Stretching the Legs - A Short Trail Run Along the GR54 / Via Alpina From Vallouise

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Sunday 11 October 2015

Stretching the Legs - A Short Trail Run Along the GR54 / Via Alpina From Vallouise

After a few peaceful days in the quiet of Vallouise in autumn and while Esther was testing her legs on the cycle climb to Puy St Vincent, I decided to stretch my own fell running muscles and head out on a little jaunt along the Via Alpina/  GR54 Tour de Ecrins. Not the whole thing of course since the Via Alpina runs for thousands of kilometres across the entire Alpine mountain range, but just a short section heading westwards out of the village of Vallouise to Entre les Aygues (1604m).

The Via Alpina is an impressive feat for those few hikers who tackle it's entire length, something that we had considered ourselves for future years. However, today I was satisfied just to be heading out on this short section to enjoy autumn on the fringes of the Ecrins National Park. Starting out through the countless apple trees on the outskirts of Vallouise I was soon heading alongside the L'Onde river on muddy tracks covered by fallen leaves.

It was fairly easy going at first, however, after around half an hour I must have taken a wrong turn as I found myself on progressively narrower and narrower tracks up increasingly steep and scree like mountainside. Still, the view of the glaciers and snow topped peaks ahead (more snow appearing every day at the moment) I unwilling to retreat so pushed on (walking for much of the way now just to avoid falling) until emerging on a loose plateau to be confronted by a huge rockslide that had blocked the way. Hmmm, time to turn back I conceded.

Retracing my steps (carefully) I was soon running again and passed the sign  I had missed on my way up marking the GR54 that had crossed the river where I had gone straight on. Still I didn't mind as I'd got plenty of fresh air and a little adenalin as well. Arriving back at Homer I enjoyed a well earned cup of tea and sat down to await Esther's return.

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