Walks and hikes in Europe and California, posted sporadically as they happen… or as I reflect on them…

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Alps, 2013, 10: to Plampinet

Plampinet, July 1, 2013—

We awoke about 5:30; but had to wait an hour for breakfast — muesli, bread, coffee, juice. Then out on the trail, first across some snow patches, then suddenly ti the Col de la Valée  Etroite, with a stunning, incomparable view, the sun full up, not a cloud in the sky, the mountains, snow, trail, alpage, and the morning itself in full relief. 

The day's agenda was straightforward: an easy descent, a harder descent, a stop, a steep climb, a rather trying descent, an easy descant, a stroll.  The first descent is in fact delightful, on a dirt trail through alpage, with those memorable mountains around us. Then the trail disappears under new foliage, for the season is late, and then the grade grows steeper.

And the balissage, the marking of the trail, seems not yet to have been renewed. Furthermore, two or three GR trails intertwine here, and one's never sure which to take, or which has just presented itself.

After taking one fork, clearly marked GR5: Plampinet — today's destination — I noticed far away on another a lightly-dressed athletic young man with a Labrador retriever on a leash, apparently descending.. Later there he was, unaccountably overtaking us on ours. Soon I realized we'd taken a bad turn: we turned around and took the trail I'd first seen him on. We'd lost maybe twenty-five minutes.

Further down, a new bypass seems to have been installed since the old edition I have of our trailguide went to press — why, I can't imagine: it substitutes a number of switchbacks in the woods for the open mountain road. We took the new variant, but it ruffled my feathers.

No matter: we ultimately ended at the proper spot, a vacation village being expanded down on the main road between Nevache and Plampinet. We turned east, took a delightful country road paralleling the swift Clairette, and entered Plampinet, about three-thirty, tired but triumphant.