Hello from Montdauphin. We finished the hike today, a day early. We combined two planned short days into one long day and avoided wasting a sunny afternoon sitting in Brunissard, a town with little appeal.
Today we are back in the hotel we stayed in on August 8, the day before we started the walk. Such luxury: towels, bed sheets, a private room! The weather has been very hot, 35 degrees today, and for the last few days the sky has been cloudless. Perhaps a thunderstorm tonight.
Day 10 (August 18) Souliers to refuge Furfande
A good morning climb up to overlook Brunissard, our original destination for the day. We had planned to stretch the day out a little by hiking up to a pretty alpine lake before descending to Brunissard, but after looking at the town (barren ski resort with no charm), we decided to do what most others were doing and press on to Furfande, a refuge we thoroughly enjoyed on our first night. Four quick phone calls and everything was arranged: move the reservations at Frufande and Montdauphin ahead a day, cancel the reservation at Brunissard, and add an extra day in Briançon. A mobile phone is invaluable at times! We did stop in Brunissard for coffee. It was a long, hot hike to the col Furfande at 2500m, but very pretty. Much of it was in the shade, but still hot, and the last 500m to the col was in the sun. Fun evening at the refuge talking with some of the French hikers we had come to know.
Day 11 (August 19) Refuge Furfande to Montdauphin
Goodbyes to everyone at the refuge this morning. Lots of shaking hands, hugs, and good wishes. We felt sad to be starting our last day and leaving new friends behind. We took our time leaving the valley and as we walked over the next col, we talked about what a good hike it had been. I think we will return to walk this again, perhaps with some variations such as the leg that goes into Italy near Mt. Viso.
A long descent to Montdauphin followed, sometimes steep, some of it through forest, but the last few kms on a very hot road. We soaked ourselves at a public fountain in a small town on the way down.
Tomorrow, Monday, we take a 35 minute train ride to Briançon where we will spend two days. Wednesday will be travel: a bus back to Oulx in Italy to catch the TGV to Paris, a short Metro ride in Paris to the gare du Nord, the Thalys high-speed train to Holland, and a local train to Deventer.