Tuesday 15th August: Off to the Ecrins

Today we headed south, as Dan and Jackie headed north. We cleaned and packed and, after breakfast, said our goodbyes and set off. Our next stop is La Graves, a small town beneath the Meije glacier, on the northern edge of the Ecrins national park.

We’re both quite tired today and the journey seemed to take much longer than the predicted 3 hours. This wasn’t helped by almost running out of diesel. John was waiting until we got off the dual carriageways so that it’d be cheaper, but then we couldn’t find a petrol station on the small mountain A roads! This was complicated by it being a French bank holiday… something we hadn’t originally realised… and places being closed. After searching in a couple of small towns, we finally found one that took payment at the pump, and were able to relax again.

Not long after this, we had another drama when the directions on the iPad tried to send us on a small road that wasn’t suitable for the camper van. John wasn’t able to turn round until we’d ascended a long series of steep hairpin bends. Another delay but soon after this, we arrived at La Graves.

We chose to stay on the campsite in the centre of the town, where lots of hikes start. After settling in, we wandered uphill to the town to do some shopping, as we hadn’t been able to do this en route because the supermarkets were closed. We had dinner in a bar in the town, overlooking the glacier, and made plans for the next couple of days. Now we’re having a cup tea, watching a DVD, and we’re going to have an early night so we’re feeling fresh for tomorrow’s hike.

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