Friday, June 15, 2012

Massif des Cedres by Vallon de Sanguinette and la Tete de la Baraque

This walk is a variation of the previous “la Tete de la Baraque” walk. You start in the neighbouring valley and enter the narrow Vallon de Sanguinette. This involves getting up a vertical 3 meter high cliff with the help of a rope that is attached on the spot. For those who don’t fancy this, there is a very good alternative path.

Drive up from Lauris and follow signs for the restaurant and Gite d’etape “le Meou”. Pass this and drive on; turn left at the top, but turn left for the Combe de Recoute at the 244 meter point. Drive on to the 265 meter point, where you turn right onto a track road into the Combe de Recoute. Park the car after about 400 meters on the track road.

Continue the track road and you will meet the GR97 after 20 minutes. It’s here the alternative path to the Ceder Forest starts, taking the GR97 right and does the 10 minutes mounting up to the top where the GR continues down into the next valley. Here you see a small path taking left straight north up towards the cliff you see right there (path not on the map). Take this path and it will take you about 30 minutes to reach the top where the dead end of the forest road you see on the map is situated. It will take you only another 4 minutes up to the 580 meter point. The path is marked with citernes after a while and there are no real difficulties, just a bit steep in places. Just follow the forest road all the way up to the 687 meter point, where the path and forest road from the Vallon de Sanguinette comes up from the left (1h 45min).

For the main walk to-day, you enter the Vallon de Sanguinette on the small path that leaves the GR97 on the right just some 500 meters after having joined the GR, or some 30 minutes from the car. It is a clear path all the way, marked with blue spots in places. You will first walk 15 minutes in dens forest before starting to mount up the right hand side of the valley. After another 10 minutes (0h 55min) you will reach the only real obstacle on this route; an almost 3 meter vertical wall, but with a rope provided (fixed on top) and secure places for the boots.

Just a minute after this wall there is a path that takes off to the right. Ignore this and take left, but after only some 10 minutes from the wall, you take the path taking off to the right (1h 05min). It will take a good 15 minutes on this steep path to reach the forest road, which you take going right and north towards the 687 meter point where the 2 alternative routes meet up again (1h 30min).

Continue the forest road the last 300 meters to the main road that goes east-west along Petite Luberon and you enter the Ceder Forest. Take the main road left up to the main barrier (1h 40min). Pass the 708 meter point (signposted for Lauris AND les Portalas), but take the next path to the left (marked for les Portalas only) and walk the 15 minutes out to the magnificent views by the 698 meter point (2h). Walk a bit along the ridge westwards (small path) and you soon see the large whole in the mountain wall sticking out; Tete de la Baraque. Find a nice place to have lunch.

After lunch, you continue the yellow marked path eastwards and down to les Portalas, where you continue straight on east, turning south to join the GR97 again at the water citerne at the 570 meter point (2h 25min). If you had wanted a really secluded place for lunch, you should have headed for the 660 meter mountain top you now see on your left. A small path takes off from the main path and follows the ridge across to the top. Easy walk, only some 10 minutes across to the top.

Now you follow the GR97 back down the valley. When the GR leaves the valley (3h) you simply continue the track road back down to the car (3h 20min).

Basic information:

Duration:        4 hours
Distance:       12 km.
Ascent:           400 m
Difficulty:        Difficult rock, but alternative route (moderate)
Start/finish:    Lauris/Combe de Recoute
Map:               IGN 3142 OT (1cm=250 m)

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