GR5 Day 25 - This Is Not a Short Ascent
Roya - Just after Refuge de Longon
We were up at the crack of sparrows, well 6am and on the path again by 7, there was to be a lot of up today.... (I know that's hard to believe as its been such easy walking). The heat is becoming quite intense so we figured the earlier we get going the easier the climbs will be, as the big mountains keep us in cool shade for a few hours, until we go over the top of them.
The walk consisted of climbing up and over 2 cols, the first one ran up through the woods and then opened up to pasture land. Before climbing higher over a shale cliff and up onto the ridge of La Stele Valette. Where we saw 3 ( we believe golden eagles ) circling just below the ridge line in the thermals. They were obviously looking for hikers that had been blown off the top, as it was a tad breezy.
Down into another valley, this time quite barren and rocky, we met a French hiker coming the other way who had from what we could make out been attacked by one of the sheepdogs further down the valley. However he didn't appear to be bleeding to death and had walked up fine, so maybe just a little nip.
Jac is a bit wary of the sheepdogs, I worked this out by the way I was suddenly at the front, with no tiff for going downhill too fast, and she stuck remarkable close to me.
Down and down we went, keeping an eye out for sheepdogs, but by the time we got to the bottom the flock was halfway up the river miles away from us. So no need to deploy my Barbara Woodhouse voice, which was a shame.
The valley continued and we entered an area of according to the guidebook "Dolomitic limestone structures " it was very impressive and the area was beautiful with its lavender bushes and grasses.
It would have been more impressive with a cool beer in my hand and a sun shade, but these things are heavy to carry.
Eventually it became apparent we had to climb again, there is nothing worse than the realisation, that where you need to be, is up over a cliff, way above your head. Not the lovely meandering path down the valley you have been looking at all day.
The book said and I quote "a short ascent" yeah right, try 300 additional metres with 14kg on your back up a vertical path in 30 + temperatures, the only thing that was short about it was the lack of air entering my lungs.
However we got there, to our little camp in the woods after 7 hours walking and 1300 meters of ascent and 700 descent. One new blister for Jac and one twisted ankle for me, I wouldn't even mind on the ankle but I was stood still at the time!
Never trust a guidebook or a sign!
Today I honestly have no idea where the book and the signpost timings are based on. As they are certainly not based upon normal human speeds of walking. I also do not understand when you pass a signpost at the top of the mountain and it says 3 hours, how you can walk for 2 hours and then get to another signpost and it's only 15 mins different. Unless we have slipped into some other time dimension some one is having a laugh.
Conversations about getting a bus.... lots.
We have had several conversations about just getting on a bus and spending the last 2 weeks paddling in the sea and eating fresh fruit and vegetables, fortunately most of these conversations happen quite a long way from a bus stop, I'm not sure if they did occur lower down they would stay conversations.
Wild camping is fine ....
But there are some spots that are better than others, tonight's spot for example is on the edge of some trees on quite a slope, we have pitched here because neither of us could face another 1000 meter descent, and it looked fairly flat. It is if one leg is shorter than the other.
There is also a lot of flies, flies are not nice, they are not pretty like butterflies or as entertaining as grasshoppers. They just annoy you and leap into your mug of tea.
We are going to bed earlier and earlier.
Tonight we are tucked up and it's only 8.30 pm.