Day 2 – Les Houches – Les Contamines-Montjoie

There was very little pride in day 2. We woke up, had breakfast in the hotel, and started off to Les Houches. The very small grade descent out of the hotel and onto the road started making my knees hurt and after 10 minutes of walking I felt terrible. Additionally, my stomach wasn’t feeling great. It was either traveler’s stomach or too much coffee, but my stomach was not happy.

We walked through the town and I stopped to buy knee braces in a local store. Maybe when I retire, I’ll move to a town on the TMB and sell nothing but knee braces and pain killers. I am sure I’ll make a fortune. We found the start of the trail and right before we started off, I went running for a bathroom. Bad day indeed.

When I got back to the trailhead, I looked at Samer and told him that I was not going and that I’d meet everyone in the next town. After a little bit of negotiating, and convincing him that I would be ok, we parted ways. Three people walked up and I walked back into town.

I felt defeated. It was day 2 and I had already admitted defeat. From there on out there was no way, I would walk the 110 miles that make up the TMB. I got back into the center of town and sat down at a cafe. I was nursing my expresso (dumb order on a sour stomach) and my French cell phone rang. It was my sister. She too decided to abandoned the day, and came to meet me at the cafe.

We went to the visitors’ center and learned that we could get a bus from Saint-Gervais-les-Bains to our hotel, but we had to take the train from Les Houches there. We got the train, stopped for a glass of wine, and then got on the bus. We arrived in Les Contamines-Montjoie about 90 minutes before Spencer and Samer. We stayed at Hôtel le Christiania, which was a perfectly pleasant hotel. There was nothing fancy about it, and their dinner was simple and delicious. We had Tartiflette which in the U.S. we called Scalloped or Au Gratin Potatoes.

Samer and Spencer went up 1478 meters and went down 1318 meters that day.


  • In Les Houches there is a cable car that cuts out the ascent at the beginning of the day. According to other hikers, everyone should use it. Samer and Spencer both thought that the ascent was boring and completely not worth it.
  • If you end up taking the bus from Saint-Gervais-les-Bains to Les Contamines-Montjoie, be aware that the road has a lot of twists and turns. If you get car sick, prepare yourself accordingly. My sister got motion sick and vomited next to me.  It was a tough day for our family.


Hôtel le Christiania


Hôtel le Christiania


Next: Day 3 – Les Contamines-Montjoie – Les Chapieux

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