Updates from the Field: Laurent Langoisseur and Beatrice Mugnier
Around the world, people are taking steps to keep their families and communities healthy and safe through social distancing. Our guides are no exception. MT Sobek guides around the world are staying home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Staying home is a very different adventure from the kind they are used to!
We asked our guides what they do to stay fit and entertained while social distancing in their home countries, and we wanted to pass along the advice and words of encouragement they shared. As we receive more updates, we will add more blogs to share their letters of hope and encouragement.
I’m stuck at home. I look at the mountain from my balcony but won’t enjoy it for a few weeks at least. To kill time, I opened books that were on my shelves – I first had to blow the dust away to read the titles. Flowers of the Alps, Birds of Europe, Geology of the Alps… I had no idea people had written about these topics!
Now I can put a name on a few birds chirping around my house: sparrow, robin, crow. I can do the same with flowers growing near my place. There is a small one, with yellow petals, that I see every year; apparently it’s called a primrose. Hmm. Can I trust a book?
When I shuffled through the book of geology, I was puzzled to learn the earth is not flat and that some plates are moving, colliding, subsiding. Now, I’m doubtless, these people are pulling my leg!
I run almost every day. Not far since we must stay within one kilometer of home and can’t be gone more than an hour. Well, I don’t wear a watch, so no time, no distance…? Just kidding. I respect the rules as best I can. I want, like everyone, to put an end to this big mess.
I miss the long downhill hikes too much. I miss MT Sobek clients too much. My friends think I must be a masochist, haha! But “it’s only when you are in pain that you feel alive,” some say?
Okay, let’s get a bit serious: COVID-19 will affect us one way or another, but life is still marvelous. Take care of yourselves, relatives, friends, and I wish to see you as soon as possible for new adventures.
I can tell you that personally my desire to enjoy the beauty of the world is stronger than ever. As long as I can hike, I will hike.
I was your guide in the Alps, into the wild! If you’ve met me in the mountain during a trip, you can imagine that this situation is changing our lifestyle. Actually I am in my hamlet of Trelechamps in Chamonix Valley. I’m sheltered in place with my husband and my two cats. I’m allowed to go out for shopping only for real necessities and to help the elderly who cannot go out. I do it once a week and we freeze the bread and the food for the week.
I’m also allowed to go out alone in the area for running or hiking, but only for a maximum of one hour and within one kilometre of home, at 100 metre elevation or less. Every day I feel very lucky to be living in such an area! I know how difficult it is to stay inside when we are used to trekking every day or skiing all season. I would just like to encourage you to stay home, to be safe, so that we will meet again in the future!
I always thought that I was a good housewife between trips, but this containment has proven to me how I was in the wrong with my house! I have decided to chase spiders and dust all over. It’s a real sport, hanging under the roof, making challenges with my cat as I try to follow her on all the beams. She is showing me all the parts I haven’t visited in years because I was outside with you guiding in the mountain! This is excellent for the arm muscles.
After long days cleaning, I always try to follow a basic yoga program on YouTube, about 30 minutes, to remind me how stiff I am. This is more shared with my 2-month-old kitten! When the weather is good, I try to take advantage of my garden (which is still under 2 metres of snow): I cut the snow to make it melt faster, and in the afternoon when the sun has helped a little I shovel the snow a lot in a real contest with my husband.
In the morning, I go out for my free hour. Sometimes I run on the road, sometimes I go back and forth for 45 minutes in the direction of the pass above my house with my permit in my pocket, or I walk through the forest above my house for an hour. It’s all in the snow. After that, I try to do 30 minutes stretching to get better with my joints, of course.
I try to be a better chef, making simple and healthy food and new menus that I have never tried before because I was with you guys! I have to say this period is a new life for me and I can be optimistic thanks to taking more time with my husband, playing Scrabble and sharing films or documentaries, and through long Skype calls with all my kids and grandchildren. I communicate much more since this containment. Everything can happen!
It’s also a great time to read. I have some good books about the Alps:
- Scramble Amongst the Alps by Edward Whymper (the first climb in the Alps)
- First on the Rope (Premier de Cordée) by Roger Frison-Roche (about Chamonix Valley guides)
- The Beckoning Silence by Joe Simpson (the big wall of Eiger Oberland)
- The Lost Valley by Hannes Taugwalder (about a childhood in Zermatt)
For ending this message, I would like to send you all my hope for the best health for you and your family. Be safe, stay at home, and we will meet again some day in the mountain!
Our global family is the heart of adventure – we’re all in this together. Keep your families, your communities, and yourselves healthy and safe. When it’s time to explore again, we’ll be here to make it happen for you. Reach out to our knowledgeable destination experts anytime with questions or for additional information as you envision where your next journey may take you.