30°C, hot, sunny, ne wind.
Big climb: through endless pine and beech forest. The walk in was a long steady gradient through forest. A magical fairytale forest filled with strange animal sounds and clouds of butterflies that rise as you walk. Feathery lichens littered the ground and pillows of alpine flowers were in full but tiny bloom. What an enchanted place, intoxicating.
What a big climb too, a long long slog I stopped at the refuge, a wooden hut provided for hikers on stage 1 of the GR20. Three horses waited nearby, untethered. Were they used to bring up supplies for the warden?
From there, I found the trail to the col and thence the summit of Monte Corona, 2,144m. Bolders covered the ground which made for good scrambling. They were solid, made of granite and offered a good grip.
I couldn’t stay at the summit for long, I feared loss of light at end of the descent in a dense forest.
A day of good fortune though. An easy, fast 2 hour descent got me to the road just as light failed. Only then did I need the head-torch. Even my frayed boot-lace held right to the end.