Mont Blanc or The White Mountain (English translation) is appropriately named, because of the eternal snow, glacier and ice that rest on the summit of this highest mountain of the alps. Even from a great distance, the pure, blinding white of the peak stands like a God, above mere man. This is not just a mountain, this is one of the Fathers!
With a majestic height of 4,810 meters, it demands to be noticed! No other mountain or peak nearby equals this domination. It towers above two countries which share the border, France and Italy and to some extent, Switzerland; so to a person who dreams of mountains, this is heaven.
This mountain was an itch that had to be scratched. Together with my friends, we hiked around the massif, doing parts of the famous Tour du Mont Blanc route on the French side covering the town of Chamonix and the villages of Les Praz, Argentiere and Montenvers. The highest part of the route took us at 2500 meters at the summit of Le Brévent where we saw amazing landscapes and the power of nature where literally stops the breath. As the sun slowly settled down the mountain massif became a massive church as it glowed red and orange and reflected the last rays of the setting sun.
I witnessed a natural phenomena called the alpenglow. An alpenglow is an optical phenomenon in which a glowing red band is observed on the horizon, opposite to the setting sun. Words can not describe spectacular sight. I was at a loss for words then and I am at a loss for words now!
At this altitude, wild chamois, the goat antelope species are found, and they are used to human activity and they do not run , when we approach. Wild flowers fighting their way around the rocks and earth, to add colors to the grey and brown landscape.
Parts of the Tour du Mont Blanc took us to high magical lakes located deep in the mountains that surrounded Mont Blanc. Even in the middle of summer, snow and ice still form around the lakes as the mountains protect them from the strong sun.
Apart from the lakes on the route, on the far side of the massif, the mountains are different, they are called the Aiguilles – meaning needles. As the peaks pierce sharp towards the sky, like giant pyramids of which Aiguille du Dru is the most well known.
I can not forget the glaciers that abound around the massif. The Mer de Glace (the sea of ice) is thelongest and largest glacier in the French Alps and France. At its tongue (which is thinning because of global warming) ice caves formed, the caves are big and have made an ice museum in one. The glaciers here are so much more spectacular than other parts of the Alps. Aside from their normal white and gray color, the Glacier d‘Argentiere stands out from the rest because the glacial ice is bluish.
Apart from having great friends to hike around the massif, the power of nature is visual and mental. The pure wonders of nature walk side by side with the devastating effect of global warming. The glaciers are shrinking and we do not know how much longer they will last.
I came, I saw, and I wept inside. I did not absorb the mountain, the mountain absorbed me!