Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Sainte-Baume: Le Crete, le Saint-Pilon et la Grotte aux Oeufs.

Chapelle Saint Pilon

This walk explores the north eastern face of the long Sainte-Baume Massive (several Caves along the route – bring a lamp) in addition to taking in about 40 minutes along perhaps nicest part of the ridge. The northern side is quite cold (little sun) and wet during the winter season, so I suggest you do this walk outside the winter season. I also strongly suggest you use a GPS aid (preferable with the GPX-file showing the path) in order to find the smaller paths.










La Grotte aux Oeufs.
Dive on to Plan-d’Aups or Nans-les-Pins (whichever is nearest you) and drive on to La Sainte-Baume (le Hotellerie) where parking is easy. The walk starts 200 meters west of the main Café/Restaurant on an unmarked dirt road going straight south. When you reach the 678 meter point, turn right onto the track road going west here. You walk through forest, but after some 500 meters (at the fire hydrant), you turn left and follow up to the water reservoir marked PA5-2. You walk on behind this and around (turning right) and follow the path (passed a small cave) upwards till you reach a main track road (300 m from the reservoir and about 30 minutes from the car).









Grotte Sainte-Marie-Madeleine.
At this main track road, turn left, but after only some 150 meters you take a small path off to the right (uphill – big tree marked with red thick stripe and path marked green). Following the green marks, you should be in front of Grotte aux Oeufs in about 20 minutes from the main track road. We did not enter the cave as it is a very steep and slippery entry.


Continue the path further east (now marked dark blue) for about 500m (about 25 minutes) with great views along the way. Here you see a path taking off to the right (slightly back again). Walk up and have a look. This is the ruins of the house built by
Dalmace MONER in front of a cave. He was an Dominican eremite living in the 14th century. A nice “terrace” in front with a bench and great views.




Le Crete with Montagne de Garlaban behind.
Continue the path going east (now marked brown and red) and you quickly come to the big concrete structure underneath the famous Grotte Sainte-Marie-Madeleine. Walk up on this structure and walk further along till you join the main path (steps) coming up from Hotellerie de la Sainte-Baume. A visit here will take you some 20 minutes in total, involving climbing up some 70 meters to the entry to the massive cave.






Grotte Sainte-Marie-Madeleine.
Back down from the cave you walk downhill for about 200 meters to a large junction. Take the first right here, which is the GR trail to the top of the mountain. You will be at Col du Saint-Pilon (the pass) in about 20 minutes. Here there are lots of places for pick-nicks in the sun (no shade!).


We shall now follow the main mountain ridge westwards on the GR98 or if you prefer right up along the ridge (parallel). You will have Chapelle Saint-Pilon on your right after some 10-15 minutes (take a good look). Leaving the Chapelle, you should be especially observant to find your exit path from the ridge! After some 20 minutes you should see a red and brown circle with an arrow and the text “Pas de la Cabre (Grotte)” painted on a large low stone on your right. You leave the mountain ridge here on this small path marked brown and red.


Le Crete.
This is a very charming small path (not marked on some maps, e.g. IGN maps), but it is not difficult and acts as a balcony route slowly down from the mountain going eastwards (back again). It will eventually join your green and red path from this morning and you will again end up on the big concrete structure straight underneath Grotte Sainte-Marie-Madeleine after some 30 minutes from the mountain ridge.






The view from the car park.
Walk again the some 200 meters downhill to the main junction. This time you walk straight on downhill (yellow markings) and you will be down near a large parking area  at the 677 meter point. To avoid the main road, follow the signpost to the left marked “Hotellerie” all the way back to the car.









Basic information:

Duration:       5h (incl. 1h lunch)
Distance:      9 km.
Ascent:         500m
Difficulty:      Moderate plus
Start/finish:   La Sainte-Baume (le Hotellerie)
Map:             IGN 3245 ET (Aubagne – La Ciotat)



VisoRando Lien.
Pour le fichier GPX, vous pouvez télécharger à partir d'ici (voir ci-dessus) ou mettre à jour via ce lien VisoRando où vous pourrez également voir l'itinéraire sur une bonne carte:


For the GPX-file, you could download from here (see just above) or go to this VisoRando link where you also will see the route on a good map.

If you have problems with this VisoRando link, download the GPX-file from above and import it to VisoRando or other application.


TET:
Bjorn planned for May/June.


Chapelle Saint Pilon with Grotte Sainte-Marie-Madeleine just below.



Friday, March 20, 2020

Les Goudes (Marseille): Sommet de Marseilleveyre (433m), Grotte de Saint-Michel, Col de la Selle, Col de la Galinette and Calanque de Marseilleveyre.



Les Goudes
This is a fantastic mountain walk only some 7 km from the centre of Marseille. Best for winter and out of the hot season (little shade), but to be avoided in high winds and in wet weather. The view as just superb all the way and the 360 degrees views from the top of Marseilleveyre is magnificent. As a bonus you pass the massive Cave de Saint-Michel on the way up. Well worth a visit (15 minutes extra). From early May till almost Christmas time you could also take a refreshing swim at the beach at Calanque de Marseilleveyre on the way back (30 minutes extra for the swim). You could also visit the tiny Port des Croisette and Cap Croisette on the way back to les Goudes (extra 20 minutes all the way out).


Attention: This area is often closed to the public from 1st June till 30th September because of the risk of forest fires. But call 0811 201313 for exact information.



On the way up to Sommet de Marseilleveyre.
You park anywhere near Port des Goudes (no problems out of season) and start the walk up Chemin de la Batterie. This is the Red trail No 1 on the map (marked red in the terrain) and after only 15 minutes you join the GR51-98 trail for a short while further uphill. After only some 5 minutes, the Red No 1 trail leaves the GR trail off to the left (well marked on stone). Some 25 minutes later and much higher up, the red trail joins a yellow marked trail. You want to stay on the yellow trail No 3 (takes off shortly to the right) in order to see the Cave Saint-Michel (5-6 minute’s walk – one way) and you see the massive entrance from far away. It’s a massive big Cave worth visiting for a look (lamp recommended).


You might have noticed that Green trail No. 1 joined your yellow walk on the small hill top before you reached the Cave. To continue the walk you want the joint yellow/green trail back to the hill top, where you want to take off to the right along the Green No 1 trail heading north here. You follow the green trail for about 10 minutes till it joins the red trail, which is the route you want for the top of Mount Marseilleveyre, where you will be in another 40 minutes. This is the main viewpoint and it is quite a large area up there, so easy to find a place for lunch.

Grotte Saint Michel
The way down from the top on the Red 1 path is quite steep and as usual in these parts full of rolling stones. Keep a sturdy foot! The steep path you start on downhill is the joint red, yellow and blue trails. After about 15 minutes downhill, you want to branch out to the right and follow the Blue No 1 trail direct to Col de la Selle, where you will be in about 20 minutes.


It should be noted, however, that if you want to avoid this somewhat airy part of the blue trail, you could stay on the red trail all the way down and at the “bottom” take right onto a yellow trail for the climb back up to Col de la Selle. It is slightly longer, but takes about the same time and is easier walking. The only thing you will miss is keeping the hight (you walk down and up again) and the lovely views along the mountain ridge.


Sommet de Marseilleveyre
At Col de la Selle the walk turns south for the sea, and you will follow Yellow path No 2 (starts off south-west from the Col). Follow this path for about 40 minutes till you see a massive great boulder only a few meters from you on your left just before the hill top marked 149 meters. The trail is marked yellow 2b on old maps, but is no longer marked in the terrain. The path is shown on most free landscape maps, so you find the position with a GPS. Just behind this boulder you will see the path going down steeply, and you follow the steep path down till it joins the green trail No 3 going down the valley below in about 20 minutes. Now you turn right down the green path and you will be on the beach of Calanque de Marseilleveyre in about 5-6 minutes.


Here it should be noted that you could easily avoid the unmarked and steep path down from just before Col de la Galinette (at the big boulder) by taking off from the yellow trail after only some 15 minutes walk from leaving Col de la Selle. Here the Green trail No 3 takes off down into the valley and you will be on the beach in about 30 minutes (20 minutes quicker than on the longer but more scienic route along the yellow trail).





The beach at Calanque de Marseilleveyre
The beach at Calanque de Marseilleveyre is the biggest in these parts and well suited for a swim. The local café serves just coffees or full hot meals (no electricity out here, but nice basic food). The restaurant is not open every day all year around as in the old days, but you could consult their Facebook page for more information: Search for “restaurant chez le belge”.




La Grotte at Callelongue looks like any odd Cafe/Restaurant from the outside.
The main path along the sea (GR51 and Black path 2) will take you to Callelongue in about 45 minutes and the way proposed for getting back to the car will take you another 30 minutes. There is a very nice Café/Restaurant in Callelongue and in les Goudes you will also find places open. Could be well worth delaying the departure home till after rush hours! It’s worth noticing, however, that the drive back to Pertuis only took us 1 hour 10 minutes starting at 17.00 at les Goudes on a Monday in January (using the toll tunnel directly from le PRADO).



Calanque de Callelongue
For the shortest way back to the car (about 30 minutes), you walk out of Callelongue along the main road uphill all the way to the top. You turn left into the parking area here and follow first the highest path for the hill just in front of you. Well before you reach the top, however, get down on the wide path/track road going along the northern side of the hill. Follow this path passed the hill top (great views of the local harbour and Marseille all the way) and where it seems to stop, you walk up a little to join the path going down on the ridge itself in a northern direction.














Les Goudes.
Head for the monument on top of the next hill, but before you get this far you see a narrow path cut out in the rocks taking off to the right. This path takes you directly to the village les Goudes. The path takes you first down to another surfaced path which you take to the right. Very soon you see some stairs going further down directly to the harbour (with a signpost). Take down the stairs and you are soon on the main road going into les Goudes. Follow the main road into les Goude and around back to the car.







Basic information:

Duration:      6h (including 1h for lunch)
Distance:      11 km.
Ascent:         620 m (accumulated)
Difficulty:     Difficult
Start/finish:   Les Goudes or Callelongue (Marseille)
Map:              IGN Les Calanques de Marseille á Cassis (1cm=150 m)



VisoRando Lien.
Pour le fichier GPX, vous pouvez télécharger à partir d'ici (voir ci-dessus) ou mettre à jour via ce lien VisoRando où vous pourrez également voir l'itinéraire sur une bonne carte:

For the GPX-file, you could download from here (see just above) or go to this VisoRando link where you also will see the route on a good map.

If you have problems with this VisoRando link, download the GPX-file from above and import it to VisoRando or other application.



TET:
2019, December, Jacky made a slightly longer walk, but without the coast.



Monday, March 16, 2020

Saint Remy: Mont Gaussier, Pas de l’Aigle and Lac du Peiroou.



Mont Gaussier.
This is a rather special walk for people that likes steep hights and airy views (especially the first part of the walk: Mont Gaussier). It involved quite a few ladders and chains for support, but it’s really no problems for average fit persons.

When you drive south from Saint Remy towards Glanum, don’t park at the carpark on the right (for Glanum), but turn left only some 60 meters before that (signs for the hospital) and park opposite the long hospital walls.

The Roman site "Glanum".
Follow the wall up to the top and turn left, and after only another 100 meters, turn right into the fire road marked off this road (DFCI). It is marked with yellow makers and you follow these markers passed the Glanum site (Roman ruines) and further, scattered with boards explaining the botanics of trees and flowers. About 20 minutes from the car, you have an “opening” with a large metal board on display on your right. The heading reads “Sentiere des echelles du Mont Gaussier” and you have a map. You are standing right where the blue footpath starts off, so if anyone in the party don’t fancy ladders and chains or vertiginous passages, they could just continue the forest road they are currently following (yellow markers all the way up) and stop and wait for the others to join them when they reach the tarmac road that goes along the crest on top.

Mont Gaussier has been closed for quite a few years because it became unsafe. I used to use the old path years back, but around 2017-2018 a new shorter version of the path has been constructed equipped with modern ladders and chains. Just follow the marked path all along and when you get close to the top of Mont Gaussier, there is a small path (unmarked) that could take you up and down to a platform just below the summit. Eventually, the blue path takes you back up to the main crest (keep left  in two junctions) and will eventually end up on the tarmac road going along the crest on top, only some 100 meters further west from where the yellow marked road meets the same road.

The direct route up to the point where the yellow path meets the tarmac road takes about 45 minutes from the car. The yellow markers here says “Site Antique de Glanum  2,4km” back to where the yellow forest road came up. It will take longer for the group that passes Mont Gaussier to reach this point, probably another 30 minutes. But it is a nice place to take a brake with good views in most directions.


This particular spot is important also because it’s here you leave the yellow markers (at least for a while) to go straight for the “Rocher des Deux Trous” (cliff with two holes). You see the steep footpath starting off from this junction in eastern direction between the yellow forest road coming up from Glanum and the tarmac road going south east. Take this path and you will be over at the site of the 2 holes in about 15 minutes. You can walk all the way out to the holes.




Rocher des Deux Trous.
To join the tarmac road again, take the main path going south and you will be joining the road in only about 5 minutes. Here you take left and follow the tarmac road eastwards up towards the big tower. Follow the road uphill, but at the first left turning, I suggest you take the shortcut you see on your right. The small path will take you quicker straight to the point where you face the huge telecommunication tower and you meet up with the tarmac road again (30 minutes after leaving the 2 holes). Just across the road here, you see a white and red painted marker on a large rock. You take this trail across Plateau de la Caume.

Along the Crest.
When you are getting close to the next antenna (a lot smaller), you could follow the GR route (white & red markers) around the antenna, or simply take the short cut to the right just before you get to the antenna. You will again joint the GR route along the crest on the other side. You will very soon be at the place called “Pas de l’Aigle”, but continue along the crest to the next major “bump” in the ridge about 20 minutes after “Pas de l’Aigle” or about 30 minutes after the last antenna. At the bottom of this “bump”, you see a small footpath taking off to the right down the valley. You want to take this path back down from the crest.

On the south side of the Crest.
It only takes some 10 minutes to get down to the system of roads and paths that goes along here at the 252 meter point. Here you you start off to the right and just follow through the left turn. Here you take the path taking off to the right just after the turn, going west. You will shortly join another road which you take to the right and then follow around to the left. At the 294 meter point, you could take the short cut going down avoiding a large curve on the road. At the 313 meter point (30 minutes after coming down) you could do the same thing, and take the path that goes down just before the barrier on the road. Just follow the forest road all the way across to the 251 meter point (another 25 minutes). Here you leave the main forest road, but make sure you take the forest road only slightly more to the left, going slightly down. This route should take you back to the tarmac road at the 236 meter point in about 20 minutes.

Lac du Peiroou.
Take left on the tarmac road and you will be at a big parking in less than 10 minutes. Here you cross straight over the main road (be careful: fast traffic) and continue the GR6 (red & white markers) about 200 meters southwards, but do not take the GR down into the valley. I suggest you walk another 100 meters and take right here instead. This gives you more views and sun shine, and you will soon join up with the GR6 further down. In about 30 minutes from the big parking, you will be at the small lake called “Lac du Peiroou”. Nice place for a break.

Lac du Peiroou.
The way back to the car via Glanum is about 35 minutes, depending on the possible waiting time for the steep climb up from the lake with the help of a fixed chain. But just follow the GR6 along the right side of the lake and after the climb through the big whole aided by chains, you continue the GR all along to Glanum, where you again follow sign for the Hospital where the car is parked.





Basic information:

Duration:       6h
Distance:      14 km.
Ascent:         550 m
Difficulty:      Moderate (steep cliffs and ladders/chains)
Start/finish:   St. Remy, by the hospital opposite Glanum
Map:             IGN 3042 OT  Tarascon.






VisoRando Lien.
Pour le fichier GPX, vous pouvez télécharger à partir d'ici (voir ci-dessus) ou mettre à jour via ce lien VisoRando où vous pourrez également voir l'itinéraire sur une bonne carte:


For the GPX-file, you could download from here (see just above) or go to this VisoRando link where you also will see the route on a good map.

If you have problems with this VisoRando link, download the GPX-file from above and import it to VisoRando or other application.


Climb just after lac du Peiroou.

TET:
April 2020: Guy satt opp på mindre runde, men alle "sites" bortsett fra selve "le Crete".

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Cucuron: Autour de Cucuron et la Boissiere.

Cucuron.

This is a local walk around Cucuron, starting with Chapelle de l’Hermitage with great views. Afterwards the walks go eastwards on the GR9 trail in direction of Cabrieres d’Aigues, but you take off this trail down passed the old ruins of la Reynaude. You continue further down south passed la Boissieres and finally arriving at Galon before you enter Cucuron again along the vineyards.




Montagne Saint Victoir.
You start the walk from the bottom of the l’Etang (parking area in here on the right) and follow signs for Vaugines. You take off left from this route fairly soon onto the vineyard route (wrought iron signs). Take right, however, from this route at the end of the first fields and you will soon be up at the main road between Cucuron and Vaugines at Guet. Go straight across this road and further north onto the little road that takes off here. You will soon see la Chapelle l’Hermitage in the distant hill and you will be up there in about 40 minutes from l’Etang de Cucuron.


You pass by the Chapelle (either side) and continue the forest track road on the back. In about 15-20 minutes you will be on the 530 meter point where you meet up with the main forest fire road (GL-31) going all the way up to Mourre Negre. Just across this road, however, you see the red & white GR markers on a path going into the woods here for la Tuiliere (the GR route comes along the road from Cucuron and turns right here). You want to take this path in order to join the old road between Aix and Apt at la Tuiliere (Chemin d’Apt).


Follow the GR markings up to the next yellow signpost at Vallon de la Fayette, where the GR route take off to the right for Cabrieres d’Aigues. You arrive here about 40 minutes after leaving la Chapelle l’Hermitage and you take right here for “Cabrieres d’Aigues”. You stay on the GR trail for about 30 minutes. At the 763 meter point where the path takes a 270 degrees turning to the left in a rocky climb, you see a good path taking off down to your right. Take this path and after 15 minutes you come to a small opening suitable for a lunch.


At the 577 meter point, after about 1,7km from the GR trail you are in the vicinity of the ruins of la Reynaude (a smaller path takes off to the left and the ruins is only 100 meters further down). But there is not much to see now. The ruins are almost completely taken over by vegetation, so I suggest you just continue on the main path.


About 25 minutes after the ruins, the path ends up on a track road which you will follow for another 10 minutes until you turn left onto another track road further down. After only less than 5 minutes, however, at the 421 meter point, you turn right off this road onto another track road going straight south (turning off in a small hill). A good 15 minutes later you should end up crossing the main road between Cucuron and Cabrieres d’Aigues at the 377 meter point.


You cross the main road and go directly onto the small road on the other side. The road passes 2 houses (good distance) and continues south till it meets up with the extension of Chemin de Galon, another small track road that goes straight back in to Cucuron. You will be walking along some private fields, but keep to the edges and you will be ok.



Mourre Negre.
When you get to the end of the track road (what I called the extension of Chemin de Galon) you will be at the 345 meter point (Galon), where 5 roads meet. Instead of going straight ahead on Chemin Galon, I suggest you take the second left turning and walk down 200 meters till you see a nice track road taking off to the right leading you straight to Cucuron along the vineyards.


When you reach Cucuron, go straight across the main road and into the village here. This little road will take you up to the Church and just continue through the village till you come out at the other side; at the l’Etang.







Basic information:

Duration:       6h (incl. 1h lunch)
Distance:      16 km.
Ascent:         450 m
Difficulty:      Moderate
Start/finish:   Cucuron
Map:             IGN 3243 OT (1cm=250 m)







VisoRando Lien.
Pour le fichier GPX, vous pouvez télécharger à partir d'ici (voir ci-dessus) ou mettre à jour via ce lien VisoRando où vous pourrez également voir l'itinéraire sur une bonne carte:

For the GPX-file, you could download from here (see just above) or go to this VisoRando link where you also will see the route on a good map.

If you have problems with this VisoRando link, download the GPX-file from above and import it to VisoRando or other application.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Cucuron: Mourre Negre (1125m)

Etang, Cucuron.

This is a great walk on days with mistral winds or if you want to stay away from the sun. But don’t try it first time on a hot day. Mourre Negre is the highest peak in the Luberon and its situated just north of Cucuron. This walk takes you first up to the lovely Chapelle l’Hermitage where you enjoy good views of the Durance Valley and later views of the Luberon on your way just after the Chapelle. A bit further up I have opted for the old road between Aix and Apt for the climb to the top. Just before the top, however, we take the route to the right in order to arrive on the pass just 500m south of the peak in about 2 ½ -3 hours from Cucuron. This is a great place for lunch. For the route back I propose a combination of the forest fire road (fantastic views all the way) and a final shortcut through the woods strait to Cucuron.


Chapelle de l'Hermitage.
We start off from the Cucuron l’Etang (parking on the right at the end of the basin). At the end of the Etang, you follow the yellow signpost for Chapelle l’Hermitage up the steep road passed the village school. Take left just after passing the school and continue following the yellow markings all the way up to the Chapelle, where you will be in about 30 minutes.


You pass by the Chapelle (either side) and continue the forest track road on the back. In about 15 minutes you will be on the 530 meter point where you meet up with the main forest fire road (GL-31) going all the way up to Mourre Negre. Just across this road, however, you see the red & white GR markers on a path going into the woods here for la Tuiliere (the GR route comes along the road from Cucuron and turns right here). You want to take this path in order to join the old road between Aix and Apt at la Tuiliere (Chemin d’Apt).


Mourre Negre
It is at la Tuiliere the real climb starts, but for the time being just follow the GR markings up to the next yellow signpost at Vallon de la Fayette, where the GR route take off to the right for Cabrieres d’Aigues. You arrive here about 30 minutes after leaving la Chapelle and you have another 40 minutes climb along this track road to the place where the yellow markings leaves the road off to the left. You do not want this; just continue the track road for another 5 minutes (350m) and take right here up another track road. This track takes a south-eastern direction and after another 30 minutes you will be at a big pass at about 1060 meters, in between the two peaks at 1111m and 1084m, both just south of Mourre Negre.


Here is fine spot to lunch if you don’t insist on lunching on Mourre Negre proper (not a very nice place with its antenna). You could also find shelter from the wind here. If you really want to explore this mountain more before moving on, walk up on the 1084 meter peak for a really secluded lunch setting.


Chemin d'Apt.
For the route back to Cucuron, I suggest you walk straight north towards the peak of Mourre Negre. You first pass the smaller 1111 peak but in about 10 minutes north of the pass, you will be down from the 1111 peak and looking up towards Mourre Negre. Here you see a track route taking off at an angle to the left. I suggest you take this and at the top here (you have now Mourre Negre to your right), you follow a path further along the ridge in a northern direction (later turning north-west) and you will be down on the Ridge Road at Jas Bremond (1006m point) in less than 20 minutes.


Montagne Saint Victoire.
You could now follow the GR-markings along the ridge westwards or simply follow the road the 1.3 km distance down to the l’Amourralhadou pass at 953 meters. Here you take big forest fire road to your left down the side of the valley. The about 5km on this road down to the citern (water reservoir) in the 360 degrees turning at the 627 meter point will probably take some 1h 15m.


At the citern, you could continue the road all the way to Cucuron (direct or via la Capelle l’Hermitage) or you could take off to the right here in the 360 degrees turning and take a small forest path further down through the woods and save 30 minutes’ walk. (The GPX-file takes this path.)


Mourre Negre.
Leaving the forest fire road here at the Citerne, you start on a fairly large path going down to the 582 meter point, where you will see a cairn on your left. This is the path that will take you to Cucuron in about one hour. You take the small forest path going off to the left here and continue this path for quite a while. You will pass 2 ruins of old houses on your way before meeting up with the main path at the bottom of the valley. Now take right and follow the path along the bottom of the valley till it reaches a surfaced road. You go straight across the road and continue the path on the other side till you are down on another surfaced road. Take left here and follow the yellow and GR markers to Cucuron.







Basic information:

Duration:       7h (incl. 1h lunch)
Distance:      17,5 km.
Ascent:         790 m
Difficulty:      Moderate (but exhausting climb for 2h)
Start/finish:   Cucuron
Map:             IGN 3243 OT (1cm=250 m)





VisoRando Lien.
Pour le fichier GPX, vous pouvez télécharger à partir d'ici (voir ci-dessus) ou mettre à jour via ce lien VisoRando où vous pourrez également voir l'itinéraire sur une bonne carte:


For the GPX-file, you could download from here (see just above) or go to this VisoRando link where you also will see the route on a good map.

If you have problems with this VisoRando link, download the GPX-file from above and import it to VisoRando or other application.




Ruines.