Tag Archives: Italian Alps

November 14, 2017 Hiking to Courmayeur, Italy, on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc at an 80-Year-Old Snail’s Pace

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By Michael Lanza

Our bus winds up a narrow road in the Vallée des Glaciers, below snowy peaks of the French Alps. We boarded it with about 10 other trekkers after a late-afternoon thunderstorm ripped the sky open while we enjoyed a café and tea with chocolate mousse and a slice of blueberry pie at the Auberge de la Nova in les Chapieux, a speck of a village along the Tour du Mont Blanc. As the bus rumbles into Ville des Glaciers, a cluster of old farm buildings, I ask the driver to stop.

My 80-year-old mother wants to get off and hike. Continue reading →

August 6, 2017 Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc in France, Italy, and Switzerland.

3-Minute Read: Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps

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By Michael Lanza

Look at any list of the world’s greatest hiking trails, and the Tour du Mont Blanc almost invariably occupies a spot at or near the top of the list. There are many good reasons for that. But first and foremost comes the sheer majesty of this roughly 105-mile (170k) walking path around the “Monarch of the Alps.” Passing through three nations—France, Italy, and Switzerland—and over several mountain passes reaching nearly 9,000 feet, it delivers almost constant views of glaciers, pointy peaks and “augilles,” and when it’s not engulfed in clouds, the snowy dome of Mont Blanc.

I just returned from a wonderful, nine-day trek on the Tour du Mont Blanc with my family and eight other friends and relatives—including my 80-year-old mom, whom I like to call “The World’s Toughest Grandmother” (although she’s about to become “The World’s Toughest Great-Grandmother”)—and we were blown away by the scenery and the experience. Scroll through my photos from the trip in this blog post for a window into the awesome character of this trail. Continue reading →

March 20, 2017 Hiking to Furcela dia Roa on the Alta Via 2 in Parco Naturale Puez-Odle, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

Photo Gallery: Trekking the Alta Via 2 Through Italy’s Dolomite Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

Hiking toward a mountain pass named Furcela dia Roa, on the first day of my family’s weeklong, hut-to-hut trek on the Alta Via 2 in northern Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, we stopped in an open meadow of grass and wildflowers overlooking a deep, verdant valley in Puez-Odle Natural Park. Across the valley loomed a wall of cliffs topped by jagged spires, like a castle a thousand feet tall. I looked at our map and back up at the stone wall before us, puzzled. After a moment, I realized: We have to get over that wall.

Continue reading →

July 13, 2015 The Alta Via 2 south of Rifugio Rosetta, in Paneveggio-Pale di San Martino Nature Park, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

‘The World’s Most Beautiful Trail:’ Trekking the Alta Via 2 in Italy’s Dolomites

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By Michael Lanza

We follow the zigzagging trail upward until it becomes lost beneath an unbroken snow cover. Then we follow the boot prints of the few trekkers who’ve ventured up here before us recently, a navigational strategy based on hope—the hope that unseen strangers knew where the path goes. A bit farther than I could hurl a stone to either side of us loom sheer walls of dark rock, rendered fuzzy by the fog, as if Vaseline coats our eyeballs. The cliffs rise hundreds of feet into the oblivion of a soupy, gray ceiling, the sky a dark bruise that looks almost close enough to touch. A drizzly rain seeps from the clouds, but the air is calm and there is no sound but our footsteps and breaths—and a faint rumbling of uncertainty in my gut. Continue reading →

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