DAY 18, CEILLAC to FOUILLOUSE
Ascent: 1496 m
Descent: 1195 m
Distance: 26 km
Time on trail: 6:20 – 16:00
I began the fifth stage uncertain of where to stay the next night. I would not see any campsites so most likely I needed to wild camp at the end of the day.
I followed the river in the valley floor before climbing through another magical forest up to Lac Miroir (2214m).
The lake was equal to its name and mirrored the surrounding peaks beautifully. A perfect spot for breakfast.
After an hour and half I reached another lake, Lac Ste Anne (2415m), two hundred meters higher.
One hour of climbing more and zigzagging steeply up a slope of friable scree and I was at the Col Girardin (2706m). The mountain views were magnificient and the air was still and nicely warm. I stayed a long time at the col, almost falling asleep, being deeply in the moment itself, before I realized I needed to keep going. I had still a long day ahead. Unfortunately no sight of the Flying Dutchman I had hoped to meet on this day too.
A path junction where a narrow path departed to La Barge along the mountainside. From tiny hamlet of La Barge (1875m) began a long, almost two hour road walk towards Fouillouse junction. If it was nicely warm up at the col, down in the valley the air was still and almost unbearably hot.
The road walk got me complitely exhausted and from the junction one had to still climb another 300 vertical meters to reach the village of Fouillouse. For the first time I was really low on energy. My legs were heavy and I had to rest almost every five minutes. The last ascent seemed to last forever. The voice of Rocky was repeating in my mind: “..keep moving forward, how much you can take and KEEP MOVING FORWARD!” and as funny it might sound it gave me energy to fight myself up the hill.
I set my tent a bit further from the village, out of sight. It was perfect and quiet spot although I had again, for the third night in a row, annoying problem with the flies. They were just everywhere and I began to wonder what’s wrong with this area of the Alps?