Démant Torrent-St Dalmas
Daily Mileage: 20.5mi/33km
Approx Total Mileage: 328.7mi/529km
I didn’t sleep a lot last night. It must have been the warmth. I even woke up at one point thinking the sun was coming up and considered packing up to get to town earlier since I wasn’t sleeping anyway. I glanced at the time…12:45am. Oops, not at all the time I thought it was. I did get going at 7:10am and it was a wonderfully relaxing morning.
The first half of the day was downhill. It was quite humid, but thankfully overcast. It would have been brutal with sun. It was in the 80sF/27C for the morning and quite hazy. The trail dropped into a wooded valley and then many villages the rest of the day. This last section has been quite congested with villages, but that’s apparently because there’s one main valley to go through. The finale these next 5 days are supposed to be more remote and a highlight of the hike.
First up was the unique, steep, and narrow village of Roure.
Immediately after that was a steep drop down switchbacks to the much bigger and more modern St Sauveur sur Tinée. I stopped at a bench right on the edge of town by a fountain and ate my lunch. Good strategy as I would have bought something if I went through there hungry.
Then there was a three hour or so climb back up out of the bottom of the valley and through more villages, on roads, by many homes. Not long after leaving, I came upon another GR5 hiker, Bruno from France. He greatly welcomed the company and has a good sense of humor, so it was nice to finish the last two hours together as the clouds cleared and the heat really kicked up to 93F/34C. Fortunately, there were plenty of fountain stops. The umbrella was once again a great asset.
We got to the village of St Dalmas at 3:30pm and checked into the gite. This is my last stop (unless weather puts me in a refuge) before I finish the GR5 in about 5 days. I haven’t had great service, so I have a list of things I wrote down that I wanted to get done on the wifi. I’ve looked forward to this stop for the wifi for days. Welp, after a day of the best service I’ve had in days, I landed in a village with low service and no wifi, ugh. Nothing has to be done, but the list is building up and I know I may have even less service these last five days. Oh well, nothing I can do about it, and it actually gave me a more relaxed night because I couldn’t do the list I’d written, ha. I’ll catch up eventually. At least I got to shower, clean my clothes in the sink, and get everything charged up for the remainder of the hike.
Bruno and I have a room for four with just the two of us, so that’s really nice because it can often be a dozen in a room. The gites often have the option of dinner and breakfast, and it seemed to be a good deal, so I did that for the first time. For the stay and dinner and breakfast, it was 44€/$49.
However, since this is France, dinner was at 7:30pm. I had a can of ravioli and two chocolate pudding cups for my first dinner at 5pm. Dinner was the group setting with many courses and I can’t believe most GR5 hikers do this social event nightly! It’s so exhausting to be in a room with so much socializing happening and to hold conversation in a group setting for an hour and a half…and I heard that was faster than usual. Great food and I’ll for sure sleep hard tonight. I wasn’t tired when I arrived, but that dinner socializing took it out of me for sure, whew.
I think you show us “Portes de Longon”. I found this place very nice, with a remoteness feeling (as in Sallevieille). But I saw it in early summer and it was still very green.
It is really fun to read your sharings. I read it in chunks of 3 or 4 days, so you seem to fly over the trail and passes, as in my memory that stretches were longer and made of sweating vertical drops (around Auron).
Yep, that was it! Definitely end of summer brown now.
Reminds me of the Pilgrim meals on the Camino. Really great if you are into socialising, but really tiring if you are a bit of a hermit like me, hence I only did one! On top of that, the Spanish eat late.
You are getting there!! Hope the last five days are to your liking.
What I’ve been wondering Erin, what do you do with the umbrella? Do you hold it (and hence sometimes forget about the poles…) or do you fix it to your backpack in a certain way? I think an umbrella against the heat is a brilliant idea!
I have a way to strap it hands free when I want to and sometimes hold it if there’s wind or an angle I want.