Some Tips I’ve Learned Along the Way – Rick Steves Travel Blog

At 66, I felt like the father of the hiking community when I drove around Mont Blanc earlier this fall. But the Tour du Mont Blanc could be done for any reasonably decent park, and there were plenty of people much older than me on the way.

For starters just like Shelley and I, it’s wise to be proactive about health and safety. Here are some tips I learned along the way:

Good shoes, cushioned socks, slippery powder, and moleskin for delicate skin are essential. We’ve become kind of obsessed with gear — we invest in good daypacks (Osprey), fleece clothing (socks, underwear, T-shirts), and cool hiking shoes. I was never grateful to wear a wool hat in Europe.

I was skeptical about many of the “good ideas”, but two things I finally appreciated were the daily bag of trail mix and my bottle of mineral water. (I complained about the high $40 price tag…but soon realized it was a great value.)

I have to say, if the weather turns bad and it rains heavily, I think a lot of the track won’t turn out to be fun at all. In fact, that would be dangerous. Picnic poles are a must, and even in perfect weather, I would have been worried about tripping without my reliable kit.

Eat a solid breakfast. On one of the days we ate breakfast without protein, the climb was much more difficult.

Apply sunscreen, even if the weather is bad.

After learning my lesson about other long rides, I decided to be religious about stretching on the Tour du Mont Blanc from the start. I had a routine of six stretching exercises and spent time all day making sure I didn’t stretch out too tightly. very important!

Don’t be a hero. If the leather is hot, roll it up. I did a full TMB lift without a blister – and then purposely got one in the last 2 hours.

Good equipment, smart and proactive ways to stay healthy, stretching, getting things done with ease… it all works great.

I’ll be sharing more photos, stories, and tips from Mont Blanc in the November 29th issue of Monday Night Travel. Want to come along? Register now for this fun – and for free! – Event.

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