GR5 Day 23 - Not Another Bloody Col
Lac Lauzanier - St Etienne de Tinne
Today, or yesterday to be more precise (as we were too knackered to do anything last night, but shower .....oh it was gooooood....eat pasta again ... meh, and sleep)
After our relatively lazy afternoon, we woke refreshed.. Ish, and ready to continue our journey. We also needed to get somewhere that provided money, and a chance to resupply. Rations were low,and to make matters worse we had now drunk the last of the dirty coffees ( Nescafé 3 in 1 ).
Our first Col of the day was an ascent of the Pass De La Cavale this was stunning, and as it was still quite cool not to bad to get over. As we were the first up to the top we had the place to ourselves, only sharing the view with a herd of Chamois grazing amongst the shale
The valleys between the Cols, change quite dramatically so we were now overlooking lush green fields and forests, behind us were limestone cliffs and boulder fields.
The second Col of the day was Col des Fourches, this led us up and into a ruined barracks that used to house soldiers in the 1890s. Once again the landscape changed to fields of dry grass, lavender bushes, and the crickets were back in abundance.
Down into the village of Bousieyas where we hoped to resupply with cash and food, but alas no. However we did spend our last 13 euros on two off the best sandwiches ever made and eaten, and of course a bar of chocolate.
Refreshed we proceeded to climb our third mountain of the day, Col de la Colombiere, this one at least was a gentler ascent on a forest track, and the trees were providing some shade, if only fleetingly, but oh the descent was hell.
In the cool of the morning perhaps it was beautiful, and you could appreciate the terraced pathways, the lavender scented bushes, the sheer drop off. However at 3 o'clock in the afternoon with full sun, it was like being slowly cooked in your boots. It never ended for nearly 2 hours we slowly made our way down to the tiny village. If there had been anywhere at all that was even slightly level I would have pitched the tent and waited till morning.
Eventually somehow we made it, surely here there would be a shop or a cash machine ... Nope, there was however a water fountain in the shade where we sat and ate the chocolate every last bit.
Now with no other option apart from pitching up in the churchyard, we had to go on and this meant another climb and another killer descent.
Col d Anelle was our fourth climb of the day, over this and a 600 meter descent to the town of St Etienne de Tinee was all that lay between us and a campsite with showers and a bank, that would mean we could buy delicious food, the only problem was getting your legs to move when you are calorie depleted and it is 6pm at night.
I'm not sure how we did it but we finally staggered into the campsite at 7.30 pm, I have never been so pleased to lie down on a patch of dry grass.
Things you shouldn't do:
Run out of cash. Cash allows you to purchase food which contain calories which you need to get you over these big mountains they put in the way of a nice flat walk.
Without calories you will find yourselves sat on rocks halfway up a mountain licking out the remains of a nuttela jar and wondering if grass is tasty.
You know when you have walked too far when.
Your shadow, which has been to the side and behind you, is suddenly in front of you. And appears to be running away. This means the sun is getting low and it is foolish to still be walking, you should be sat with food and port by now.
You are no longer walking,
it's a kind of staggering, poles are really now holding you up.
You look at a hill and think, if I just tucked myself into a ball shape and flung myself off, I'm sure I could roll down faster.
Gravel of death is hazardous on the steep descents, but it is equally hazardous on the way up. If you place your footing wrong you can find yourselves reverse lunging up the mountain this is not good with a full backpack.