But what a beautiful ride this is, eerily silent, just fluffy snow below and mountain peaks all around. The cable is called the Valle Blanche aerial tramway and it runs between the Aiguille du Midi in France and Pointe Helbronner in Italy. The tiny glass cars ride a 5 km-long cable, one of the highest and longest in the world, as they pass over a glacier dotted with ant-trails of mountain climbers.
I'm listening to Moby's Porcelain.
J.R.R. Tolkien was born 126 years ago today. His blockbuster trilogy Lord of the Rings introduced the teenage me, who was growing up in Texas suburbia, to the escapism of a well-told story.
I'm showing this photo because it's set in the Italian Alps, called the Dolomites, which is about the closest I've been to a place resembling middle earth. The hiker is Paul. We'd spent the previous night at Rifugio Tissi --- a spectacular place that --- and here we were heading for our last stop, Sebastiano.