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Hiking With Marmots, July 6, 2011

Stage 8, D56 (Refuge de Longon à Roya)

11.04 miles, 3,277’ up, 4,517’ down

Go to this map and hover over the triangles to see where the stage we just completed is relative to the entire trail.  (The stage beginning and end locations are probably backwards, as we are doing the trail in the opposite direction.)

Breakfast at Refuge de Longon was the French hiking breakfast we were to become used to -- a large bowl (think of cereal bowls) for coffee (with heated milk, if you like), sliced bread, lots of butter and jam. Yummy, but that's it. We learned quickly that we will have to stock up on snacks and cheese, otherwise we'll never have morning energy.

Heading through the meadows of Longon, we saw two chamois bounding in the distance and many many marmots (and, of course, my beloved flowers). The marmots are fat and move slowly, except after they've called out their warning shriek and scurry down their holes.

Marmot in meadows of Longon

Up and over two passes, then a steep long descent (4,500' down) with the usual combination of scree (loose rock), narrow tracks on the edges of the hillside and meadows.  Always with incredible near and far views. Also passing isolated shepherds' huts or hamlets that clearly support the use of these hillsides for sheep grazing and cheese-making. One of the shepherd's huts in the middle of nowhere had a satellite dish on the side!

Hiking from Longon to Roya

Our destination today was a gite in the hamlet of Roya, owned by the town but privately managed. It was pretty crowded, although some guests cooked for themselves and some joined us for the demi-pension (hearty, but not note-worthy).



View from our git in the hamlet of Roya

Decided after another 8+ hour day that a rest day would be a good idea, in part because my muscles are getting tired and in part because we need to "run errands".  (NOTE that it is mostly my legs that are now the limiting factor, not my heart. Such happy news.)  After a short day hiking tomorrow, we will stay one extra day in St.-Etienne-sur-Tinee.

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