Tour Du Mont Blanc-Europe


In addition to the aforementioned shampoo, etc, that i scrimped on in the Alps, another change i would have made was to bring at least one stylish outfit.  no,no,no, i don’t mean designer clothes (i don’t own any REAL designer duds, anyway.)  I’m just talkin’ about one change of clothes that i could wear out at night that wasn’t related to backpacking. I mean, zip-off’s and coolmax are fine, but honeykins and i felt like total slouches when we were finally in a town that had actual restaurants (!) and we’re schlepping around in the same clothes we’ve been wearing on the trail. Especially so when we ran into Paul and Kevin, who after a change looked especially fresh–they even brought real hair product!!

So in hindsight, i would definately pack a lightweight pair of jeans and a cute tee. Oh, and shoes.

little pink crocs

little pink crocs

Even just a pair of slip on sneakers.  Anything but my Merrell boots or pink crocs that i brought to wear in the huts.

During the process of consolidating and paring-down toiletries for our backpacking trip to the Alps, I came across the “perfect” solution to all those little travel sized bottles of shampoo, soap, conditioner, etc… I went online and found these little paper Travelon shampoo sheets that come in packet the size of a dental floss container.  You get them wet and they lather up. At 50 sheets per container it seemed like a no-brainer.  So I bought the shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, laundry soap, hand soap–the works! All that stuff that would take up so little space and be feather light! Tried ‘em at home, they did an OK job.

The first time I washed my hair on the hike, I used 2 sheets. No lather. So I pulled out some more (note: use DRY fingers to pull out the little sheets-they’re the consistency of a listermint and stick together.) Maybe it was the hard mountain water, but I never got a bubble outta those suckers, just a big clump of green goo.  Well, the showers only give you like, a gallon of water for your token, then you’re done.  When I walked into our room, Honeykins fell out laughing.  Imagine “There’s something about Mary” when Cameron Diaz has that “hair-gel” in her bangs. It was like that, only green. 10-minutes of combing through it with a toothbrush only served to spread it out like an invasive algae, and no amount of head-under-the-sink scrubbing rid me of the slime. Fortunately, a couple of very cool women from the UK  apparently lost their appetites after sitting across the table from me at dinner and breakfast, and presented me with a couple mini-bottles of shampoo they liberated from the maid’s cart in a hotel they had splurged for.  Many thanks, Kelly and Brenda! 

Ditto for all the other little soap sheets. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Lesson learned:  Even when you’re backpacking, there are some things you just can’t skimp on. Bring a small bottle of Dr. Bronner’s  and use it for everything!

hair gel

hair gel

 

 

Refuge Lac Blanc

Refuge Lac Blanc

Lunchtime view from Lac Blanc

Lunchtime view from Lac Blanc

Honeykins and I love adventure travel. We’re also notoriously tight with a buck, so here’s how we’ve managed to travel to exotic places on a shoestring budget. I get those wilderness travel magazines (you know the ones, $12,999 to go on a walking tour of Ireland, ADULT BEVERAGES included!!!) Well, having been an adventure travel consultant and tour escort in a past life, (it’ll all be in my book–crazy, man!), I’ve done the research and can pretty much clone those very same itineraries for a fraction of the cost. We even stay in the same type accommodations, if we want (which, frankly, sometimes we don’t.) So on our most recent adventure, the aforementioned “Tour Du Mont Blanc“, an 11 day backpacking trip around the alps, we managed to save about $3000. Funny thing is, we met up with those poor bastards on their organized tour, and they looked miserable. The leader was useless, and they were stuck with each other for 2 weeks. Yikes!

Anyway, the trip was fantastic, and we met totally cool people that we hiked with off and on through most of the trip. If you havn’t been to the Alps, go. Go now. The glaciers are melting (everywhere,) and the beach will only be getting bigger. Here’s a shot of one of the mountain huts at Lac Blanc. Nice view, huh? You Betcha!

Meet  willy and the boyz, our mascot that travels the world with us. I picked him up at a local art shop in Kaikoura, NZ.  He was created to be a napkin holder, according to the artist, but he makes for an entertaining conversation piece, don’t you think?

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