Mercantour Roya to Isola2000 – Day 3

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000Mount Mounier and its South ridge  from the Col des Moulines

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000. Day 3 of 5 Crossing the Mercantour National Park.

Low by 1000 kcal

Last evening, the gîte de Roya no longer had diner when I arrived (well, I did not book for this place). They kindly cooked a large omelet with salad for me. Yes, that is far from being enough calories, I am probably running low by 1000kcal for day 2!

Looking close to the map that is in fact over 15km that I have to catch-up today to be on schedule and to be in Isola2000 this evening.

- What time do you want to have breakfast?
- What is the earliest you serve it?
- 6:30AM
- 6:30AM

At least I have a proper breakfast, not too late.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000Leaving Roya before 7AM with a cloudy sky.

Fresh and Clear

By 7:00AM I’m on the trail with a strong motivation. The sky does not look that good and that is another motivation: get as much done as I can, dry.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000Looking back towards Roya and l’Enchastraille.

The temperature is about 10C. Long sleeves are enough to avoid feeling cold and I’ll keep them all day long to be protected from the sun. Indeed, the early clouds disappeared soon and revealed another fabulous blue sky.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000Blue sky and sun rising on the Vallon de Sallevieille.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000Just below Mont Mounier, at the Col de Crousette, facing north.

Long run ’til Longon

Although I go with a good rhythm on the way up to the Col de Croussette, it takes me some time to reach the first high point of the day.

Between le Vallette and the Mont Demant, I come across the regular hikers going to Mont Mounier.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000Famous view from le Valette.

That is also from le Vallette that I tighten the bags and start a long run to the Baisse du Démant, to the Col des Moulines, Above Vignols and across the Portes de Longon. The trail is very favourable to proper running. I am glad I did not try that last night, I would have been much slower and I would have arrived in the night.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000View of the Ravin du Démant.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000Around Col du Refuge, north.

On the East part of the Barre du Démant, I see again some mad sheep trying to climb the ridge following the black one of them and bleating while facing the danger.

At the Portes de Longon that is a patou that I meet, but the animal is far from the flock and quickly goes barking on nearby tourist from the Refuge de Longon :)

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000Magic musheroom? Near the Pierre du Démant.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000Les Vallières above Vignols.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000Portes de Longon.

It is just opposite the valley

When I reach the Col de la Vallette, I decide to avoid any “gardening” for the day and aim direct to Isola village and next to Isola2000. So it is just opposite the valley, but I first need to go down from Col de la Vallette 2184m to Isola village 900m and then go up again to Isola2000 just below 2000m at the higher buildings of the resort.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000It is just opposite the Valley. View of Tête de l’Autaret and Cimes du Lausfer from Col de Vallette.

It is a long way down. I first stop at the cascade of Louch to refresh knees and ankles. Then I take the opportunity of the pause, to have some dehydrated tabbouleh while my feet are drying. First real stop at noon in 3 days.

The clouds accumulating in the valley I am going to climb incite me to shorten the pause.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000View of the village of Isola and the valley to Isola2000.

There are some places you’ve been many times and that you don’t know. Taking the road to Isola2000 by foot is like discovering it again. On my way up I meet several friends that where cycling in the area.

The dark clouds decide to drop less than 1mm of rain in less than 3mn. It was just the time to be under a large tree. I don’t even wear rain protective layers as I had carefully put everything in my bag.

I finally arrive in Isola2000 not that late. I’m really pleased as I managed to be on schedule. And although I have been on road (clearly not the worst to climb), the figures are still significant. Cleaned stats say +2600m/-2200m/47km.

There is no refuge in Isola2000. The bed at the hotel feels incredibly good :) night-night, day 4 is going to be a huge day, from Isola2000 to Refuge de Nice via the end of the valley of Valdieri in Italy.

Mercantour Roya to Isola2000If you like raptors, there is a very large group flying on a short loop between Porte de Longon and Col de Valette.

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