17th August: Le Roux to Aiguilles

We had originally planned a 8.5 to 9 hour day over three high cols (including one over 2900 metres) and Pic du Malrif (2906 metres). However, because we were both a bit weary and the guidebook advised that it would be particularly difficult following heavy rain, which we had last night, we decided on plan B.

After breakfast, we waited for the bus to Abries to save walking along the road for an hour. We then had a bit of a drama when we omitted to press the button to ask the driver to stop. After John had run down the bus shouting that we needed to get off, rather than opening the doors so we could walk back, the driver reversed back along the main road to the village, even though the bus was already late! The French people on the bus, including two we’d met on our travels, were very amused!

Finally, we started walking, past the stations of the cross and the old church above Abries, winding along the valley and up the hillside then turning alongside a gorge through trees and a deserted hamlet with a small chapel.

We stopped for a bite to eat on the bridge over the river before starting the relentless climb, zigzagging backwards and forwards up the steep grassy mountain slopes. The climb from the village at 1583 metres to the Lac du Grand Laus at 2579 metres seemed to take forever, probably because my legs were so heavy. However, we made good time and were soon sitting by the lake enjoying the beautiful scenery.

We stopped for a while, eating our lunch and relaxing in the sunshine because there was no rush to get to the Gite because we’d picked a shorter route. I went for a paddle but the water was too cold for a swim, particularly as there was a cool breeze.

We left the lake by a different route from the one we’d ascended and the descent was quite pleasant, not too rocky or steep, except for the last kilometre or so, which seemed to go on forever.

We eventually reached Aiguilles, a really pretty and lively little village, the biggest we visited on our trek. It was decorated with brightly painted chairs… Very quirky!

We sampled the drinks in three of the town’s bars to celebrate the end of the walk, and even talked about buying the Gite that we were staying in as it was for sale! Yak Avenir was very tastefully decorated and very comfortable. We had a room of our own, with an ensuite bathroom. John got rather excited about being able to leave his toiletries in the bathroom and being able to lock the bedroom door!

Once again, our meal was very enjoyable. As it was our last night, we stayed up late (until about 10.30!) chatting with a journalist and neurologist from Manchester. We’re sad to come to the end of our trek, but also glad to have some rest, sleep in our own bed and have clean, non-hiking clothes. Tomorrow we go back to collect the camper van in Guillestre and start our journey home. I don’t want to go home!

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