Day 5 of our Tour du Mont Blanc adventure was when things started to get interesting, and not in a way we had anticipated, or hoped for. This day ended up being our most challenging day both physically as well as mentally. Positivity and mental stamina were used in spades ... but that came later. Let’s start from the beginning.
We woke after a wonderful night sleep in Courmayeur. I had been worried I wouldn’t sleep well after our giant pizza dinner but I fell asleep almost immediately and my eyes didn’t open until morning. Breakfast didn't start until 7:45 am, much later than the typical 6:30 am breakfasts at the refuges so we planned to allow ourselves to sleep in a bit. No such luck though - our bodies were so used to waking up early, my eyes shot open long before the alarm sounded. We put our morning time to good use though, doing some Pilates, writing, reading through the days hiking directions and then headed down for breakfast. Staying a hotel, we were back to a luxurious full breakfast spread of yoghurt and granola, various breads and croissants, jams, cheeses, ham and... coffee. There were also hard boiled eggs which we both stashed in our pockets for lunch later that day. One of the true benefits to staying in a hotel were the substantially better breakfasts which allowed for some takeaways for lunch.
We woke up in Rifugio Elisabetta to one of the most beautiful sunrise views I’ve ever experienced. Once again, the refuge began stirring early as hikers started to get ready for their departure. It had been a cool night which was a refreshing change from the blistering heat we had been experiencing. Our small little room housed two single bunk beds so cuddling up in the night wasn't an option. We opened our window and watched the sun rise in the distance, the misty air and wispy clouds adding to the beautiful scene. I swear I stood there, mesmerized for ages before starting to dress.
The first few steps every morning were always uncomfortable as we took inventory of the last day’s damage:
Blisters: One on my heel, and one developing on my baby toe but still manageable
Feet: Bruised and painful on each step with a small stabbing feeling in the heel (likely a plantar fascia issue)
Quads: Tired and sore and not fully able to straighten but nothing a little massage and shakeout wouldn’t fix.
Shoulders: Feeling surprisingly okay! No permanent damage from the heavy bags we were lugging around.
Overall, we were feeling pretty good as we prepared for our 4th day hiking. We rolled out our feet and legs with our balls, did a few stretches once our muscles had warmed up and went down for breakfast.