Third episode of our roadtrip will be already transiting trough whole France which was the biggest blank spot on our map. We felt in love with France but it also gave us the most sketchy moment of wohle trip.
DAY 21 – FIRST CHILL DAY
It’s raining. After being at bed until 12 we decided to take finally proper chill day. I’m managing it successfully by reading and eating a lot. Lena broke it and went for short hike just to get lost and wet.
DAY 22 – LONELY TRAVELER
In the morning it stopped to rain and it’s pretty warm so we’re packing our climbing gear and headlamps to check those caves of Montesordo properly and try some routes if it’s not gonna rain. That huge cave (Pollera) is really, really huge and sick. It goes steep down forever so we even didn’t explore it whole. Lena seems liking all those climbing spots so it’s time to climb. On first climb of the day she had some struggle but in the end we both made it to the top so we could enjoy breathtaking view on all those massives and valley around us. Routes are here pretty tall and we have just 10 Quickdraws so we have to skip some bolts and that makes it even more interesting. While preparing for second route, one traveler came to us and asked if she can climb with us. We said yes so we could find out that she’s travelling on her bike across alps and many other adventures. All 3 of us climbed 2 more routes and then we said our goodbyes. After climbing we continued with exploring rest of the massive. On one spot we found our loud neighbours and as we came back to Gordi it started to rain… it’s Friday = more and more cars are coming to our camp spot until it’s full on party there which lasted way longer than we’re up…
DAY 23 – NEW BEGINNING
It’s rainy Saturday morning. There is just way too many cars and people coming to the parking lot we’re camping on. It’s time to move again but we’re not ready to leave Italy yet. That’s why we’re just slowly driving along the coast closer to French borders.After shopping and walking trough one city we found out that we’re way too close to France than we would like to be. “Ok we really don’t wanna be there yet. Tomorrow there is nice weather so let’s camp by the beach, take a swim tomorrow and then continue to the France.” And so we did… BUT! Before eating, cleaning, preparing for sleep and all those stuff, we did said our yeses so we’re officially in relationship now. YEEEY
DAY 24 – INTO THE BIG UNKNOWN
Morning was spent by working out on the beach. It’s hard for my head but I wanna give it a go and in the end I ha more fun than I expected. Then short swim in wild sea which was also wilder than I expected. And one of the last things in Italy is to make ourselves ready to leave Italy. So we go to the city to have worst ice cream we had so far in Italy, (Still pretty good tho!) trying out some pastry, have pasta for lunch and close it all with the best best best ice cream I’ve ever had. (I mean like omg so fokin awesome one!) Last stroll on the beach and France, here we go! We knew that we’re parking just one city from France. But even tho we didn’t expect to have border control so early. In the end it goes pretty smooth and after few minutes on highway there was pretty chill second check. We’re curious why they want to see trunk everytime but we’re definitely happy that it went really smooth. After a while we see Monaco (I didn’t have any idea that it’s country and not just city.) Looks like it’s flexing pretty hard. Not bad but nothing for us. Our camping spot for today was chosen for Gorges de Daluis. We decided to go there because the ground and rocks over there are supposed to be red. But no one told us how awesome it’s gonna be. You have no idea how beautiful mountains, canyons and especially views they have in here. We didn’t want to leave the coast but this took our breath away. Why no one told us that France is so gorgeous? For me we’re camping on the nicest spot so far. Night is dark, stars are bright and there is totally no one around.
DAY 25 – THE HIKE
On the parking lot where we’re sleeping there is a map with some info (in french only ofc) and circular 34km hike. That’s the plan for today. Go light, go fast ish and come back to Gordi in one day. So we started, we missed few viewpoints because we couldn’t keep on the right track, we’ve seen one of the most beautiful hikes of our lives and mostly we got stuck right under our parking lot just across the river. The bridge which was supposed to be there was broken for a very long time. So after 30+km we’re stuck in this situation. Step 1 Climb down little canyon, check. Step 2 Put your shoes down, check. Step 3 Get across first stream of the river Var, check. Step 4 Get across second stream of river, no thank you. Too strong and too deep. So we crossed first stream again, put our shoes on again just to try the same on different place. Didn’t work out and especially I’m having really bad feeling in my guts when Lena is trying really strong part of the river. In the end we’re deciding to go along the river to see if it’s gonna be better on different place and if not, we can get to next bridge which is few km down the river. First we have to climb around one turn of river on the side of red, rocky mountain then walk all the way to the bridge. I’m really happy and grateful that Lena, even tired after that hike and in this situation, is still not panicking and trying to fight for us to get back to Gordi. Well, it wasn’t so easy. Of course that literally before the bridge, that fokin river made another fokin turn to cut us off and to make another turn back right away to fokin piss us off… Problem this time is that rock on the side is not red anymore and it’s pretty steep/ you have to climb. It’s getting dark and we have 4 options.
-Call emergency what we really, really don’t wanna do.
-Hike all the way back, climb that little canyon back, hike all the way back on the mountain, go around the mountain in order to cross this bridge. It’s safest but we really don’t wanna do that.
-Another option, more sketchy one is to cross river here which seems on the limit but doable and then climb on the bridge somehow while using pillar of the bridge and maybe some wood laying around. Hard, bit sketchy but I think it’s doable.
-Last option I see, and the one we’re choosing in the end, is to climb that rock and traverse on it somehow on the bridge. There is few grassy parts, but it’s the most sketchy option because of the biggest fall and fall in the river if something goes wrong. Also that we have to climb much higher than the level of the bridge and we don’t know if it’s gonna be possible to get on the bridge after climbing it. Last problem of this plan is that there is simply no way back and we can really get stuck and will have to call emergency to save us… (If we don’t fall into river.)
After some talk we started to climb. Slowly, step by step, ledge to ledge, checkpoint to checkpoint. Tension was high and it made me to focus as hard as I can. The thing is that I like climbing and I’ve been doing some sketchy stuff in the past so I know how my body reacts and that I won’t panic. What I don’t know is how will Lena react and that makes me bit scared. But boi, (gurl) you should see how she rocked it! Her head stayed calm the whole time and I’m so happy for that. I’m so happy that we went climbing so often until now. There is really few girls who would be able to do that and I’m really proud to have one like that around me. So now we’re in safety of falling into the river but still too high above bridge/road leading to it. But we see that we can continue a bit away from the bridge where the drop is not so high. So close. So close to be safe. But in that moment my foot slipped on the wet rock where very little steam is pouring down. I hear *hah* from Lena but I’m able to balance it out. My heart is racing hard, I’m helping Lena to make step over this wet spot and here we are. Just one drop from this little rock, help Lena to climb it down and we’re safe. What was that?! Really one of the most sketchiest moments in my life. Short hike back to safety of our beloved Gordi is full of adrenaline happiness and being high on our bodies. What a day!
DAY 26 – GORGES DU VERDON
It’s hard to open eyes. I don’t feel weak but don’t want to do any movement. Most of the day I feel I didn’t woke up yet and Lena feels it same. We’re moving on to the next city and watching all those sick views of this red canyon and cascades all around again this time from road. Few stops and we can get our water refilled again. This city looks like Wild West and looks completely empty. (It’s lunch break) We’re walking trough and checking the ruins of the castle above. Time to move on again. Time to see another gorge. It’s not red one but it’s the tallest one in Europe. Gorges du Verdon. Another climbing paradise. After crazy shopping we’re making it into the place and it’s madness. Literally madness. Unimaginable. Problem with climbing here is that you’re on top of the wall already and you have to repel all the way down and then… then you just have to make it up otherwise you’re fucked. Or you just do one pitch on top but then you’re hanging fokin high (280m) above the ground. Madness. We’re really tired. Time to find some place to sleep and tomorrow we can see what we can do.
DAY 27 – DAY OFF
Plan for today is to split up and explore our surroundings. I choose to scout out all climbing areas around so we know where it’s gonna be best to go climbing. It’s really lots of them and I feel like I hiked from height of the river, which is deep under level of the road, to pretty high in mountain like, thousand times. I got lost and had to descend some pretty sketchy loose rock parts. In the end I finally found marked trail which goes down to the gorge. You wouldn’t believe who I wound after few minutes of walk. Lena was coming back from walking trough this gorge for the whole time. Even tho it was really hard day for her head I would say that in the end it was pretty good day.
DAY 28 – BEST CLIMBING DAY
It’s finally climbing time! I was looking forward to go climbing so hard. We’re picking up the place which should be challenging for Lena but we decided that she’ll top rope. That was the best decision of the day and she completely smashed some 6a routes. I “warmed up” on those and then I’ve done 2 6b+ routes so I was super happy too. At the end of the day Lena found Grigri, that was the most wtf moment of whole trip. What a day…
DAY 29 – RESCUE MISSION
Plan was easy. “We wake up early, go climb for a little bit, drive and see all nice places round Gorge du Verdun and move somewhere else.” Sooo we woke up bit late + it was raining in the morning. Then we did some climbing training and climbing. There were some people climbing routes we wanted to smash so we moved on different ones. None of us was that strong anymore but anyway I wanted to try to climb last 6b+ I didn’t do here. Well, there was so hard move, I couldn’t do, that I kept taking decent falls while Lena was rocking it hard to keep me alive. I had to give up and leave one “quick link” which I tried to save by climbing easy route and repel to it but it was too far away from me and in overhang = no chance. RIP. We were so tired that we just went to refill water in nearby village that was it for today. Our new camp spot is one parking lot further than where we were staying till now because we didn’t want to have any neighbours. Quite bummer day but lots of adventures so I enjoyed.
DAY 30 – BROKEN HEART
OK, we can finally move on now. We wanna make a loop around Gorge du Verdon again but we choose wrong direction which was dead end. Instead we checked the tallest peak where we watched climbers finishing 300m wall (really impressive) and continued towards our next goal, Pyrenees. After few hours of driving we’ve seen river with so blue colour, I’ve never seen anywhere else. Sun was shining so hard that the only thoughts in our heads were to go take a swim. So we did. I even managed to trim my beard for first time this trip so I don’t look like a mountain animal anymore and we can continue. Next stop was broken heart because we wanted to do grocery shopping at Lidl where we arrived 15min before closing time and they didn’t let us in anymore (+ it was Friday)… So we ordered take away from nearby fast food, moved to close by lake, ate it there and felt asleep.
DAY 31 – NEVER DRIVE ON FRENCH HIGHWAYS
We have planned to meet my shaper friend Franckfrom the last season who was driving bully for us and now lives in Pyrenees. We were thinking that we’re 4 hours away because of yesterday’s driving and that we can easily do it. We were so wrong. Firstly we started quite late, then google showed us more than 5hours of driving. We took wrong junction on highway and when we finally reached 4h mark it jumped back to 5hours and recalculated our route. Then we got hungry so we stopped on the gas station where was supposed to be some restaurant. That restaurant was closed and everything was soo expensive that we rather made small sandwich and continued our journey to learn hard way how fokin expensive those French highways are!!! In the end we made it and met Franck who showed us where to park. Then quick surrounding check because it was raining and time to go sleep.
DAY 32 – ADVENTURES WITH FRANCK
We were ready for a rain because that’s what forecast says for a whole weak so we were nicely surprised by sun drying out local pump track while we were hiking around the lake. So we took longboards and hit it few times. I knew why to take those skate shoes with me. Next adventure was hike to another lake (Lac d’oo) with waterfall which was huge thanks to yesterday’s rain. Then we decided to hike little bit more higher and trough even harder terrain to see another 2 lakes (Lac d’Espingo, Lac Saussat) above that waterfall. We did lot of talks and went back to finally do that grocery shopping where we could buy local cheese. With our bags full and bodies tired we came back to our base camp and cooked diner on the bench next to the lake with the views on nearby mountains until it was dark and we could finally drop totally dead into our beds. What a day and how nice it was to see Franck again. (Thank you Franck!)