Dipping and Swooping Amidst Mt Blanc’s Glaciers

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After a hike in the clean Alpine air, strolling up through the mountains outside of Megeve, we all felt renewed and refreshed. We were relaxed and happy…so what else but to have another giant meal? No, this one wasn’t as spectacular, just the usual two courses and wine, and we got a chance to spend some time in our Alpine chalet, named “Chalet Alice.” The metal window and door grates miraculously opened using a bedside switch, and between the ipod touch and the laptop, I don’t think I’ve ever been this connected during a trip abroad.

We had another item on our agenda, and it was exciting, and I’ll admit, a little scary. We drove out to the Megeve Altiport, which is what they call an airport located in a mountain range. The runway dips down, and the planes easily hop up into the sky. As we drove up, skydivers were milling about waiting for their plane, and a helicopter’s rotors whirred, about to take off.

Three of us joined a pilot in a single engine plane with wings that bent upward at the tips, and skated down that little runway with the dip to take a close-up view of the Mt Blanc glacier. WOW! We flew nearly straight at the giant white peaks, and then just in time veered away. The dirty snow of the glacier was only 30 or 40 feet down, we skimmed the mountaintops and all I could think about what ‘what is this plane stalls out?’ Hardly the thoughts that a seasoned world traveler should be thinking, but shoot, there was no where to land here where every inch of land was on a steep angle up.

We dipped inside and around the giant glaciers and viewed the gray rocks of the mountain faces close up. My stomach churned as we would round a pinnacle and then swoop down again. I asked the pilot how many times a day he made this flight…to reassure myself that it was all routine and I had nothing to fear. He didn’t understand my question, so I shrugged and kept on filming our winding passes by the white face. Then in about 30 minutes we headed back to the runway, through clouds, and made a wobbly, albeit safe, landing. Phew!