems” to stumble upon. This tranquil and scenic coastline has attracted people for years, even artists like Salvador Dali, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso.

After being on our feet all day in the Alps, the thought of sand and sun sounded so luxurious. Even the idea of travel didn’t sound too bad because our sore bodies and blistered feet needed some rest – at 4:00 am, we rallied behind Cassie and Maya as they dragged us out of bed and got us on our way to Costa Brava, Spain!

After an unexpectedly late arrival into our campground, we immediately settled in and enjoyed waking up to light, in contrast to the morning prior. Keegan and Claire, our leaders of the day, arose early to visit the local market to treat the group after an exhausting travel day, returning with a variety of pastries, fresh fruit and coffee. Following a slow morning, we walked into town to meet our kayaking guides – Roger and Poalo. On our hour-long drive to the put-in spot, the guides explained the history of the region and showed us various points of interest, such as the olive tree farms. We were surprised to learn that Spain produces 45% of the world’s olive oil!

We arrived at our destination and quickly learned the basics of sea kayaking. After standing on the hot, sunny beach listening to instruction, we excitedly hopped into the cool, clear water of the Mediterranean and began paddling. Though relaxing for the legs, we quickly discovered upon leaving the cove that our arms would be receiving quite the workout. We navigated our kayaks along the coastline, weaving between large rocks and through narrow channels. The guides directed us to a secluded cove for lunch and a sunny siesta. An early afternoon storm forced us to cut our time short, but the group looked forward to another day of exploring tomorrow.

Due to traveling on the Fourth of July, we were unable to celebrate together. To make up for the missed holiday, the LODs organized a day of Fourth of July games. To get into the spirit, everyone dressed in red, white and blue. To truly complete the patriotic theme, our outfits were accompanied by hats, bandannas, and flags. After applying the final touches of face paint, we split into two teams for a competition reminiscent of Iron Chef. Both teams marched into town towards the local supermarket. The locals stared as the group swarmed the aisles looking for ingredients to prepare their half of dinner. Once everyone returned to the campsite, the blue and red team raided their houses for cooking supplies and began making their dishes. It was cool to see the teams embrace the competitive spirit of the Fourth of July games and watch everyone work together to prepare their mystery dishes. The teams even went above and beyond to decorate their tables & prepare a presentation for the judges. It was a great end to our day and everyone agreed that they wanted another chance to cook together!

The second day of kayaking was beautiful-sunny and clear skies. The guides took us to another secluded beach were we spent the day exploring coves,snorkeling, skipping rocks, and laying in the sun. In the afternoon, we had some free time to sit by the pool, eating watermelon and listening to music-a treat to our ears after going for two weeks without it. We ended our time in Costa Brava with a meaningful moon-up on the beach.

Our time in Costa Brava was short but full of sweet memories! Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!! For now, here are some shout outs to our loves one back home:

 

Blake: Tell mom mom that I couldn’t reply to her text because I ran out of data in Atlanta. Can y’all help with that? Anyways, Mont Blanc is beautiful, and so is Costa Brava. Supposedly, the Pyrenees are prettier than Mont Blanc. We’ll see.

 

Keegan: I’m alive! Hope Colorado is treating you well. You would love it here.

 

Brooks: I miss y’all and hope everyone is alive. I need money. I can’t wait to see y’all.

 

Cassi: I’m having an amazing time and can’t wait to share the stories with y’all. Love you & cant wait to see you soon!

 

Maya: I’m having such a great time. Everything is so pretty and everyone is so nice. We went kayaking in the same spot I visited with PACE on the Barcelona trip. I love you guys and miss you so much!

 

Katherine: Hope you guys are having fun in Nantucket. I am loving my group and all the European food! Tell charchar and AG I say hi! Love and miss you!

 

Cat: Hey Fam! I hope your lives are well in Nashville, Cashiers, DC and Dallas. I’m having an incredible time and can’t wait to tell you more about the trip when I get home. Tell Buddy and Rebel I say hi.

 

Claire: Hey guys, I’m having such a great time here! Thanks so much for sending me on this trip. I love you all and hope you are having a good couple of weeks without me. BTW I’m trying lots of new foods. Please call the bank and tell them to not cancel my debit card since I am out of the country. Love and miss you guys!

Eugenia: Hey fam! I hope y’all are holding up without me  Can’t wait to hear about Spain and Camp Lanes. Europe is beautiful and I love my group. We start the Pyrenees tomorrow so wish me luck. Tell Big G, Gigi, Will and my friends that I miss them! See y’all at the airport!! Xoxo y’all are the best!!

 

John: This trip is pretty cool I guess…. I need a victory royal STAT! If you’re trying to squad up on fortnite lmk.

 

Hallie: hiiiii! I miss you all so much. I am having an amazing time! These hikes are insane, beautiful and hard. You all are going to be so jealous of me  Tell mambo and Lex I say hiii. I hope they’re not bothering you too much because I’m gone. Love you all so so much and can’t wait to see you

 


Fascinating Tour du Mont Blanc

July 6, 2018

Bonjour from France!

After two days of traveling, we are delighted to finally arrive in the beautiful town of Chamonix; located in the Rhône-Alps region of southeast France and at the base of Mount Blanc, the village of Chamonix offers spectacular views of the mountain on every street corner. The city is one of the oldest ski resorts in France and even held the Winter Olympics in 1924!

Just a short walk from the hostel, in the center of Chamonix, we stumbled upon our first gelato shop, which we cannot resist. It was the perfect afternoon treat and the beginning of our constant quest to find the best ice cream shop in each town. With our stomachs still rumbling from a full day of travel, we stopped at a nearby cafe, sharing various salads, pizzas and pastas – our first true taste of French quality meats and cheeses. Tired and now in a bit of a food coma, we began our short walk back to the hostel, only to be interrupted by Maya’s excited shriek that we must go “alpine sledding,” which could be seen a short distance away atop a hill. After this surge of excitement amongst the group, we had no choice but to try it out. (Throughout the week, we would quickly learn that Maya had a knack for always finding the best spots in town, which usually involved ice cream). The slides were a blast from the past for many as we recalled consistently riding them years ago; Brooks & Blake even went for a second sled ride, and the group laughed watching the two of them sharing a slide and zipping down the mountainside. We ended the night having our first moonup in a grassy field near the base of Mount Blanc; eyes heavy, bellies full, and adventures to come racing through our heads, we happily went to sleep excited for what laid ahead.

When we woke up the next day, Chamonix was buzzing with excitement. That weekend was the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) marathon and athletes were arriving from all over the world. Walking down the street, you could hear people chatting in various languages, all preparing for the race that weekend. With the spirit of adventure in the air, we couldn’t wait to see what all the hype was about.

Over the next five days, our group would embark on completing the TMB. The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most popular long distance walks in Europe. The trek, dating back to the 18th century, covers a distance of over 100 miles while circling Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in Europe. Trekking through France, Italy and Switzerland, the group would be awestruck by the beauty of the area while simultaneously being challenged like never before, hiking long 10 mile days with upwards of 3,000 feet in elevation gain.

Day 1: Arnuva to La FoulyWe started our day bright and early in our hostel in Chamonix, France, eating the usual fresh bread, various jams, Nutella and multiple cups of coffee. By now, we were accustomed to drinking our coffee out of the bowls provided, no longer eying the locals for guidance when no cup was provided. Driving through a tunnel built underneath Mont Blanc, we arrived at Arnuva, a small town in Italy, to begin our voyage. Hiking through beautiful pastures amongst towering mountains, we powered through the steep ascent, driven forward by the anticipation of seeing the views that await. Atop a mountain pass in Italy, we enjoyed lunch – a meat and cheese platter accompanied by fresh bread – and finished it off with our new favorite chocolate treat, ova maltine (a deluxe version of Nutella). On our descent, we encountered our first wild animal – luckily it wasn’t a bear – but a local Swiss cow. Keegan, also known as the cow whisper, became fast friends with “George the Cow” as he created a montage of cow selfies. After a grueling first day, we finally arrived at the quaint little town of La Fouly, where we stayed at an upscale hostel and completed our trifecta of meals: breakfast in France, lunch in Italy, and dinner in Switzerland.

Day 2: La Fouly to ChampexOnce again, we embarked early from our hostel for a great day of hiking through Switzerland. The trek began on a relaxingly flat terrain, which was much appreciated by our sore legs. Walking through several quant Swiss towns, our curiosities flourished about the villages’ more simplistic styles of life. We continued to learn more about the European culture during our lunch break. Eating apricots fresh from the valley for dessert, we were taught from our local tour-guide about eating etiquette (ex: don’t pick up any food for yourself until everything is prepared/ laid out). Ultimately, the rolling hills surrounding us as we ate urged many to break out in song like the Van Trapp family. The more treacherous parts of the day’s hikes also sparked our wonder. Not only did we discover a mysterious cave, but we also came upon an old World War II bunker. While we were all fascinated by the bunker’s history, John was especially interested. His eyes lit up extra wide when he saw the bunker hidden within a large rock in the woods. Our hike for the day eventually ended in yet another small, Swiss town named Champex. To shock the group and to cool off from a hard day’s work of trekking, Catherine and Claire (today’s Leaders of the Day) spontaneously jumped into Lake Champex, located in the center of town. Despite the frigid temperature of the water, almost all joined in with the spur of the moment swimming fun. The coolness of the lake ultimately helped sooth our sore muscles and prepared us for another day on the TMB to follow.

Day 3: Champex to TrientHump day! The third day of our five day trek started with a “blistering” pace as we all tried to keep up with Blake and Katherine, our leaders of the day. This was our longest and hardest day yet, but due to Blake and Katherine, we made it to Trient in record time and were able to enjoy our first shower of the trek. We spent the afternoon hanging out and watching the sunset behind a stunning pink church located in the center of Trient; some of us played cards while others of us were dazzled by Blake’s hidden scrabble talent as he whipped us in “bananagrams.” For dinner, the group got to choose between a fondue dish and a chicken curry dish. Only the bravest of the group – Katherine, Maya, Eugenia, Claire and the leaders – decided to venture into the unknown as they tried a cheese and tomato fondue, only to instantly regret that decision as Katherine aptly described it as tasting “like pizza flavored Pringles.” The dinner was capped off with a delicious ice cream cake, however, and we enjoyed our best night of sleep yet.

Day 4: Trient to ArgentiereThe fourth day everyone agreed to be one of their favorites. Although the first half of the hike was challenging, Brooks and Cassi set the pace of the group while Hallie kept us entertained by facilitating group games during the treacherous uphill ascent out of the village of Trient. When we had successfully hiked out of the valley, the group was presently surprised at how quickly the time had passed and the ease in walking uphill with their new “hiking legs”. The view from the ridge of the mountain and descent to Argentiere was the most beautiful part of the day and offered some of the best views on the entire TMB. Every time we lifted our head up from the trail, our jaw would drop in awe! It looked every bit like the postcards and pictures of the summer Alps-majestic snowcapped mountains with lush green fields and colorful wild flowers growing below; the group stood in silence with a mutual understanding that words and pictures would never be able to capture the essence of this place.

Day 5: Argentiere to ChamonixWe woke up to an incredible breakfast spread in our hotel and took our leisurely time leaving Argentiere, as we were just a short hike from Chamonix. After just a few hours, we arrived in Chamonix and enjoyed the comfort of our original hostel. We spent the afternoon strolling through the streets of Chamonix, visiting various souvenir stores and laughing at the absurd prices displayed in the various Mont Blanc stores. We treated ourselves to an American style dinner at “Poco Loco,” and Brooks managed to even convince the employees to play Drake for us over the loud speaker as everyone danced and sang along. Our final hours in Chamonix were bitter sweet, but we slept with heavy eyes and sore legs, ready to tackle the 4:00 am wakeup call and accompanying travel day to Costa Brava!

Sending our love from France,

-Cham Fam


All Students Safe in Chamonix!

June 27, 2018

Hey Chamonix Families,

We have heard from our leaders, and the group has arrived in Chamonix and is off to a great start. Stay tuned for more updates!!

-The Moondance HQ