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Vicki’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 12 Aug 2012

Location: Cogne, Gran Paradiso, Italy

MapGran Paradiso is just as scenic 3 weeks on! The flowers are past their best but I saw some edelweiss yesterday, so I couldn't get the song out of my head all the way to the top of the mountain!
I'm camping this time - it's high season in Italy, so there's very little accommodation - was offered a room for 640 euro for 4 nights - far too much! Because Lillaz, where the camp site is, is at over 1600m and in a valley surrounded by mountains, it's cold at night, and in the morning. The sun doesn't get to the camp site till at least 9.30am. But it's nice and warm during the day, although a bit cooler at 3000m!
I've been up 2 peaks over 3000m this time. On Friday I went up Mont Creya, which is 3015m. The views were fantastic and I had to take a 360 degree photo. I stayed at the summit for an hour before reluctantly going down.
On Saturday I climbed Punta Pouset (3046m). I use the word climb deliberately - this was the scariest walk I've done on my own. Despite my book saying the last bit was a "clamber", it was, in fact, at least a grade one scramble. The yellow arrows, which had been prolific and not always necessary all the way up, mysteriously disappeared just when I needed them. So I had to work out a route up, keeping in mind that I had to come down as well. I nearly gave up a couple of times, but trying to remember everything I'd been taught about scrambling, I bravely kept going, trying not to think about what might happen if I fell off, as I was the only one on the mountain. Anyway, I got to the top, which had more fantastic views, but didn't linger. Route finding on the way down was just as difficult, and I had to down-climb several sections. I was quite relieved when I got down off the rocks, but felt a great sense of achievement.
Today I've spent quite a lot of time at the photography shop, where the wifi is. Everything closes from lunch time until late afternoon for the siesta, so I went on a walk to see some waterfalls.
Tomorrow I'm going to Le Puy-en-Velay in the Massif Central area of France - home of the lentil. I've already booked a hotel for 2 nights - it will be great to have a bit of luxury after all the camping I've done. I'm hoping to stay in Beaune again on the way back, then St Omer on Thursday, which is only 40 minutes from Calais.