Queyras day 7 (Aug 15) Ref la Monta to Abriès
A 900m climb from refuge la Monta in the Guil valley to a panoramic summit, a ridge walk along the Collette de Gilly, and an easy descent to the small town of Abriès, in the same valley, about 80m lower than we started, all in fine sunny weather. A very good day.
Queyras day 8 (Aug 16) Abriès to les Fonts de Cervières
A harder but more rewarding day. Like most days on this part of the trip, the day is a climb to a col from a village in the valley, then down to another village. This day was a 1300m climb and an 800m descent. The climb was a good grade for most of the way and for the first part of the day, we were in the shade. A bit steeper climb took us to lovely mountain lake and then a stiff climb to the col. The descent was lovely, following a stream, and we had a long break soaking our feet in the icy water. Les Fonts de Cervières is a tiny hamlet with cows wandering the dirt streets, but it has road access and a busy gîte doing a good lunchtime and afternoon trade. We encountered a group doing a tour on horseback, one in full western dress (see the photos). The weather continues warm and sunny
Queyras day 9 (Aug 17) les Fonts de Cervières to Souliers
Another up and down, but a short and easy day. Again, good weather and lovely country.
Some random thoughts on this part of the trip:
They are all French
Almost everyone hiking here is French. There are almost no foreign tourists. We have met one couple from the UK, two Germans, and Inge overheard a couple speaking Dutch. We have seen a few Belgian and Swiss license plates, but the vast majority are French. The Queyras is unknown outside of France and we would not know it if we had not walked the GR5 last year. Everyone is friendly and we have become friends with a number of French people walking the same route. At dinner we have great conversations in our bad French and their English. No language problems.
French hikers do lunch
Unlike hikers at home who gobble lunch and press on, the French hikers find a shady spot and settle down for an hour of food and laughter. A French family arrived a bit late at the gîte yesterday after falling asleep at lunch on the trail.
French families do things together
Imagine taking young children hiking for a week and having them love it. Imagine a couple going hiking for a week with their adult children and a the boyfriend of one of the children. They eat together, chatter, laugh and enjoy each other.
Grasshoppers, flowers, butterflies and marmots get lots of attention
Walking on rocky trails, you look at your feet a lot. The insects and flora get close inspection. The brilliant green grasshoppers are everywhere and from time to time you walk through a bunch of butterflies feasting on something and suddenly they are all around you. It is silent here except for the sound of the wind and the constant whistling of the marmots. They are busy creatures standing alert, whistling to each other at the approach of hikers, scurrying through the grass and disappearing into their burrows. Some caution is needed walking off the trail as marmot burrow holes are everywhere in the alpine.