Day 6 Saturday 18th July
600m up to Vallorcine – Tre Les Eaux – Vallee de Berard
How sad that it was our final day in the mountains. We did a nice morning stretch class with Liz, followed by a quick blast throwing the med ball at each other whilst standing on one leg – now that is hard work! Especially when you are in a group of 3 with Mark and Francois who enjoy hurling the med ball at you at top speed and knocking you off your feet. To be fair that was the aim of the game, but nonetheless, they had an unfair advantage. Francois is ridiculously fit and strong, and Mark is a bundle of pure airborne Viking fury!
We went upstairs for breakfast and the weather turned. We had been so lucky with weather so far this week, others may disagree with me, but I loved it being really hot and sunny. A storm broke out so we waited for about 30 minutes or so for it to settle, which it did eventually.
We started with a speed hike 600m vertically from Vallorcine and looped around through Tres Les Eaux. The boys sped off like mountain goats, up and out of sight. I hung back with Liz and Jen, but following some technical stops I ended up a bit in front and alone. It was muggy following the rain fall and the flies had come out to play. I hate to be a girl about it, but I am sure Liz and Jen will concur when I say that flies constantly buzzing around your head when you are trying to climb a mountain is really annoying!
A few swear words and a lot of shooing the flies away later, I reached the boys who had stopped for a water break before we would make our climb back down. Most days my calves took at least 20 minutes to half an hour to warm up and stop cramping, but today they were cramping the whole way up, no matter how much I stopped to stretch them out. I think 6 days of hiking was taking its toll on my poor legs. Liz and Jen joined us at the meeting point and then we started our descent back down through Vallee de Berard.
This was beautiful. We crossed bridges with waterfalls plummeting down beside us and we climbed down past flowing rivers. We stopped by Tres les Eaux to take some group shots (got to be done).
We headed back to the Chalet for lunch and a shower and then headed in to town for a well deserved end of the week beer (or five). You can take Mark out of the Physio4Life, but you cant take Physio4Life out of Mark! He demonstrated what he does best on a bar table…neck manips. Liz had been having neck pain for about 5 months and was amazed that Mark released it in just a few seconds.
After a bit of a bar crawl through Chamonix centre and a mandatory couple of rum shots at Elevation, we headed back for dinner. Dinner tonight was a BBQ in the chalet, bring on the meat!! What a fantastic and merry end to the week. We ate lots of fantastic meat and fish, drank prosecco and wine and danced like idiots to Marks Spotify playlist, which seems to comprise mainly of one direction, spice girls and Justin Beiber. I joke. Marks playlists are legendary.
I could not recommend Chamonix Hardcross enough. I feel fitter, cleansed from a great diet and exercise routine, and I still had fun and a few drinks! A great mixture of hard work and play and I met some fabulous likeminded people. It was a great challenge and I am very proud of what we have all achieved, the miles we have under our belt, and I am overwhelmed by the beautiful views I have seen up in the mountains.
A shout out to Jen, who did amazingly well, had an infectious positive attitude that rubbed off on us all (even in those physically demanding moments where you just want to give up)! And a beautiful smile on her face all day, every day!
Thank you to François, his French humour, knowledge of the mountains and impeccable footwork was incredibly impressive!
Also thank you to CHX Damien and Ali for organising the week and being fantastic hosts.
Thank you to CHX Geoff for beasting us every morning before we had even started our hikes and being there waiting for us when we came back!