Here’s Martin’s diary record for Stage 2:
Monday 27 August 2007
Up at 7.15 (apart from mid night escapades) and after a good breakfast we leave the refuge at 8.30 on Stage 2 of Kev Reynolds' Vanoise route. Soon down to the start of yesterday's nature trail, and then into woods high above Modane for a gradual 400 metre ascent above the valley, where cars trundle like toys below and a helicopter wheels overhead.
It's a hot day, but it's some time before we emerge from the cooler environs of the trees, having risen from 1880 to 2270 metres. We enjoy a welcome break - 10.00-15, with superb views south, before continuing to reach Col du Barbier at 10.50, where we enjoyed a 40 minute brew stop in the heat.
We got good views of the Aussois Valley.
From here we had superb views of La Dent Parrachée (3697m). This mountain created some cloud today - the only local cloud.
As we headed along the superb belvedere path and descended to the head of two lakes, both Richard and Andrew began to flag in the heat. To their rescue came the Refuge La Fournache.
We sat inside ("for the heat") and enjoyed ham salads and an omelette, with some (sheep's?) goat's cheese yogurt. 1.30 to 2.30.
From here a short 30 minute stroll led to Refuge du Plan Sec.
A place converted into a refuge from three farm buildings. All very tasteful. We soon get installed, showered, and the washing dries quickly in the sun. My crocs have a mishap, as a strap staple goes missing. I have to improvise with one of Jenny's hairgrips* (*yes, I have brought enough to spare!!! - Jenny). And, what with sitting in the sun, chatting to an English teacher from Paris, and watching a sad pair of lads fumble their way off the hill, whilst an assortment of others come and go, the four hours to dinner soon pass.
Pre dinner: 1664
Asparagus ('mountain vegetable') soup with croutons
Pork fillet in sauce with garlic potatoes and ratatouille
Ice cream (vienneta) + fruit cake and cream
1.5 litres red wine
- Quite a few people seen today, even a couple of English on GR5, but only about 20 staying at the refuge
- Marmots seen today - fat ones - kept popping into holes
- Birds of prey near Plan Sec
- Unfriendly guardian at Fournache
- Nice at Plan Sec
- Good streams at head of valley
- Interesting shower with unstable temperatures (esp for whingeing Martin)
Full moon lights the way to the toilets.
[Stats: 8.30 to 3.00 including 2 hours stops = 4.5 hours, 11.0 km, 700 metres ascent.]
(Anquet: 13 km, 1200 m ascent)