Summer’s over, the last hike of our holiday, the cliff and beach path to Monte-Carlo with a picnic watching some of the comings and goings to the ostentatious naval architecture on show at the Monaco Yacht show 2017. Presumably the short visits by the tender boats are by prospective clients.
Third hike, still in fine autumn weather, driving up the route of the cascades, the river Séveraisse of the Valgaudémar. The view from behind the waterfall Cascade du Casset of the Torrent du Vallon is quite special, the veil of water droplets in front of the eyes, reminding me slightly of the duality between waves and particles: is the flow a liquid or a combination of droplets?
First the téléphérique ride up to the glacial wastelands at 3211 m. The ride is pretty special, carried across the forested glacial valley with the river Romanche 500 m. below the cabine. There’s a change at 2416 m. to another lift which carries higher still, now over rocky wasteland wrecked by the glacier and too high for trees. The end of the second ride is the start of the hike. You need crampons, ropes and poles to continue very much higher - and skills which I don’t have - but it’s possible to get a bit further on cleared paths.
The views from 3300 m. are panoramic to the north. A multitude of peaks, sadly too many are dry, no snow. Clouds fluffing in some of the valleys, Mt Blanc and the Belladonne far away, also Mt Thabor (which I hiked to the top of in 2014) and the spiky Aiguilles d'Arves much closer.
Hiking to the Pré de la Chaumette, 1810 m., up the steeply sided valley of the White Drac river in Champsaur. A circular route, hiking up one side and down the other of the valley largely composed of crystalline rocks. We picnicked in the forest and then enjoyed a coffee in the sunshine at the refuge.
All-round views from the summit of Mont Gargas, 2208 m., including the Belledonne Alps above Grenoble, the Vercors plateau, the Dévoluy plateau and the Grande Tête de l’Obiou (2789 m.) opposite our hotel, then the Provence Alps far away in the heat haze of the valley of the river Durance. And closest, the peaks above the Champsaur and Valgaudemar valleys of the Écrins.
Day hike with Terry up to Styhead Tarn (437 m.) from Seathwaite in Borrowdale. This area is the heart of the Lake District fells: Sty Head (488 m.) is a crossing of major routes to Great Gable and Scafell Pikes. A hike revisiting a place from our past: Terry knows this country better than I: he introduced me to this area when we camped in his tent on the banks of Styhead Tarn back in the early 1990’s as an overnight on our way to Scafell Pike; he already knew the area as mountain marathon runner. Today there was plenty of water down Styhead Gill after recent rainfall but high pressure is controlling our weather so sunshine and clear views over Borrowdale to Hellvellyn.