Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Son helps father recreate his youth hiking through the Alps

As a child, writer Mike MacEacheran's father would regale him with tales about his youth summiting peaks throughout the Alps. As an adult, MacEacheran wanted to experience the mountains with his dad, now 74, and suggested they embark on the 10-day, 110-mile Tour du Mont Blanc.

Writing about their journey last summer for BBC Travel, MacEacheran said he briefly considered that the long-distance hiking trail might be too strenuous for his father, but "that first sunlit afternoon, it was instantly obvious we'd made the right decision." Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps, and the Tour du Mont Blanc takes hikers through France, Switzerland, and Italy. As they made their way along the trail — they took their time, getting up late and enjoying beers with their lunches — MacEacheran realized what he thought was his dad's "unhealthy obsession with the mountains revealed itself to be a bond I never knew we had."

By the final stretch, his dad was "enthusiastically swearing with every rung," and when MacEacheran stopped to take a photo, it hit him that he was taking a picture identical to one he saw of his dad years ago, his smile and the ridges of Mont Blanc the same. "For a split second," MacEacheran wrote, "it looked like nothing had changed."