Best hikes a father and son pilgrimage on the Tour du Mont Blanc

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By week’s end, now back in France after more than 150km through the Swiss farmstead villages of La Fouly and Champex, I sensed we may have achieved what we both had thought impossible. We made our final push towards the Col du Brevent above the Chamonix valley, side-stepping along a devilishly narrow path, then tackled a series of unforeseen rudimentary ladders bolted into the rock, my dad enthusiastically swearing with every rung. It was an apt final hurdle. We climbed up into a narrow world of stone, light and echo, meeting Mont Blanc face on. An ailing Scottish grandpa in good company with the grandfather of the Alps.

To capture the moment, I took a family portrait, but only then did it dawn on me it was nearly the same composition as on a slide I’d first seen in one of those junk boxes, taken almost 50 years ago. There was that smile, those eyes fixed on the horizon, the beautiful Alpine ridges of Mont Blanc crowding out the background. For a split second, it looked like nothing had changed.

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