We woke on our third morning after a very refreshed sleep at Auberge de la Nova, located in the small hamlet of Les Chapieux. We had allowed ourselves a little sleep in (7am woohoo!) however the refuge was alive and in full swing long before that, so we were both awake before the alarm sounded. Shortly upon waking we headed down to breakfast and were surprised to see the dining room almost empty and the breakfast quite depleted. People sure got up and left early around here! Luke and I preferred to take our time in the mornings and leave when the trails were a bit quieter.
Breakfast at the refuge was much simpler consisting of yogurt, granola and sliced baguette with butter and jam. And coffee... there was always coffee. We had clearly been spoiled by our multi-course hotel breakfasts the first two mornings. Nevertheless we still managed to eat more than enough to fuel us for the morning ahead. It was a quiet and peaceful morning and we took our time in the dining room letting our bodies wake up and our minds prepare for the day ahead.
Day 3 would take us out of France and into Italy. It was a slightly shorter day, but still demanding with over 1000m of elevation gain. We packed up our bags, picked up our packed lunch from the refuge (the only time we ordered one) and set off on day 3 of the Tour du Mont Blanc.
Our alarm sounded at 6:30am, and I groggily rolled over in bed. Despite being utterly exhausted, neither Luke or I slept well on that first night. I was sure I would fall asleep the second my head hit the pillow, but hour after hour passed without a hint of shut eye. When the alarm finally went off I was almost relieved that fretful night was over. Taking that first stop out of bed, I was immediately reminded of the day before’s efforts. Isn’t DOMS not supposed to kick in for 24-48 hours? Using every effort not to wimper, I hobbled my way to the bathroom. Staring into that mirror at myself, I almost laughed. What on earth did we think we were doing?
Eventually the legs started to ease out and life was brought back into my feet, but I knew only one day into our hike, we were in for it.
Leaving Luke to get himself up, I stumbled downstairs with coffee as my motivator. Breakfast didn’t start until 7am, but I went down a few minutes early to do some writing and mentally prepare for the day ahead. The mountain air was chilly as I sat in the back garden gathering my thoughts. By 7am there was a lineup of hikers outside the dining room eagerly awaiting for the doors to open. You would have thought food was being rationed here the way people were waiting; like hawks scoping out their prey. Most hikers were fully dressed with their bags packed, clearly ready to leave immediately after eating. I was so confused… did NONE of them need to go back to the comfort of their hotel room for their post coffee poo?