Ridgewalk to Briancon

This place is just spectacular

Didn’t sleep that well, woke around in the middle of the night to dogs barking, it sounded as if they where very close, and comming closer. i have heard scary stories about the white shepherds dogs, that they use in this region, they live amongst the sheep, and they attack if you get to close to the flok.

Finally fell asleep again After an hour of needles worrying. woke up super early, it’s nice just to lie in the tent waiting for the sun to rise, being warm and cosy in my new quilt, it’s cold outside, and i can see my breath in the air, not a wind is stirring the lake.

I can hear John moving around in he’s tent, so i decide to get up and start packing, i grab some müsli for breakfast, and go to the stream to get water. John invites me over for a cup of tea, we chat for a bit and just enjoy the scenery. We say good-buy and I get my gear and head for the trail, maybe i will se him later on the trail, i’m content with hiking alone.

View from the Col, the laake where i spent the night is behind me
View from the Col, the lake where i spent the night is behind me.

It’s easy going, the trail is nice, and the views are getting better as i ascend toward the Porte de Cristol. Comming over the crest i’m totally awestruck! The view is stunning in the early morning light, i can see super far.... mountain tops all over!

I take my time and just enjoy the scenery as much as possible, i’m walking on a gravel road that goes around the mountain, no up and down witch is nice for a change. I meet a’lot of paragliders that are heading up to a Col nearby (La Gardiole), there are already some in the air, i can hear them talking.

As i reach the parking lot at Col de Granon, the small Cafe is just opening and i decide to have an omelet and some coffee, i take advantage of the toilet - big time! Just when i’m about to leave, John arrives, we chat a bit, but i just want to hike up to Créte de Peyrolle for the 5km of sweet ridge walk, so I’m off again!

View from the Col, the laake where i spent the night is behind me
Todays task: get up on the top and follow the ridge to Briançon

The trail up is quite difficult, it’s steep and on loose white gravel. At the top i overtake a family with no water or anything? and the mother looks exhausted, the walk is everything i hoped for, and the views are astonishing, at places the trail is very narrow and exposed and you have to pay attention to the markers, otherwise you will end up scaling over scary rocks on the top instead of going the easy way around… i missed one, and that was a scary climb.

At the end of the ridge walk, the trail ends in an almost sheer drop down and it’s hard to se where the trail goes, again pay attention to the markers, i almost went the wrong way down. you have to scale the rocky trail and it's a bit scary! as I’m done with the difficult part i notice that i’m almost out off water, not good! so i start to ration it, as it’s at least 3 hours before i reach Briancon, the temperature is getting higher the further down i go!

View from the Col, the laake where i spent the night is behind me
Looking back down the trail, it was a hard climb.

View from the Col, the laake where i spent the night is behind me
Dramatic rockformations
View from the Col, the laake where i spent the night is behind me
The view down toward Briançon, it's a 3 hour hike

i miss the trail just before Croix de Toulouse and head in the wrong direction, luckily, after 25min this takes me to a water faucet at a small Chalet, oh what a joy water is, i stir my head under the pouring water to cool myself a bit and drink maybe 1L, then fill both my bottles. i actually spend some time to figure where i am and where to go, as I’m backtracking i meet John again, he has missed the trail just as i have and together we make our way back to Croix de Toulouse, even there it’s difficult to see where the trail is, but we find it and suddenly we are surrounded by people, apparently the is a popular place to hike to from Briançon, theres is mountainbikeres, climbers and hikers.

View from the Col, the laake where i spent the night is behind me
Enjoying the shade on my way down

The trail down is well worn and smooth, it takes about an hour to reach the outskirts of Briançon, or actually we arrive at the center of the old town, at the fortress we go our separate ways, John has to catch the train back to Paris, and i need to find a place to stay for tonight. At a apothecary i get directions to a small hotel.. just around the corner, and yes it’s small but it will do.

i do some resupply at the supermarket and eat a good pizza for dinner, then back to the hotel for an early night. As I’m getting ready for bed, I notice that I have a bit of “red monkey but” aka chafing in the nether regions! It painful but a bit of Glide does the trick! I go “commando” for the night.

View from the Col, the laake where i spent the night is behind me