Alas this was our final day. Time to to make the long walk back to the car and begin the journey home. The original plan had been to cross two more passes and spend a final night in a hut before a descent to the car. The difficulty and snow cover rendered that a tough ask and we agreed that we’d just retrace our steps from the first day. I was little disappointed not to continue my planned tour but our new plan gave us chance for a final visit to the wonderful Campoplano and hopefully see some views of the Arrens Valley we’d walked up on that first day. Ample compensation we hoped.
It had clearly been raining through the night and the sky was mix of blue and threatening blacks and greys. It made for some impressive sunlight shots as we ate breakfast, packed and set off from the hut
Campoplana was just as magnificent as before and we made light work of the two stream crossings that took us back towards the short steep climb to the Col de St Martin
Near the top I actually put my waterproofs on as there seemed to be heavy storm approaching. It never amounted to anything and they were soon back in the pack. It was the only time I wore them on the entire trip🙂
On the way up on the first day the last 30 minutes had been entirely on snow. Six days later and the reduction was dramatic. Merely patches now. The spot where I’d filled the bottles for a brew rather than being in middle of a huge snow patch was now in the middle of a boulder field.
The weather seemed to brighten immensely and as hoped we had some wonderful views of the Val D’Arrens that we’d seen nothing of on the way up. Rather than being a repeated walk it was like a brand new route and its a very fine valley and walk
The Lacs de Remoulis looked stunning under the bright sunshine
On that first day we’d walked through what seemed like a wide, flat, grassy meadow that would have been perfect for a picnic had we not been walking in dense, cold fog. You can see it now much better in the image below
It proved to be the case and we had a long, leisurely and final mountain lunch lazing on the grass by a clear, cold, mountain stream. We made a brave attempt to eat the remaining food we had left but we made only the merest impact on our vast supplies
The walk through these meadows in the sunshine was a fitting final memory of the trip. A stunning spot that barely gets a mention in the guidebook
All that was left was the last 3 miles along the track back to the car passing the Lac de Suyen we’d seen nothing of on the way up
And that was that. Back to the car, another night in a local hotel and long drive home via Caen and the ferry to Portsmouth the next day. As a special treat for sticking with the story (and the mid-season break!) you get the bonus of some nice pictures of Portsmouth and the Spinnaker Tower from the ferry
A fantastic trip. Superb walking, amazing weather, stupendous views, some eventful moments and a lot of lessons learned. Great excuse to go back and do it all again🙂