Distance: 14 km (Cum: 722 km)
Ascent: 440 metres (Cum: 41,810 metres)
Time taken: 5.75 hrs including 1.0 hrs stops
Weather: hot and sunny
As acknowledged in yesterday's comments, today's path was more 'HRP' than 'GR10' in nature, featuring some steep and very bouldery sections.
There were several campers dotted around the refuge, one group with its resident donkey.
Leaving at 8am, I was well behind Pierre and Yolaine, who had been despatched early on an important mission.
On another glorious day I picked up a phone signal after half an hour, on Col des Calmettes (2318 metres) and enjoyed reading Humphrey's comment (see my reply on the day in question) and hearing about Graham's successful journey home. It's good to receive comments etc when you are on your own - I like it anyway.
There wasn't a soul about until I reached the valley leading into Mérens, just P&Y's fresh prints across the occasional snow gullies. Here, someone had been along the route with a shovel in order to open the path to those without winter equipment. There were also lots of small cairns marking the way where the painted waymarks were sparse. I expect someone has the job of rebuilding these cairns every spring. There were other signs of footpath maintenance on this path that isn't shown on my 1993 map, though it is shown on my 2001 map that overlaps this section.
I didn't hurry. There was no need, and the undulating sometimes bouldery, sometimes sheep track path, all through clumps of Alpenrose, was certainly not conducive to hurrying.
On the way to the high point of the day, Crête de la Lhasse (2439 metres), a huge meadow of pale yellow pasque flowers concealed some shrieking marmots.
After another break to admire the views, I descended steeply past Asphodel and through scratchy Broom to the valley, where people were walking up to Étang de Comte from a nearby car park.
The long hot descent brought about a skinned toe and a nosebleed. Minor annoyances.
Once in Mérens, with my map open on the wrong page, I fumbled about looking for the gite, eventually finding it with the help of P&Y who zoomed past on their mission. It's exactly where marked on my newer map, about a kilometre out of town.
I was there by 1.30pm. Time for a relaxing afternoon, in lieu of a rest day, a feature of the trip that has become a bit sparse!
'Chilling' isn't the right description, as it's 32°C in the shade and the breeze.
Today's photos show a couple of 'GR10 friends' - the frequent signposting, and the regular provision of fresh, cold water.
Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary