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February so far in the Forces-of-Nature Diaries
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Member#: 6644
Registered: 27-05-2007
Diary Entries: 1646

8th February 2018
Hiking - Walking:  Ski Station to the Summet de Lure
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Weather: sunny
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Distance Covered: 5 miles (Nautical Miles - unless stated otherwise)

Wednesday 7th February Ė travel Ė low cloud and cold with sun late.

Another good night in the van colder outside apparently but we didnít notice any difference :) Our plans were scotched when we pulled back the curtain and couldnít see across the carpark here in Margeriaz. So, no snowshoeing today:( Still a few cars and coaches were turning up to ski but who in their right mind would go up the mountain when you canít see your hand in front of your face? not us thatís for sure! It was minus 2 when we left the carpark just as some workmen had put up a sign reserving our bay for campervans so they must have thought we had the best idea :) It was very icy and the trees were thick with frost, just beautiful. The visibility improved slightly as we headed down the mountain but itís a shame you couldnít see the majestic beauty that surrounded us! A quick Lidl stop in Chambery then as we had a vague plan to try a couple of ski resorts near Grenoble we headed there. We found a place to park by the River Isere right under the four-bubble cable car and the weather was foul - very cold, cloudy and windy, even the one-legged pigeon on the wall nearby was not impressed! Things improved after a cheese baguette and we checked the local forecast to see if it was worth heading up the mountain here. Sadly, the coming week is looking very changeable with cloud and light snow and very cold all day so we looked at the map and decided to head south to Sisteron on the road to Nice. We were here in the summer of 2016 and loved it. We set the sat-nav to get out of Grenoble but quickly found a sign as we passed loads of high blocks of flats with trams running down wide boulevards. We even used a short section of toll for 6 Euros and managed to get a quick glimpse of another past favourite, Lac Monteynard. The scenery continues to be stunning from trees still thick with frost as we crossed high Cols to mile after mile of stark apple trees, the sun even came out as we headed south making everything even prettier:) We followed the River le Buech all the way to Sisteron and after a bit of a detour we found our place near the now empty Plan de Eau a man-made pool we swam in on our last visit! It is quite windy but the forecast for the area is looking promising so we might try and find some more snow before we continue to the coast. We have the carpark to ourselves with the impressive castle floodlit on the hill:)

Thursday 8th February Ė walk ***** Ski Station to the Summet de Lure Ė sunny :)

Yet another quiet night in the carpark by the Plan de Eau in Sisteron with its magnificent Citadel as a backdrop. Woke to clear blue skies so decided to head up to a small ski resort in the Montagne de Lure a place we have been to before but for the life of us could not remember!! Thatís 860 nights in the van for you, you just canít remember them all! We definitely have got a small oil leak in the engine so will have to keep an eye on that:( We took the first right out of Sisteron the way we went before but were not convinced it would be open and after a few wonderful miles following another rocky river with lavender fields all around. We got to the left turn we needed up into the mountains and it was Ferme! Luckily it was only a few miles back before we could take another lovely road up with hardly a car on the road. At St Etienne les Orgues we turned right up the windy mountain road and when we reached a dirt road to the Abbey de Lure we realised where we were! When we came before we first walked to the Cairn 2000, then spent the night at the Summet before I biked down the next day! On reaching the tiny ski resort boasting one drag lift which was closed due to lack of snow we ran out of road as it was blocked by snow! A few cars had parked with people walking, snowshoes and ski touring so we parked up, packed a picnic and as it is only 3 km to the summet we decided to walk up. We didnít bother with the snowshoes because the snow wasnít very deep and we followed the road which is covered in snow but compressed by service vehicles to the radio masts at the top. The road winds and winds up and down and round and round and is miles further than 3k but it was a beautiful day and the gradient kind so we continued seeing a few walkers on the way. It took us the best part of an hour and a half to get to the carpark we stopped last time! You then turn away from the summet through a forest of rock cairns, a bit like mountain littering really but a nice spot for our picnic:) Refreshed we were left with the steepest climb to the top but it was worth as it offers stunning views including the huge Southern Alps and Mont Ventoux! We could then take the footpath marked by large wooden posts past the radio masts walking up and down on snow, ice and scree with a steep drop off to the left! We stopped at a table of orientation for our chocolate bar and a banana before heading a bit off piste down meeting the path again and back to the van. We thought about stopping here for the night but there were caged dogs barking at the restaurant so we drove down the mountain a mile or so and found a nice spot in the trees and were treated to a lovely sunset as we read and dozed after a cuppa and cake, absolutely knackered as we were out 3hrs 35mins covering 5 miles in the snow starting at 5220 feet and climbing to nearly 6000 feet! Perhaps a more relaxing day tomorrow, head over to Mont Ventoux and see if the road is open?

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