Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Tuesday 4 September 2012 - GR54 Day 4 - Refuge de l'Alpe de Villar d'Arene (2077m) to Monêtier-les-Bains (1495m)

Approx 13 km with 400 metres ascent, in 4 hours 40 minutes including breaks totalling 1 hour.

Stale bread featured in today's breakfast menu at the Refuge (pictured - top), but never mind, we fuelled up sufficiently to reach the welcoming coffee stop provided by Chez Finette in Le Casset, and filling crepes for lunch in Monetier.

Yesterday's mizzle had just about subsided by the time we set off at 8.30 this morning, but the summits were still in cloud and a degree of protective clothing was in order by the time we reached our high point of the day, Col d'Arsine (2340m) an hour later. On a good day the short walk up to the Lac du Glacier d'Arsine from here may be a worthy diversion, but in today's dull weather there was no great enthusiasm for that.

The descent to Lac de la Douche saw another walker hurry past us whilst marmots scurried for their burrows, chamois viewed us cautiously from afar, and dippers hunted in the streams and pools (pictured - middle) that bordered the path.

On a less cloudy day the Cirque d'Arsine would have provided a stunning backdrop to this descent. Today a shepherd and two large white dogs (patou - a Tibetan breed) typical of the area were tending a large herd of sheep, some of which had very young lambs.

We followed the milky waters of the Petit Tabuc stream as they gathered volume and the path widened as it entered woodland. Some day walkers were encountered on the approach to Le Casset - there are a few people out and about, if not doing a hutting route like ours.

An easy stroll beside the river delivered us to Monêtier in time for lunch after a short wander around the village.

A lazy afternoon followed, in our spacious room for five at gite Le Flourou, from the window of which the bottom picture was taken.

Thanks again for your comments, hopefully some sunnier pictures will follow over the next few days.

Later, after an excellent meal despite the polenta, we can confirm this gite is, as described by Kev, very friendly, and unlike last night's (albeit friendly) refuge they have taken the trouble to light a fire.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

3 comments:

Chrissy Brand said...

What an amazing undertaking...really enjoyed reading about it.

afootinthehills said...

Martin - are the patou dogs used to protect the flock from wolves or are they used for some other purpose.

Phreerunner said...

Correct, Gibson, they protect the flock from wolves (we didn't see any wolves).