I hope you sleep in an alpine meadow and watch the sun set on the glacier towering over you.
I hope you get up in the early morning and climb over the col before anybody else does, and that you eat an aisette de fromage Savoyarde when you arrive on the other side
I hope you see a trail and wonder where it leads,
And that you see a mountain hut, barely discernable 1000m above you in the scree, and wonder how to get there.
I hope you set up your tent moments before the rain,
And that you watch the Ultra Trail runners go by in a steady stream of headlamps bobbing through the dark, cold, wet night, and then climb into your own warm sleeping bag for a good night's sleep
I hope you walk all day and go really far and feel good about yourself,
But that you also sleep all morning and go practically nowhere at all, and still feel good about yourself.
I hope your hiking partner carries the tent.
I hope you hitchhike in France and get picked up right away.
I hope you visit friends.
I hope you don't forget to clean your water bottles more than once every two months.
And if you do forget, I hope scum doesn't grow in them and make you sick.
But if scum does grow in them and make you sick, I hope you notice right away and stop drinking out of them so you don't stay sick.
But if it does take you a while to figure out there's scum in your water bottles and that's what's making you sick, I hope your hiking partner is kind and turns back after just 300m of walking to set the tent back up again in the exact same spot it was an hour before so that you can have a rest day.
And I hope he reads to you, and holds back your hair if you vomit.
And the next day, I hope he carries your bag to the top of col, and then comes back for his own.
And when you can't manage to hike down the other side either, I hope he tells you to leave your bag where it is, he'll run down with his bag, and then come back and get yours.
And I hope you meet some nice people on the trail who ask if you're alright because you're walking so incredibly slowly and you tell them you're sick, so and they give you a sports gel that seems to be pure sugar and caffieine, but you're not quite sure because the package is in a different language, you only know it gives you the energy to get down the mountain.
And then I hope you eat soup, and sleep inside, and feel better enough the next day to eat three granola bars, some dried apricots and raisins, an omelette and a plate of raviolis with butter before you leave the refuge.
I hope you climb to the top of a col at over 2000m, and find sheep waiting to greet you.
And I hope you meet the shepherd, and ask him how many sheep he has (1650), and where he's taking them (down to the valley), and if he brings them up and takes them down everyday (yes, he does). And that you get to watch his dogs at work, gathering the herd and keeping them together.
But I hope that after you pass the sheep, as you come down the other side of the col, you look up to see a bouquetin, or mountain goat, 20 m away from you, quietly picking its way through the rocks.
And I hope that when you've seen all these things, and done all these things, I hope you're not too proud after ten days of hiking to arrive in Courmayeur and take the tunnel back home. Or who knows? Maybe by the time you do the Tour, they'll have completed the gondola and you can take it over the top!