Near St Maur-Démant Torrent
Daily Mileage: 18.6mi/30km
Approx Total Mileage: 308.2mi/496km
Campsite Elevation: 5961ft/1817m
Today was just a hot day. It was a t-shirt and shorts night with how warm it was. When I got going at 7:30am, the sun was quickly on my morning climb that was quite steep and also forested. It made for an unenjoyable start to the day, but I was in the modern ski village of Auron in just over an hour.
I went to the grocery store and got food for the next day and a bonus breakfast of a sandwich, peach ice tea (my new craving on hot days), a fruit cup, and pudding cups of course. I knew I had a hot climb to follow, but it seemed gradual, so I downed three of the four pudding cups, which are much more satisfying than the chocolate mousse ones. I sat at the visitors center and used the wifi to post the blog while I ate. After 1.5hrs in Auron, I was back on trail and into the heat.
Looking back on the day, it felt like most of it was spent climbing, but I think that’s because it takes longer to climb and I tend to get down the descents quite quickly. Now that I’ve calculated it, I see that it was a fair amount at about 6000ft/1829m of ascent. That and the heat just made for an uncomfortable day. It was 90F/32C when I left Auron.
I hiked a couple hours up over a col and down to the hamlet of Roya where I found a shaded spot by a stream to have lunch before the next three hour climb. Nothing beats my daily raspberry lemonade (I’ve brought over from the US!) on a hot day!
The afternoon was just one long hot climb. I used the umbrella for much of the climb that was very exposed with no shade at all. Thankfully, a breeze kicked in and temperatures dropped a bit as I went higher.
Now I know why the guidebook says that most would want to stop at Roya and do the climb in the morning. The only other pair I met this morning doing the GR5 was stopping in Roya and I remembered thinking that seemed so early to stop. Now I get it. It was also drier with fewer water options than usual, but thankfully I grabbed extra water anticipating the heat and extra thirst. I feel like I would have a completely different opinion of this climb if it wasn’t so hot and sunny.
Once at the top of the climb at La Stèle Valette, there was a full panoramic view that was quite nice. It was hazy from the heat, but there may have been a chance to see the Mediterranean. I didn’t see it. I’m getting closer!
The descent was a wonderfully gradual one that was wide open and very welcomed.
At 5:30pm, I finally got to a water source, the Torrent Démant, and decided it was a good spot to stop. My goal is to make it to a village for the night tomorrow night, and this positions me within that goal. I was tempted to go further, but this spot was too good to pass up. There were few shaded areas and I’m right near a stream, so I grabbed it. It felt great to wash off all the salt and sweat. Also, I’m just barely in the national park, and it’s a well hidden spot in a remote area (I saw few people today) so I was able to setup before the restricted 7pm rule figuring no one was around, and if they were, they wouldn’t see me.
Always a worry, are sheep. They seem to come out of nowhere over a hillside as they are herded each night and morning. I see droppings around to indicate it’s possible, but it seemed few enough that I’d be safe. Then at 7:30pm, a herd was being brought over the far hill. I could even hear the bells over the white noise of the stream, and I got worried. Thankfully, it seems they’ve been taken downstream from me. I’m looking forward to a more downhill day tomorrow and a shower! It’s still quite warm out as it’s getting dark.
Never been worried about sheep. Sheepdogs though, and in fact dogs generally, yes. Some are lovely but in my entire life, the only animals that have ever really drawn blood from me have been dogs. And at least half the time, their owners have said something like “Oh, he just wants to be friends,” as if ripping your trousers and gnawing your thigh is just the right way to go about it…
I always carry a sponge so I can do sponge baths in streams,even cold ones.
In the heat I would pour water on my hat and clothes. I doubt you will get rain to cool off.
Thanks for the reports- almost as good as being there, but much less effort.
I hate hot temps!
Great idea with the sponge.