søndag 7. april 2019

INNHOLD/CONTENT
Se bilder og les om turer jeg har vært på, til inspirasjon og glede.


    Guideboken min, Haute Route - på ski gjennom Alpene, kan du bestille HER.
    Tips og råd for Haute Route finner du HER.  
    GPS-spor for Haute Route-skiturer finner du HER.

    Bjørn Lytskjold langs GTA (Grande Traversata delle Alpi).
    I bakgrunnen Monte Leone

    2019 Silvretta, Tyrol

    Turgjengen : Cecilie, Brage, Øyvind, Tore, Helge og Bjørn
    23.-30. mars 2019

    Ruten: Ischgl - Heidelberger Hütte - Jamtalhütte - Chamona Tuoi - Wiesbadener Hütte - Wirl/Galtür.
    Turtall: 6 dager   ↑6550  ↓6650  72 km    

    Turbilder / tour photos: Åpne bildeserien HER
    GPS-sporet mitt kan du laste ned HER

    Om Silvretta: 
      - Et skikkelig brukervennlig skiturterreng, hovedrutene er som skapt for oss nordmenn.
      - Ingen av rutene vi fulgte hadde særlig bratte kneiker, vi hadde ski på beine hele veien. 
      - Alt ligger 1000 meter lavere enn Haute Route, både spor, hytter og topper à tykkere luft å puste i. 
      - Frokost serveres først kl 07:00. 
      - 30-40% rimeligere enn på hyttene langs Haute Route i Sveits.
      - Egnet for en ukes rundtur med start/slutt i skistedene Ischgl/Galtür
      - Grei adkomst med tog og buss fra f.eks. Innsbruck, Salzburg og München. Eller Davos.
      - Sol og drømmeføre 5 av 6 dager (siste uken i mars 2019...)

    Jamtalferner - på vei fra Jamtalhütte til Gamsspitze (3107)
    Silvretta var et nytt turterreng for hele turgjengen, anbefalt av skiguide Christoph Küng (2014): «This is my local area, and I love it in the winter». Han beskriver turen som lett / middels, med Piz Buin (3312) som den vanskeligste. Vi må ha med sele, stegjern og isøks, flere steder går ruten på bre. Hyttene har dusj (ikke Tuoi), og god mat og drikke.

    Utreisedag: Lørdag 23. mars, med Norwegian 11:00 fra OSL til Salzburg 13:15.
    Hjemreise: Lørdag 30. mars, med Norwegian 14:00 fra Salzburg til OSL 16:15.

    Kartblad : Silvrettagruppe 1: 25 000 (kjøpt fra www.freytagberndt.com)


    Turbeskrivelse - dag for dag

    Reisedag – lørdag 23. mars 
    Turlaget på fire voksne herrer og en langt yngre møtes på Gardermoen. Nå skal vi til Østerrike og prøve oss på "Silvretta Haute Route". Norwegian-flyet vårt som skal gå kl 11:00 fra OSL blir stående og vente i nesten en time. "Slot-problem", sier kapteinen. Godt vi har god slark i Salzburg før vi skal videre med med tog til Landeck.
    Vi er på Salzburg Flughafen ca kl 14:00. All bagasjen kommer, hurra! Det er ikke noe vi tar for gitt, litt for ofte har vi manglet en sekk eller et par ski. Fra flyplassen tar vi Omnybus 2 (2 €) i 20 min inn til togstasjonen, Salzburg Hbf, der vi låser inn sekker og ski i oppbevaringsskap. Så går vi i flott vårvær til uteserveringen på Die Weisse, spiser Bratwurst-lunsj og smaker på hveteølet.
    Kl 16:56 går toget vårt fra Salzburg Hbf til Landeck-Zams. Vi har forhåndskjøpt billetter til hyggelig pris på ÖBB, 22€ per pers. Toget har restaurantvogn. Flott togtur til Landeck-Zams, der vi ankommer kl 19:30. Stasjonen ligger ca 2 km utenfor Landeck, så vi har bedt hotellet å bestille maxitaxi til oss. Det funker så det suser, og 8 € er alt sjåføren skal ha for kjørejobben.
    Hotel Schrofenstein har alt vi trenger, gode rom, god restaurant og hyggelig betjening.

    Turdag 1 – søndag 24. mars
    Buss Landeck - Ischgl
    Heis Ischgl - Piz Val Gronda
    Piz Val Gronda (2812) – Ils Chalchogns (2792) – Piz Mottana (2895) – Heidelberger Hütte (2264)
    ↑600 ↓1100, 3 timer 10 km

    Skiposer og ekstra klær får vi oppbevart på hotellet. Så rusler vi den korte veien bort til busstoppet Landeck Zentrum der vi tar buss 260 kl 08:45 til Ischgl Florianparkplatz (7,40 € ). Fremme kl 09:30.
    Heldigvis er det ingen heiskø på Fimbabahn. Dessverre er det kun mulig å kjøpe dagskort. Tross stiv pris, 54 €, velger vi dette i stedet for å gå inn de lange 14 km til Heidelberger Hütte (hytten tilbyr også beltebiltransport inn. Dette hadde vi ikke bestilt/undersøkt). 
    Skianlegget i Ischgl er digert. Et hyggelig Ischgl-par stiller opp og loser oss trygt opp og ned gjennom anlegget. Etter fire heisturer og noen fine nedkjøringer står vi på Piz Val Gronda, en topp ovenfor Heidelberger Hütte, under en knallblå himmel. Etter råd fra "guidene" våre drar vi ikke først ned til hytten, men går til to velbrukte turmål, toppene Ils Chalchogns (2792) og Piz Mottana (2895). Jeg lærer "the hard way" at det ikke er lurt å prøve nye varianter på rutevalg. Mitt forslag endte fort i en litt vel bratt fjellside.
    Fra Piz Mottana (2895) er det ned til Heidelberger Hütte, og noen kalde pils på terrassen. Masse nordmenn her, tre-fire grupper med guide fra Bre og Fjell, og et skikkelig trivelig vertskap. Fem-mannsgruppen vår får et eget digert soverom. Herlig, selv om dyner mangler. Her går det i doble ulltepper.
    God middag serveres kl 18:00. Nye venner får vi også, Iain og Adrian i turgjengen fra Skottland. De skal samme vei som oss i morgen. Til sengs litt over kl 22. Ute skinner stjernene, men værmeldingen sier væromslag.
    Fimbatal, dalen hytten ligger i, er som skapt for dagsturer. Her går det godt an å ligge en dag eller tre.
    Heidelberger Hütte har en eksotiske setting:
    - Den eies av DAV (den tyske alpeforeningen).
    - Den har postadresse og betjening fra Østerrike/Ischgl.
    - Den ligger i Sveits.

    Brage klar for Heidelberger Hütte (2264)

    Turdag 2 – mandag 25. mars
    Heidelberger Hütte (2264) – Kronenjoch (2974) –  Jamtalhütte (2165)
    ↑750 ↓850, 3-4 timer 11 km

    Frokosten starter først kl 07:00, det liker vi. Her er det rikelig med godt brød og frokostblandinger.
    Ute er det grått og litt snø i luften. Vi takker pent for oss, og får med en tube solkrem faktor 50. Kremen Brage brukte i går virket veldig dårlig...
    Mye folk som skal sammen vei første biten, det er gode spor opp Fimbatal og til høyeste skaret vi skal over, Kronenjoch (2974). Vi dropper turen oppom Breite Krone (3078), det føyker og blåser surt her oppe i høyden. De som går opp på toppen legger om til stegjern og øks. Skiføre er det dårlig med der oppe.
    Sammen med den skotske gjengen tar vi det pent vestover ned dalen mot Jamtalhütte. Sikten er dårlig. Vi har et OK GPS-spor, men vet ikke hva dalen har å by på av skavler, fonner og søkk. Lit t nede i dalen blir vi liggende bak en større gruppe med guide. Så er vi plutselig fremme ved store og spesielle Jamtalhütte. Klokken er bare 13:00, men været frister ikke til mer tur i dag. Det snør, sikten er dårlig og fjellheimen ny for oss.
    Vi får et flott 5 sengers soverom, også her med doble ulltepper. Perfekt for solid siesta.
    Jamtalhütte er et flott hus, og sjefen sjøl er vennligheten selv. Men: Resten av betjeningen har en underlig måte å håndtere gjester på. Jeg sier ikke mer...   
    Middagen - en god fireretters - serveres kl 18:30. Vi blir bedre kjent med skottene, og etterhvert noen i store gruppen med politifolk som øver på aksjoner i fjellet. Helikopterpiloten er en stødig trekkspiller og sanger. Stemningen er høy når jeg kryper til sengs i halvtolvtiden, mens snøen daler ned der ute.
    Navigatørene Helge og Bjørn på vei opp mot Kronenjoch (2974). Foto: Øyvind Tufto.
    Turdag 3 – tirsdag 26. mars
    Jamtalhütte (2165): Dagstur til Gamsspitze (3107) og platået NØ for Jamjoch
    ↑1300 ↓1300, 6 timer 13 km

    Frokost kl 07:00. Ute er det knallvær og drømmeføre, rundt 15 cm nysnø har det kommet siste døgnet. Vi har bestilt to netter på Jamtalhütte, i dag er det dagstur med lette sekker som gjelder. Brage må dessverre stå over. Føttene hans er ikke venner med støvlene og gir trykksmerten inne i foten. Dermed er vi bare fire som setter kursen opp Jamtal denne morgenen: Øyvind, Tore, Helge og Bjørn. Vi er - som vanlig - blant de siste avsted. Lengre oppe i dalen ser vi de andre gruppene. De fleste skal til Wiesbadener Hütte etter det jeg har skjønt.
    Skiføret er av ypperste merke i dag, det er 5-6 minusgrader, vindstille og sol. Og terrenger: Vemodig vakkert. Her der det bare SÅ masse med turmuligheter.
    Turen vår går opp breen Jamtalferner til Gemsspitze (3107). Vi går på ski til vi er nesten helt på toppen. Opp den siste bratte kneiken - ca 50 høydemeter - går folk til fots, i dag tar de fleste på seg stegjern. Vi også, for å være på den sikre siden.
    Gamsspitze (3107) er en av mange grensetopper mellom Sveits og Østerrike. I sør sveitsisk og italiensk fjellheimen. Her ligger Engadin med Piz Bernina (4049) og skisteder som Livigno og Bormio. I vest har vi fjellheimen rundt Davos, i øst østerrikske Ötztaler Alpen, i nord fjellene rundt steder som St. Anton og Lech.
    Det er skikjøring med store glis ned  Jamtalferner. Dette er for godt til å være sant. Vi må ha mer, så nede på ca 2700 meter legger vi på fellene igjen og setter kursen mot Jamjoch i SØ. Vi gir oss når vi er på ca 3000 meter. Feller av igjen, så er det smil, jubel og skidans ned vestre løpet av breen. I dag er det så gode forhold at jeg nesten tror at jeg er flink på ski.
    Tilbake på hytten ca kl 15:00 er det tid for noe godt og kalt i glasset, og en siesta. Brage har hatt en liten runde opp til Steinmannli (!) sør for hytten, og fått skjenn av noen lokale fordi han gikk alene og uten sekk.
    Middag 18:30, av serveringsgjengen som kjører samme stil som i går. Her er det ikke mye smalltalk eller slinger i valsen. Selv om vi ikke kan dy oss helt - vi må bare prøve hvor grensene går - får vi en snaps på huset og klapp på skulderen før vi går og legger oss. 
    Jamtalhütte ligger, som Heidelberger, perfekt til for dagsturer. Likevel seiler den ikke opp som favoritt på stedet å bo...
    Tore på vei opp Jamtalferner til Gamsspizte (3107) 
    Turdag 4 – onsdag 27. mars
    Jamtalhütte (2165) – Hintere Jamspizte (3153) Chamonna Tuoi (2250)
    ↑1050 ↓960, 5 timer 10 km

    Frokost kl 07:00. Drømmeværet og -føret har satt seg. Tross solskinnet er det kaldt nok til at puddersnøen overlever. Klokken ni legger vi avsted opp Jamtal igjen, langs samme sporet som dagen før. Første turmål er Hintere Jamspitze (3153). Ruten går opp østre løpet av Jamtalferner. Føttene til Brage har det ikke bra i dag heller, så vi legger kursen mot det lille skaret og knausen rett sør for Hintere Jamspitze. Her skal Brage vente på oss andre, mens vi går til toppen uten sekkene. Turen opp til Hintere Jamspitze er grei, vi har skiene på til vi bare er noen meter under toppunktet. Jeg kunne godt tenkt meg å ha på skarejern opp siste kneiken, men de ligger i sekken... 
    Etter klassisk fjelltoppoppførsel - bilder og stolte smil - røsker vi av fellene og kjører tilbake til Brage. Han har hatt 'besøk' av en turgjeng på truger. Trolig på grunn av litt skrantende engelsk hos trugefolket tror en av damene at han er alvorlig skadet i foten. Hennes løsning er håndspåleggelse og bønn for den unge mannen, før de går går videre ned mot Tuio-hytten, sammen sted som vi skal bo.
    De 900 høydemeterne vi skal kjøre ned er dekket av verdens beste snø. Og knapt nok et spor (bortsett fra trugetråkket. Under oss har vi dalen Val Tuio. I vest kneiser selveste Piz Buin (3312). Solkremen som har brukt navnet til toppen er sikkert bra, men fjellet selv er av et helt annet kaliber. Mørkt og bratt og majestetisk. I denne settingen får vi lov til å danse nedover; en på telemark og fire på alpint turutstyr/randonnée. Nok en gang sender vi en takk til styggeværsdagen for litt siden som la igjen all denne flotte snøen. 
    Vi prøver å være høflige og holde masken når vi feier forbi trugegjengen som stabber nedover. Men lett er det ikke... Dette er bare så herlig at vi må storsmile og synge litt.
    Den sveitsiske hytten Chamonna Tuio er en skikkelig fjellhytte, akkurat sånn som bare sveitserne (?) kan bygge: En flott miks av steingammelt og friskt nytt. Med hyttesjef Christian Wittwer og hans to hjelpere, proppfull av varme, smil og glede, blir Tuoi uten tvil favoritten på Silvretta-runden vår. Vi benker oss på terrassen, selv om det er en sur trekk ned fra Piz Buin høyt der oppe. Er vi i Sveits må vi ha Rösti og øl. Helst spist ute. 
    Tuio også stedet for at annet høydepunkt for turen vår: Cecilie kommer opp fra Guarda nede i dalen, bli med på resten av turen. Plutselig er vi samlet alle seks, og feirer det ved å by alle gjestene på reinsdyrpølse på knekkebrød, og akevitt. 
    Episode ved middagsbordet:
    Ved nabobordet sitter trugegjengen. En av damene spør oss: "Did you hear about the accident below Jamsspitze?" Vi må svare nei. "Joda", forteller hun, "det var en person der som hadde brukket foten, som satt alene og ventet på helikopter. En nordmann." Vi må nok en gang svare at dette har ikke vi fått med oss. Plutselig skjønner Brage at dette er damen som ga han håndspåleggelse. Forklarer at det var han, og at han ikke hadde brukket foten, bare ventet på oss. "It was not you, the man had other clothes." "Something like this", sier Brage, og trekker opp dunvesten... Lettelse, lett forvirring og latter. Dramaet til damen er plutselig oppklart og parkert. 
    Rundt klokken 22:00 tar vi kvelden. På soverommet (fornøyde med å ha fått rommet "Buin" er det herlige dyner). Hurra for SAC!

    Tore, Helge, Brage og Øyvind ovenfor SAC-hytten Chamonna Tuio. Bak til høyre: Piz Buin (3312)

    Turdag 5 – torsdag 28. mars
    Chamonna Tuoi (2250) – Piz Buin (3312) Wiesbadener Hütte (2443)
    ↑1200 ↓1000, 7 timer 11 km

    Vi er i Sveits nå, her begynner frokosten kl 06:00, men varer heldigvis til 08:00 på Tuoi. Vi benker oss klokken syv, til hjemmebakt brød og müsli, kaffe/te. Savner bare litt juice. Ute er det grauttjukk tåke, men hyttesjef Christian beroliger oss: "It is only in the valley, up high it is superduper! No worries". 
    Klokken 08:30 er vi klare. Tusen takk for oss Christian & Crew & Chamonna Tuoi. Kommer gjerne tilbake hit. Tåken blir litt tynnere, men det er godt å ha et spor å følge ut fra hytten. Høyt der oppe ser vi silhuetten av Piz Buin. Dagen begynner med en real 500 høydemeters-kneik mot vest, mot skaret 2847. Plutselig er vi over tåkehavet. Solen skinner. Snøen er av beste merke. Landskapet er mektig og innbydende. Heldige oss som får være her og på tur, fem godt voksne og en toogtyveåring. Vi ser knapt andre folk i dag, bare to grupper som prøver seg på vakre Piz Fliana i sør, og så to skikkelig voksne karer med guide på vei mot Silvrettahütte.
    Nistepakken tar vi før den seige kneiken opp til Fuorcla dal Cunfin (3041), med utsyn mot stolte Torache (3218) og det vide Silvrettapass. På det flotte føret vi har er bakken opp til Fuorcla dal Cunfin (3041) helt grei å gå uten skarejern. På skareføret ville jeg garantert ha klipset på haikjeftene. Oppe i skaret (der vi møter tre energiske italienere på karbonutstyr som har gått fra Guarda (1700) til Piz Buin (3312) og nå er på vei hjem igjen) skiller vi lag. Brage - med de vonde støvlene - og jeg tar ett tau og drar ned Ochsentaler Gletscher til Wiesbadner Hütte, på snø det bare er lov å drømme om. Cecilie, Øyvind, Helge og Tore vil prøve seg på Piz Buin. Den gode kvartetten kommer et godt stykke oppover, men Cecilie, Øyvind og Helge gir seg når det blir luftig. De har ikke tatt med tau, og føler det riktigst å snu. Fjellgeiten Tore klyver til topps på Piz Buin (3312).
    Brage og jeg er fremme ved Wiesbadener Hütte ca kl 13:30. Turen fra Tuoi har tatt 5 timer.
    Cecilie, Øyvind, Helge og Tore kommer rundt kl 16:00.
    Wiesbadener Hütte (2443) er stor hytte, med proff og vennlig betjening - og en terrasse med usannsynlig flott utsikt. Absolutt et sted det går an å bo noen dager. Også her er det masse flotte dagsturer å gå. Både Silvrettahorn (3244) og Dreiländerspitze (3196) frister som turmål. Vi får et flott seksmannsrom (doble ulltepper). Som på de andre østerrikske hyttene er det dusj. 
    Middagen serveres kl 18:00. Vi unner oss en ekstra flaske denne kvelden; siste dag i fjellet med gjengen.

    På vei opp mot skaret Fuorcla dal Cunfin (3041).

    Turdag 6 – fredag 29. mars
    Wiesbadener Hütte (2443) – Rauer Kopf (3101) – Wirl/Galtür (1640)
    ↑650 ↓1450, 4 timer 17 km

    Ute skinner solen, inne er vi klare til frokost kl 07:00: Brød, frokostblanding, kaffe & te. Men ikke annen juice/drikke. Må huske å bestille ekstra neste gang. Matpakker har vi bestilt, eller: Lunsjpakker. Noen digre greier med brødskiver, eple og sjokolade. Vi fyller flaskene våre med "Marschtee" og er klare til å legge i vei litt før klokken ni. Brage velger nok en rute som er snillest mulig for føttene: Ned langs beltebilsporet til vannmagasinet Silvretta Stausee og ut dalen Klein Vermunt til Wirl og bussen der. Vi andre fem legger i vei mot Rauer Kopf (3101), øst for hytten. Solen har tatt såpass på snøen at det er blitt skare i natt. For første gang denne uken får jeg bruk for skarejernene. Litt høyere oppe er snøen tørr og fin igjen. Turen til skaret Raukoptscharte er tydeligvis populær på en fredag som denne, det er mye folk på tur i dag. Jeg gir meg oppe i skaret, mens de fire andre vil prøve seg på Rauer Kopf (3101). Øyvind og Cecilie snur før de når toppen, det var noen vel luftige parti der oppe. Tore og Helge kommer seg til topps.
    Etter å ha spist nisten i Raukoptscharte setter vi kursen nedover Bieltal, som ligner en diger halfpipe. Skiføret er rett og slett til å bli i godt humør av. Vi får svingt oss masse nedover mot Silvretta Stausee (2032). Tore sliter litt nå: Limet på G3-fellene hans har "smeltet". Nå henger halvparten igjen under skiene hans. Puddersnø + klister = elendig gli, plunder og heft.
    Vi svinger ikke bortom dammen på Silvretta Stausee, men velger et spor som tar oss direkte nedover dalen Klein Vermunt. Selv om dalen til tider er paddeflat går det greit unna i det harde tråkkemaskinsporet. Og så, plutselig og før vi vet ordet av det, er skituren over i Wirl. Blant heishus og hotell og uteservering. Vi setter skiene i stativ ved busstoppet, og rusler bort til solterrassen på resutaurant Alpkogen: "Spritz und etwas zu essen bitte!"
    Fra Wirl er det tett mellom bussavgangene ned dalen via Galtür og Ischgl til Landeck hvor vi bor. Rutetider, se http://fahrplan.oebb.at. Vi har godt tid og velger oss 15:44.
    I Landeck bor vi også denne gangen på Hotel Schrofenstein. Vi rekker akkurat ikke markedet i byen, men finner litt godsaker til å ha med hjem - og til å hotellrom-bruk - på supermarkedet MPREIS borte i gaten. Siste-middag-med-gjengen spiser vi på hotellet. En liten runde på bar får vi også til (Zone82 Pub, Malserstraße 82).

    Med kurs for Rauer Kopf (3101).
    Hjemreisedag – lørdag 30. mars
    Cecilie skal være i Ischgl resten av helgen. Vi andre må reise hjem i dag, dessverre.
    Litt før 08:00 står taxi klar for å kjøre oss til stasjonen. Oppbrudd, gode ord og på gjensyn-klemmer. Klokken 08:27 triller toget ut fra stasjonen på Landeck-Zams. Der fremme venter Norwegian-flyet i Salzburg kl 14:00. Og hverdagen der hjemme.

    Silvretta har levert på alle måter: 
     - Et skikkelig brukervennlig terreng; langs hovedrutene er det som skapt for oss nordmenn å gå på skitur. Ingen av rutene vi fulgte hadde særlig bratte kneiker, vi hadde ski på beine hele veien. 
     - 1000 meter lavere enn Haute Route à  tykkere luft å puste i. 
     - Sol og drømmeføre 5 av 6 dager (siste uken i mars 2019...)
      - Frokost serveres først kl 07:00.
     - 30-40% rimeligere enn på hyttene langs Haute Route i Sveits.

    Tusen takk for turen gode venner og sønn Brage!

    Det var en sann glede å være på tur sammen med dere.


    Helge, Tore og Bjørn på Jamtalferner. Bak: Hinterer Jamspitze (3154). Foto: Øyvind Tufto

    Bjørn, Brage og Piz Buin (3312). Foto: Øyvind Tufto

    torsdag 28. juni 2018

    2018 Tour du Beaufortain

    GRP (Grand Randonnée PAYS) Tour du Beaufortain
    ↑6580m ↓5500, 106 km, 50 hours, 9 days

    Click here to open my tour slide show.
    Check the map of  Beaufortain and our route.
    To get the GPS track, click here

    Walking in France is tempting - again and again. This summer we headed for Beaufortain and did a hut-to-hut tour/randonnée there 1 - 9 July 2018. Five women. Five men. A big group for sure, but since we all know each other well we just want it this way.
    Our tour was a close copy of the guidebook GRP (Grand Randonnée PAYS) Tour du Beaufortain, except for starting/ending at the 'wrong' spots, and missing out a small part to make a complete circle. Our tour started from Les Contamines-Montjoie and ended in Praz-sur-Arly, both places SW of Chamonix, with easy access from Genève Aeroport (1.5 hours with the pre-booked shuttle from Alpybus, www.alpybus.com). As I understand it, most people start the GRP from Queige.

    Beautiful Beaufortain, here at Lac d'Amour (2248). In the back the characteristic landmark La Pierra Menta (2714)

    Beautiful Beaufortain - famous for (and very proud) of it's Beaufort cheese - is situated NE of Albertville and SW of Chamonix. Not too far away Mont Blanc (4810) is dominating the skyline. A lot of stretches the trail runs through rather gentle & pleasant meadow like terrain, close to summer farms and ski resorts. In the northern area, around fancy and charming Refuge de Presset, the terrain is rougher, wilder and more challenging. And very beautiful. Around Queige (550) the trail runs through forest, as it also does near the lake Lac de St-Guérin (1512). 

    All the way we stayed at mountain cabins - and one gîte (more like a pension) - where we had prebooked places. Even in the quiet beginning of July this is recommended. All cabins had staff and served good meals. All the way we slept in dormitories/multi bed rooms. Some places rather simple. Some places close to luxury. The only village we went through (day 7) was tiny Queige. Along our main trail the highest elevation was Crête des Gittes (2538), just south of Refuge Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (day 3). The highest point we visited was Tête nord des Fours (2756), north of the same cabin. And if hiking in early July it's hardly any other hikers around.

    Tour description - day by day

    Sunday 1 July 2018
    With a slightly delayed flight with Norwegian from Oslo 07:25, we arrive Genève Aeroport 10:15. From GVA we continue with our booked Alpybus (www.alpybus.com) shuttle to Les Contamines-Montjoie (1.5 hours). Price for 10 persons: 260 €, where we had booked a table at Le Chalet du Lac. An excellent place for our summer lunch on the terrace. We go for salads and burger under the blue sky. 

    Les Contamines-Montjoie (1175) – Refuge de la Balme (1706)
    ↑530 ↓50 7 km, 2.5 hours
    Refuge de la Balme: www.montourdumontblanc.com. Payment: Cash only.

    On the road to Refuge de la Balme

    At 14:30 we're ready to start our rather short hike from Les Contamines-Montjoie to Refuge de la Balme, all the way on a good gravel road. Perfect for running shoes. It's a very nice and pleasant walk, up through the forest first, then in more open terrain. This stretch is part of the most popular and famous of all Alp hikes: The TMB (Tour du Mont Blanc) Trail, and GR5 (Grand Randonnée 5), the famous long distant trail running from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. At 'half way' we stop for some snacks at super-friendly and beautiful Alpinus Lodge, just below Refuge de Nant Borrant (1460).
    Refuge de La Balme (1706) is like a summer farm, surrounded by meadows and cattle. Rather basic, but nice and clean. We get a dormitory in the basement, and cold beers served in the 'garden'. A very, very nice place to be. Dinner is served at 19:00, for us and a bunch from South Korea.

    Refuge de la Balme (1706)

    Monday 2 July 2018
    Refuge de la Balme (1706) – Refuge du Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2443)
    ↑750 ↓50 6 km, 3 hours
    Refuge du Col de la Croix du Bonhomme: http://lerefugedubonhomme.free.fr. Payment: Cash only.

    At La Balme a typical French breakfast is served at 07:00; white bread, jam, honey and café au lait. We ask for some extra cheese to 'survive', but they have no extra for us this morning.
    At 08:00 we wave goodbye to La Balme and the colourful Korean Team. The TMB trail we follow today is well beaten. Here you'll seldom walk alone. The weather is super, the landscape as well. We are well above the tree line now, the alpine valley is very green and fresh. The winter has been extraordinary hard and long this year, and it is still early summer. The result is an extreme amount of mountain flowers, including carpets of azaleas. And firm snow patches here and there covering the trail. Getting higher we get the barren mountain side of Aiguilles de la Pennaz to our right. The TMB trail climbs steadily towards snow covered Col du Bonhomme (2329), where a tiny shelter is built. Could be very useful if weather is cold or wet. However, today we take our short snack stop under the blue sky.

    Above Col du Bonhomme (2329)

    From Col du Bonhomme the trail climbs up the snow covered hillside, towards SW, to the crest (2479) just north of Refuge du Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2443). The big cabin is very busy, but friendly. We take a rest outside the big cabin, waiting for the lunch service to start at 12:30: Excellent quiche and salad. And glasses of beer for the 'brave' ones.
    After lunch we get our two rooms, then repack a bit before going for our 2-3 hours 'afternoon hike' to Tête nord des Fours (2756) and Tête sud des Fours (2716). From the peaks it is grand views to Mont Blanc (4810), when the clouds stay away... We get some glimpses before the huge mountain takes on the grey hat. Back at the Bonhomme cabin we have time for more relaxing - and ibex /bouquetin /steinbukk spotting - before dinner is served at 19:00. The cabin is very crowded, with hikers from all over the world. I'm impressed of how the staff manage to run this place. So efficient, so friendly. Our new friend today is Hilmar from Iceland, taking a group of his countrymen/women along TMB.

    Refuge du Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2443). Big, busy and friendly.

    Tuesday 3 July 2018
    Refuge du Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2443) – Gîte de Plan Mya (1860) – Refuge de Presset (2504)
    ↑1100 ↓1000 18 km, 8 hours
    Gîte de Plan Mya, www.refuge-mya.com  Payment: Cash only.
    Refuge de Presset, https://refugedepresset.ffcam.fr  Payment: Cash only.


    If dinner was chaotic at Bonhomme I don't know how to describe the breakfast. It is free seating at the long tables, and hectic both among hikers and staff as we start to eat at 06:30. Outside it is foggy and chilly, so we put on some extra layers this morning. Most of the hikers will follow the TMB main trail from Bonhomme, running eastwards (two options) from the cabin. We are heading south, along the far more quiet trail GR5/GRP Tour du Beaufortain, picking the variant along the mountain ridge Crête des Gittes (2538).

    Crête des Gittes

    At 08:00 we are ready, all 10 of us, more or less wind and 'fog proof'. The trail over Crête des Gittes is really unique - and recommended - following the ridge like a snake. Maybe not the best choice if you don't like it to airy, but the track is more like a narrow road, carved into the mountain. The fog soon dries off around us, soon we are walking on top of the clouds and enjoying the fantastic landscape. As we continue down and westwards to pass Col de la Sauce (2307) we follow the smaller trail on the grassy crest top. Very nice it is.
    From Col de la Sauce the marked trail runs down through gentle meadows, partly on gravel road, to the asphalt road D925. Nearly no traffic today on this early July morning. Along the road there are two options for food and lodging: Refuge du Plan de la Lai (FFCAM) and Gîte de Plan Mya (private). We have booked an early lunch at Gîte de Plan Mya (1860), tempted by their web page menu. It proves to be a very good choice! Plan Mya proves to be some much more than a menu card: A very warm welcome the chef Yvon and her crew. The beautifully restored house. And then the food! We start with the specialty of the house: Snails in a green herb mix.  Then quiche, home made sausage, salad, potato/apple pate, blueberry pie, coffee... Fantastic! Nothing but good, good, good. A place I really have to visit again. A hard place to leave. PS: Plan Mya accept cash only.

    Flower power at Le Grande Berge.

    At 12:15 it is back on the track again, leaving Plan Mya behind. We still have a long way to go today, now along GR5. From Plan Mya (1860) the trail runs over the two low passes Le Petit Berge and Le Grande Berge (ca 2050). The green meadows are covered with with carpets of white flowers (sorry, don't know the name). After Le Grande Berge the trail zigzag down a bit, and leads through low forest to a crest. Here we have a good view towards the next hiking stretch, and the characteristic mountain and landmark La Pierra Menta (2714). From the crest we walk downwards now, to approx.1800 m. From here on it is all uphill to the next pass, Col du Bresson (2469). First rather steep (and hot) through low forest, then through rocky fairytale terrain (and a welcoming breeze). All the way on a good trail. From the pass we look over to our goal for the day: Refuge de Presset (2504), sitting on its rock knob.  We are in real mountain terrain now. In the valley below we spot 10-15 ibexes grazing. It is still a lot of snow up here, and the small lake next to the cabin nearly covered with ice. We skip the swim plan, and go for the showers - and a cold beer at the terrace.

    Col du Bresson (2469). Cabane de Presset (2504) in the back.

    Modern Refuge de Presset (2504) immediately gets a place on my top-ten-list. The setting is the very best. The cabin, built in 2013, is a true masterpiece; the light and functional main room, the multi bedrooms, the huge terrace. And to top it all: The guardians Sandra de Bersacques and Sebastian! Thanks a lot for the way you receive us, the way you treat us!!! You make us feel at home from the very first moment. The delicious Presset dinner is served at 19:00. A perfect way to finish a long, beautiful and varied hike.

    PS Thanks to advice from Sandra, on the phone, we did not walk via the valley to the north, Combe de la Neuva. It's doable, but is still rather snow covered.

    Wednesday 4 July 2018
    Refuge de Presset (2514) – Refuge de La Coire (2059) – Refuge de l'Alpage (1983)
    ↑1000 ↓1050 17 km, 7 hours
    Refuge de La Coire: https://lacoire.weebly.com/ Payment: Cash only.
    Refuge de l'Alpage: restaurant.alpage@wanadoo.fr. Payment: Card or cash.


    Another beautiful day is waiting for us as we sit down for breakfast at 07:00. Like every day we ask for extra ham and cheese. Of course Sandra & Sebastian fix it. We are heading for Refuge de l'Alpage today, via Refuge de La Coire. The standard route option would be to backtrack via Col du Bresson (2469), drop down 400 meters along the trail we came last evening and then head for Col du Coin (2398). However, thanks to advice from my friend Bernard Lefauconnier (and a French group at Presset), we choose to go via Passeur de la Mintaz (2600). This pass, also named Col de Tutu, is situated just north of La Pierra Menta (2714). But, before the warm au revoir hugs at my new favorite cabin we just have to walk around the Lac Presset and take photos.

    Refuge de Presset (2504) and La Pierra Manta (2714)

    At 08:30 we're on our way. Since the long and strong winter has left the hillside rather wet the trail towards Passeur de la Mintaz is rather slippery and tricky. And for sure enough  steep and exposed for a guy like me. The walking sticks are very useful. We soon catch up with the French group, where the 'boss' takes very care about both his friends and our group over the most slippery dirt parts. (One guy prefers to use his crampons. It doesn't look like a very good idea...)

    Finding the way to Passeur de la Mintaz/Col de Tutu.

    We all make it safely to Col de Tutu. My concern about how steepness and snow conditions are on the west side of the pass is really waste of energy; the slope is gentle and the firm snow makes it perfect to descend. Time to time we look more like happy kids skiing down on our boots, nearly all the way to the lake with the charming name Lac d'Amour (2248). Despite very cold water (I give it 5°C) and a breeze three out of ten just have to go for a quick dip. In the "water of love" :-)

    Lac d'Amour (2248)

    From Lac d'Amour we head for Col du Coin (2398), where we will be back on the classic GRP Tour du Beaufortain. The terrain is back to green and gentle again, and the walking is straight forward and pleasant. Towards the pass a group of mountain bikers are struggling to get their horses up the hill, happy to get a Norwegian arm or two assisting a bit. The grownup mixed group - more or less at our age - is out on a longer Trans Alp tour. Here and now I vote for boots.
    From the pass we walk down and into a new (to us) green valley, partly on trail, but mainly on gravel road (bike please!). We head for Refuge de La Coire (2059), where we have booked table for lunch (payment in cash only). No booking is needed today, only a few others are out walking or biking. The hot lunch plates we order are OK, however we have other cabins we'll rather come back to. 

    Above Lac de St-Guérin (1512)

    Heading westwards from La Coire the GRP follows the gravel road for nearly 1 km, then continues on good trail down towards the lake/reservoir Lac de St-Guérin (1512). The upper part runs over meadows, then through the forest the very last part. At the SE bay of turquoise colored Lac de St-Guérin our trail passes over a fancy suspension bridge, then along a popular "stroll road" along the south shore. After a short snack rest, cooling our feet in the creek ("swimming prohibited"), a 450 meters climb is waiting for us. The day is hot, so it is a real treat to walk in the shady and beautiful forest for the first 300 meters uphill.

    Refuge de l'Alpage (1983)

    Refuge de l'Alpage (1983) sits on the grassy ski resort hillside, and is accessible by car (dirt road). The huge veranda is close to empty today. Guess it is rather lively here during the ski season. The cabin is newly renovated, from top to toe. And the owner - Patricia - for sure knows how to run the business: Perfect food and lodging. And, according to our plan our friend Bernard arrives in his car from Grenoble/Chartreuse. For the next day our group will consist of 11 happy hikers. 
    Out there clouds, rain showers and thunder are coming in, hiding Mont Blanc. But suddenly, just before bedtime it is there, the beautiful giant of the Alps.

    Thursday 5 July 2018 
    Refuge de l'Alpage (1983) – Le Grand Mont (2686) – Refuge des Arolles (1890)
    ↑950 ↓1050 13 km, 6-7 hours
    Refuges des Arolles: https://lesarolles.org/ Payment: Card or cash.

    After a very good breakfast at Refuge de l'Alpage (07:00) most of us are ready for a local beauty: The mountain Le Grand Mont (2686). It's a bit cloudy outside, and the peak is playing with the fog. We pack a light sack, and give it a try. The trail is mainly well marked, but higher up snow is still covering the path and marks. Up high the terrain gets more and more Nordic. Not steep, but snowy and barren. Yes, we like it here. The clouds still play around the top while we are there, but partly sunny weather and no wind make this top tour to a good choice.

    Le Grand Mont (2686)

    We're back at Refuge de l'Alpage around 12:00, for 'stress down' and a good lunch. When we're ready to leave Refuge de l'Alpage it is already 14:30. The trail and landscape towards Refuge des Arolles is simply very, very nice. Really beautiful. Wild, always changing, lush. With exception of a few mountain trail runners we are all alone. Again. The highlight to me is the area near Lac Tournant; the wild scenery, the creek draining down into the hillside, the tiny gorge below the pond. It's a true pearl sitting here between all build out ski slopes. Just before arriving Refuge des Arolles (1890) our standard tour equipment, the umbrellas, become handy. Finally. 

    Near Lac Tournant.

    Refuge des Arolles (1890) is friendly, basic and warm. This evening we - "the bunch 11" - get a warm welcome. The combination of 10 Norwegians and one French is obviously not what they're used to. Des Arolles The dinner at 19:00 is tiptop. The 'boss' and her crew are helpful and caring. I really like it here, despite being more or less in the middle of a ski track.

    Refuge des Arolles (1890)

    Friday 6 July 2018
    ↑450 ↓1400 13 km, 3 hours
    Gîte de Molliessoulaz: http://www.gite-beaufortain.com/gite/. Payment in cash.

    At 07:00 it's a classic French breakfast at Refuge des Arolles. Since we have a rather long walk ahead of us without any huts en route we have ordered lunch packs. Outside the weather is gray and a bit wet. We wave goodbye to the cabin, and say au revoir to Bernard. He will walk back to his car at l'Alpage, then drive and stay with us one more night at Molliessoulaz.

    Rain Men

    It's rain gear and umbrella conditions today, and most of the day we walk in the clouds. Shortly after leaving Arolles we are out of the forest, and walk in open terrain for the next hours. At the pass Col de la Bâthie (1889) a few people are out waiting for a mountain race. We are a bit too early to be a cheering team, so the herd of grazing cows is the only the entertainment for us this morning. From the pass the trail drops a little bit before it climbs 400 meters up to Col des Lacs (2247). No conditions for swimming in Lacs de Lavouet, they are covered by ice and fog. From Col des Lacs the trail follows the rather steep west flank of Pointe de la Grande Journée (2460), and takes us about 200 meters lower. On the map the trail is drawn as "passage délicat", but I find it easy to walk. No worries.

    Starting the descend towards Gîte de Molliessoulaz.

    The fog still keeps out what must be great views to the south, all way over the pass east of La Roche Pourie (ca 2020). From now on it's down, down about 1000 m before our day is over. First through pleasant azalea covered terrain, then into the forest. Apart from a bunch of goats we meet nobody. Pick a grey day in the Alps, and the chance for a quiet day is good. We have booked places at Gîte de Molliessoulaz, and as we approach the weather clears up. And after a while the sun is shining.
    Gîte de Molliessoulaz (950)
    At Gîte de Molliessoulaz (950) the sun is not needed. The reception we get by Sébastien, the owner, is simply fantastic. Our French is not the best ("Je parle français comme une vache espagnole!"), his English comme si comme ça. A perfect setting for warm hugs and good laughs. And cold beers out in the nice garden. We get the two big and nice rooms upstairs, and then hot showers. Bernard turns up in his car, and a bit later Claire; the warm lady of the house. The evening is more then perfect, with plenty of very good food and wine. Before it's all over we have been served champagne at the balcony, watching at the moon - and Mont Blanc. Thank you Claire and Sébastien for the very generous way you are treating us! Gîte de Molliessoulaz: Strongly recommended.

    At Gîte de Molliessoulaz they know how to treat their guests. 

    Saturday 7 July 2018
    Mini bus service from Gîte de Molliessoulaz  (950) to Queige (540)

    Queige (540) – Refuge du Lachat (1555)
    ↑1300 ↓200 15 km, 7 hours
    Refuge du Lachat: www.refugedulachat.com Payment: Credit card or cash

    Breakfast - with very good bread - is served at 07:30. To save our sore morning legs it's easy to say yes to Sébastien's offer to drive us down to the village Queige, for a few euros only. I really don't like the idea about leaving this nice house, but we have to stick to our plan today. After hugs and kisses (luckily it takes time since we are 11) we roll down the hill. Sébastien in front, Bernard behind.
    In charming Queige with we shop some fruit and snacks in the tiny grossary (entrance via the bar). Queige has bus connection to/from Albertville, and is the starting point for those doing Tour du Beaufortain according to the FFRandonnée guidebook. At 09:30 we say goodbye to Bernard, driving back home to Sappey en Chartreuse, and hit the trail.

    Along GRP Tour du Beaufortain towards Refuge du Lachat.

    This is the least spectacular day on our tour. The trail stays in the forest most of the time, more or less all the way to Refuge du Lachat. It's no easy to find good, open spots for a picnic. The big views are not too many. Parts of the forest is big, old and nice, and keep out the sun on a warm day like this.
    At Refuge du Lachat (1555) the sign "Fermé/Closed" and a locked door meet us . Is something wrong with my booking? The place is dead quiet. A window is soon open above us: "I'll come down in a minute". Guess we hit the local siesta hour. For sure we are a bit ahead for the summer rush, not much action around in early July.
    Lachat is clean and OK, with a huge terrace. The warden is not very eager doing his job, but we do get what we need: Cold beers, coke and salty snacks. Today it's just us and two others staying for the night. It mus be different in the winter peak season I guess; the west and north side of the hill above us is peppered with ski lifts.
    The dinner at Lachat  - at 19:00 - is very good and plentiful. I go to bed early, my old body is a bit slack tonight.

    Refuge du Lachat (1555)

    Sunday 8 July 2018
    Refuge du Lachat (1555) – Refuge de la Croix de Pierre (1965) – Refuge Le Petit Tétras (1783)
    ↑900 ↓600 17 km, 7 hours
    Refuge de la Croix de Pierre: www.refugedelacroixdepierre.fr. Payment: Cash only. 
    Refuge Le Petit Tétras: Booking on Facebook. Payment: Credit card or cash.

    07:00 means breakfast time, before preparing for our last full walking day. From Lachat we walk a bit downhill, before walking 400 meters uphill through pleasant forest towards the hill Chard du Beurre. And huge, grassy, open ski resort fields. At Col de la Lézette (1787) we just have to stop at tempting Le Benetton: They sell Italian ice cream and very good coffee!
    From Col de la Lézette (1787) the GRP follow the dirt road now, with a few exceptions, up to Col de Véry. Running shoes would have been the best choice on this stretch. Or a bicycle. This is grazing land for cattle. As well as ski resort country. On our way we pass a bigger constriction site, more apartments for the skiers I guess.
    All the way towards Col de Véry we have a fantastic view over the green valley bellow, and snow covered Mont Blanc (4810) high above to the east.

    And high above it all: Mont Blanc (4810)

    Our lunch stop, Refuge de la Croix de Pierre (1965), is a very charming place. Both the house and the owners. It's busy this sunny Sunday, not too easy get an outdoor table for our big group. However, after a while we both table, tasty salad on the plates and cold stuff in our glasses. Hiking in France is not bad at all.

    Refuge de la Croix de Pierre (1965).

    At Col de Véry / La Croix de Pierre we leave the GPR Tour du Beaufortain and head northwest towards our last cabin on this tour. This trail is very pleasant, with good views all the way: Most of the time we walk on the crest of the hill, via Mont de Vorès (2067), Ban Rouge (1983) and Crêt du Midi (1890), to arrive at a very good place to be: Tiny and charming Refuge Le Petit Tétras (1783), run in a very nice way by Julie and Mathias, with their family.


    On the ridge from Mont de Vorès (2067) to Ban Rouge (1983).

    We get the big dormitory on the attic, and the 'private' top terrace behind the house. Some aperitif, a shower, then it is dinnertime: The food is tiptop. And the 'dessert' beautiful: The last glass of wine on the main terrace as the daylight slowly fades out. Le Petit Tétras: The perfect place to spend the last evening up high.

    Refuge Le Petit Tétras

    Monday 9 July 2018
    Refuge Le Petit Tétras (1783) – Praz-sur-Arly (1010)
    ↓800 5 km, 2 hours 


    Today we have to be down in the valley before 10:00 to catch the minibus we have booked. As breakfast is ready for us at 07:00 we've backed most of our stuff, and are ready to start walking at 07:45. Au revoir Petit Tétras! This was a very memorable stay to all of us.

    Refuge Le Petit Tétras (1783)

    The 800 meters descend to village Praz-sur-Arly goes very smooth; the trail is never very steep as it zigzags through the forest. Down in Praz-sur-Arly we have plenty of time to buy some local goodies (Beaufort cheese and sausage) and re-pack a little bit before our prebooked Alpybus arrives in front of Le Mairie/Town Hall at 10:00.

    Descending towards Praz-sur-Arly.

    Praz-sur-Arly, like our starting point Les Contamines-Montjoie, is just an 1.5 hours drive away from Genève Aeroport. Just ideal for busy tourists like us, flying home to Norway around 14:00.

    - o O o -

    Beaufortain: 
    An area which is very easy to recommend! Fantastic hiking terrain, full of superduper mountain cabins. And in early July: Hardly any other hikers.

    My good friends: 
    Such a perfect company, day after day!
    Up hills and down hills.
    Sunshine or rain.
    Let's do it again!

    Tusen takk for turen, fra Bjørn.



    Emergency number France: 112


    søndag 27. mai 2018

    2018 A six days hike from Tende to Menton, France

    Photos from our trip: Click HERE.
    Our GPS track is available HERE.
    Google Map/Earth view and file of the trip: Click HERE.

    This is a perfect hike to do when the snow still blocks the higher mountain passes for walkers, and the mountain cabins are closed. All the way the trails run well below the treeline. All the way you stay in charming, old villages. All the way you walk on well-marked trails. Apart from one exposed short section, as GR 52A descends to Breil-sur-Roya (alternative route possible), this is a fairly straight forward walk. Only occasionally you'll meet other walkers, or mountain bikers. 
    The highest point of our hike was 1200 meters above sea level. 
    Walking distance per day: 10-16 km. 
    Walking time per day: 5-6 hours, or less.

    Berghe Supérieur
    The hike described below took place in mid May 2018, after an extremely long and snowy winter. The weather conditions were still on the cool and wet side (fresh snow down to 2000 m one morning). Still all trails were dry and good for hiking, with plants in full bloom. A very pleasant hike for sure! 

    We booked our unguided tour from www.france-ecotours.com, who describes the tour like this:
    “This hike leads you through the most beautiful villages of the French Riviera and the hinterland of Nice. You walk alone on an almost forgotten path, that used to be the most important route for the salt business. From the mountains you climb down to the sea, crossing valleys and pass, perched villages, pine forests and olive groves”.


    12 May 2018
    The airliner Norwegian brings us from Oslo to Nice airport in 3 hours (09:10-12:05), then bus 98 to Nice city centre. Excellent lunch at Peixes, 4 rue de l’Opera, a stroll in the old town, relaxing at the beach. At 17:13 we take the train www.sncf.com from Gare de Nice Ville to Breil-sur-Roya. Due to work on the railroad we have to continue from here with bus to Saint-Dalmas de Tende, and Hôtel Le Prieuré. Clean, nice, simple style. Dinner around 19:30. Only a few other walkers are here, and for one reason or the other, they are all Scanidnavian: Helene, Reidar, Grete and Fredrik from Norway. Karin and Roland from Sweden.

    13 May 2018
    Saint-Dalmas de Tende – La Brigue  – Tende
    ↑600 ↓500, 10km, 3 hours
    Aftre a short climb up from Saint-Dalmas de tende we walk along a good and flat trail through the forest from Saint-Dalmas de Tende to charming, old La Brigue, and a Coke. From here in ‘treeless’ terrain to Col de Loubaïra. We miss the trail north of the pass, and end up walking down the asphalt road… When reaching the main road we follow the smaller road on the west side of the river La Roya all the way to the village.
    The old part of Tende is “glued” onto the hillside. A bit shabby, very dead, but still charming. In the newer part of the village we have an excellent lunch at Le Gourmand - “chez Eliane”. Recommended!  Outside it’s raining heavily now. We find our umbrellas, take a walk up above the old town. Back again on the main street we catch bus 905 back to or hotel in Saint-Dalmas de Tende. (Option: Hike along “Chemin des Bois” from Tende to St-Dalmas).
    Tende
    14 May 2018
    Saint-Dalmas de Tende – Fontan
    ↑500 ↓700, 14 km, 5 hours
    Bus: Fontan – Saorge
    The day starts by walking 1 km along the main road south of the village. From here we hike mostly along pleasant trails to the tiny hamlet Granile. The small bar is closed when we arrive, but the superfriendly keeper living next door opens up the business, making us café au lait - and sandwiches for our lunch stop. From Granile the trail takes us to the largest village on this hill, beautiful Berghe Supérieur. From the village we follow the tarmac for 850m, the continues on a good and nice forest trail to tiny Berghe Inférieur. Time for our lunch, and the umbrellas. From the village we follow the road for about 1 km, before dropping 300 vertical meters down the rather steep trail to hairpin road D42. On asphalt 3 km to Fontain, the last 700m along mainroad D6204. It has been raining for the last hour now, and my sore achilles does not want more pepper. I’m happy that we arrive Fontan just in time to catch bus 905 and not walk the last 2 km of asphalt road walk up to Saorge. (Walking option: Walk 1.2 km southwards along D6204, before following the old zigzag path/dirt road that ends south of the tunnel on road D38 to Saorge). Saorge village, clinging to the hillside, is a real adventure. Exciting to explore. We stay at the very pleasant Ca'Da Barrera (http://chambresdhotes-saorge.fr), run by friendly Lucas. In addition to being a clever cook he knows how to handle the accordion as well.
    Saorge
    15 May 2018
    Saorge – Breil-sur-Roya
    ↑500 ↓700, 10 km, 5 hours
    After breakfast we buy baguette, cheese, ham and wine at the grocery shop. Today’s walk starts next to our hostel Ca'Da Barrera. The yellow marked and excellent trail takes us down to the main road D6204. Since the footbridge across the river Bendola is missing we have to walk the 650 m long road tunnel. Not very pleasant, however it is both sidewalks and light inside the mountain. Immediately south of the tunnel we walk down the road towards the river, cross under the main road, and are ready for the first climb of this leg. The track starts with a dirt/crushed stone road, the joins GR 52A on a rather rough (we are a bit spoiled by now) but good trail up through the forest, with some good viewpoints. We have our lunch stop on the nice rock crop north of Vallon de Zouayné, looking down towards Breil-sur-Roya. GR 52A is rather overgrown as we get close to Breil-sur-Roya, with some very exposed/steep sections. (Alternative if scared of high drops: Follow yellow marked trail through the forest down to La Pinède, towards the railway station). Breil-sur-Roya is a compact, classic mountain town of the 17th/18th century. At this time of the year it is dead quiet, but contains what we need: Atmosphere, hotel, bar and grocery. We stay at Hôtel Le Roya. Despite the helpful and friendly keeper, it will not be amongst my favourites. Dinner at 19:30 at Restaurant La Bonne Auberge, while a heavy hailstorm – with peanut size nuggets – sweeps over the village.
    View towards Breil-sur-Roya
    16 May 2018
    Breil-sur-Roya – Piène Haute – Sospel
    ↑650 ↓600, 15 km, 6 hours
    Before leaving Breil-sur-Roya we buy classic French lunch stuff at the supermarket next door. For the first 1 km the nice trail follows GR 510, then continuing along yellow marked trail towards the village Piène Haute. A very beautiful and pleasant hike, through old olive groves and with nice views most of the way. On very good trails. The village Piène Haute is a real pearl. Colourful houses along the “main road”, the Baroque church on the cliff edge. My only wish is that somebody had run a café here. From Piène Haute we follow the tarmac for one flat kilometre, then continue on GR 510 though olive groves on gravel road, 2 km/250 vertical metres down towards the Italian border and tarmac road D93 between Sospel and Olivetta. After a short stretch on asphalt, we follow the very nice “salt road” along the river La Bévéra: First high above the impressing/scary gorge, the along the flat river bank. After crossing below the railroad brigde Le pont de Caï, the 3 km walk to Sospel is 50/50 on asphalt/trail. The rain sets in. We love our umbrellas, again. And our two new Swedish friends walking the road: Ulrica and Leif. In Sospel we stay at wonderful Auberge Provencale, sitting on the hillside south of the village. A very good place to be. We put up a long table for our "group", the hiking 4 Swedes and 6 Norwegians.
    Piène Haute
    17 May 2018Castillon Village – Sainte-Agnès
    ↑650 ↓600, 13 km, 6 hours
    Bus: Sospel - Castillon Village

    Today we have to catch bus 15 to Castillon Village, leaving Sospel at 10:00. After breakfast we walk charming and "tourist empty" Sospel. Once this was a prosperous village, situated on the important salt route the transporters had to pay toll here. We buy some goodies for lunch, and find the bus stop. The bus ride to Castillon Village takes 10 minutes. We follow the three first bends up through the village, then continue on the yellow marked and good trail (not indicated on the French topo maps) to Col the Castillon. The trail from here towards Mount Ours (Bear Mountain/Bjørnfjell) is very well made, nearly like a road. I’m not the biggest fan of walking in the woods, but this one I find very pleasant. We skip the short detour to Mont Ours (1216), to save my sore foot. The trail further on – and down – is obviously part of the fortifications on Mont Ours and Pic de Garuche. At the trail bend at alt. 1100 m, with a big view towards the Mediterranean, we decide to stop for lunch. Unfortunately the rain coming in makes us change plans. Umbrellas instead of baguette and rosé. The descend towards Col de Verroux and Col des Banquettes is hard on my feet: The only parts left of the military road are the gutters/kerbstones, the old road surface is washed away during the years. What remains is rough and loose gravel. I’m happy for the straps I brought for tying the umbrella to my backpack, so that I may still use both my walking poles. The last levelled 1 km of today’s walk follows asphalt or dirt road, aiming for Sainte-Agnès which “waving to us” up on it’s hill. The sun is suddenly back. Sainte-Agnès is another real pearl, with old houses, narrow alleys, big views, and our Hôtel Le Saint Yves. The rooms may not be the very best, it smells ‘start of the season’, but the crew is friendly and helpful. Dinner at 19:30. Since it is our National Day today, we go for a bottle of champagne. Hipp, hipp hurra for 17. mai :-)
    Trail towards Mont Ours - Bjørnfjellet :-)


    18 May 2018
    Sainte-Agnès – Castellar – Menton
    ↑200 ↓850, 15 km, 4 hours
    Sunny and good as we leave pretty Sainte-Agnès, aiming for Menton at the sea. Today’s hike follows GR 51 on good and well-marked trails down to the villages Monti and Castillar, through fascinating and wild terrain. At this time of the year, after several days with some rain, it is green, lush, blooming. Castellar is very quiet when we arrive, no café open. We find the tiny grocery in Rue de la Republique, and have our lunch in the park. From Castellar we walk only 500m on asphalt, then continues on pleasant trails down towards highway A8, following yellow marks. Now we are approaching the busy and popular Côte d'Azur and the city of Menton. The very last 2-3 km are on asphalt, on the road on top of la Colle, with fancy summerhouses and ocean view.
    Our six days walk is soon to an end. We walk slowly down through the colourful and beautiful old town of Menton. Then we stop at the beach. Grateful and happy for all our experiences on this very pleasant hike from Tende to Méditerranée.

    Sainte-Agnès – Monti

    Menton

    Méditerranée & man