Inveterate dabbler in business, travel, gadgets & life

GR5 Days 18&19 Fouillouze-Bousi?yas-Auron

My grand tour of Alpine ski resorts continues with a stay tonight in Auron 1600.
Yesterday was an epic day of 7.5 hours walking in a day out on the road of 10.5hours. I covered 21 miles with ascents totalling 6200ft or so. Chris, I did arrive knackered at 7.15 but actually very exhilarated too. Standing alone on the Pas de La Cavale (8763ft) surrounded by 1500ft feet drops on both sides and the most incredible views, total silence and failing light was magical in the extreme. It was my lucky day as well, the guardian at Bousiéyas was serving veggie food, even though the refuge guide said no food was available. I was contemplating having to break into my sardines!
Peter, not sure wether it was brave or foolhardy. Never contemplated any experience as bravery, I guess it was a word missing from the West St. Vocabulary but in hindsight it was a good decision and lets face it probably safer than nipping over Hills Road to the Co-Op. (btw great news about the new hip walking 14miles in a dayand no more Docs for 4years.)

Todays walk from Bousiéyas to Auron via St. Etienne-de-Tinée was epic for a different reason. Its the first time I walked back on my self after going wrong and restarting the trip!
I covered about 15miles with 3500ft of ascent in totally glorious conditions. I just want to stay wandering these southern alps. The flatlands of Cambridge are going to be really hard – 1000ft climbs are mere pimples now.

Todays thought for the day was why the Alps I’m crossing are made of such rubbish materials?. My Creswellian days of walking on pit tips and slag heaps is the best training for over here. Not a decent bit of millstone grit or granite in sight. Its all crumbly shale and small rocks. Which is why the path keeps on disappearing into landslips – which adds to the scare factor if you happen to be day dreaming 🙂 I bet this is the first time The Alps have been compared to pit tips – Interestingly it also contrasts mans puny efforts to the forces involved in pushing up a few hundred miles of shale to heights of a couple of miles or so.

Sent from Geoff’s Treo650

Larche or beyond

Arrived in Larche recreated in 1944 after the village was dynamited by the retreating forces. Now who is against the EU? Personally I don’t understand the anti EU brigade at all! If it means that we can live peacefully without frontiers (and it is VERY noticeable all the abandoned frontier posts, castles etc along the GR5) then I’m all for the EU. Here’s hoping that the EU does expand to fill the whole of Europe without any borders or controls on population movement. Remember passports were only invented in the last 100 to 200 years.

The really big questionhowever is . It is now 1.45pm, by the new church clock (yes the church was flattened to) and according to the guide its 6.5 hours to Bousiéyas (and yes I have checked the Refuge is open!) Continue or not? Its the most glorious walking day….

David S sorry I didnt include you previously 🙂 past emails are all on my blog

Anthony will try your instructions although I suspect Ibrofen etc are 98% due to the placebo effect anyway.

Jacqui and George thanks for your nags its good to know that the Bleaklow day with Fred still resonates with George and to think we ‘only’ did 15 miles and 2500ft in our youth.

Sent from Geoff’s Treo650

Day 17 Ceillac to Fouillouze

The perfect day, the day you only dream about, walking across landscapes that Doc Searls gets to photo out of aeroplane windows. Incredible weather blue skys low 20’s doesnt get any better than this.

Great 3500ft climb first through forests then around the vivid turquoise Lac Sainte-Anne in blissful silence (even the Marmots were quite today) followed by a zig zag ascent to Col Giradin (where my pet hornet – who buzzes me whenever I stop proceeded to buzz me). The way down was total scary, I’m really going to miss these adrelanin rushes, back in Cambridge, ( no nanny state here – you live or die by each footfall) on virtually vetical descents on soft shale.

Eventually through the village of La Barge ( a real old original dilapidated french hamlet in the Ubaye valley) then over the Pont du Chatelet – google it – the most amazing bridge with a 107 metre vertical dropinto the gorge and only 2 foot high side walls with nice gaps at each end for the kids to disappear through!

The gite in Fouillouze is an interesting old building, beautifully restored and adorned with potted plants. Looking forward to dinner as the dining room has a vaulted ceiling. It took ages to get the guardian to understand my pronuciation of vegetarian :-(.

Whilst walking now I can smell the gorgeous scents from all the wild herbs etc also the bushes are more prickly.

Will be on the final FFRP guide tomorrow and the GPS is showing only 70 or so miles left..

Flight booked for next Thursday from Niceat 10am (thanks Nick) so I can be at Ems first sixth form parents evening. Will try and arrange an evening out in Cambridge on Friday at The Pig.

Sent from Geoff’s Treo650

Day 16 GR5 Aiguilles to Ceillac

I (or more precisely the hotel owner) arranged for a taxi to pick me up at 8.30 and to drop me up off at Cháteau Queyras to resume my perambulations on the GR5.

My left knee still had twinges of pain so I breakfasted on Nurofen super strength pills and vowed to take it easy and stick to the track!

The cheese mountain (Col Fromage) starts of steep but is well marked and soon turns into a nice easy ascent of just over 3000ft the knee behaved itself and the weather was kind too (although I must get another hat if it starts getting sunny – lost the last one somewhere). Looking back across the valley I could see the full extent of yesterdays disasters – I must have been mad. Check out Googleearth to see the crags and slopes i was trying to turn into a shortcut!

The Cheese Col has a false top so I thought I was on my way down when I met a party of walkers, on their way up. They recgonised me from last night at the hotel (they were doing bits of the GR58 which apparently takes in 8 countries of the Alps from Slovenia to France see they dutifully informed me the Col was still to come!

I made it to Ceillac in fine form at 1.15pm AND DECIDED to stay 🙂 .

I’m now a couple of days ahead of myself so hopefully will get a flight a week on Thursday 28 Sept. and be back in time for the CRUFC lunch on Saturday and maybe a drink at The Pig on Friday night.

Sent from Geoff’s Treo650