Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A grand day out

Clear blue skies and temperatures into the 20s this week, so we were up and out in good time this morning, headed up the Aston Valley from les Cabannes near Tarascon for an appointment with the Crête des Isards. I was determined to do the ridgeline after reading a superb feature about it in 'Ariegeois' magazine back in the summer which promised a spectacular setting and amenable terrain. It did not disappoint.

We had a steep climb up from the Barrage de Laparan but soon emerged into the Rieutord Valley from where the ridge could be seen up to our left, heading away into the distance We headed up the valley and then the climb continued up to the Col de Rieutord
from where we had great views back down the valley on one sideand a spectacular view towards the high mountains bordering Andorra...
.. and the Etangs de Fontargenta on the other
A little further on, we arrived at the Refuge de Ruhle in its spectacular setting. It is currently closed but will reopen for the winter to serve as a base for winter mountaineers and ski tourers who explore the area.The ridge line was without any technical difficulty although the constant ups and downs were tiring on the legs and the pooch was showing signs of fatigue in the heat.The views from the length of the ridge were of course stunning with the Plateau de Beille in the distanceand we even saw some isards which was kind of appropriate somehow!The col in the distance indicated our descent pathIt was a fun run down to the ColThe view back along the ridge was stunning
We were back down at the car after a grand outing of 14kms and 940m of ascent, reaching an altitude of 2400m, which had taken us 4 hours. I was still feeling strong with no major muscle aches or pains, although my legs were obviously tired. It had been a fantastic outing in a spectacular corner of the Ariege. I hope to do more of the same before Winter is upon us! I leave you with a photo of the glorious autumn colours here at the moment


Anne said...

Magnifique !
Je suis jalouse...surtout de la promenade en SHORTS!

penny said...

Il va faire 20+ deg jusqu'au weekend et peut-être mème au-délà - hurrah! Il faut qu'on en profite! L'hiver est déjà arrivé en Suède?

Anne said...

Oui, ici c'est les manteaux depuis début octobre :(. Mais on vient chez vous à Noël histoire de revoir un peu le soleil! Et de vous voir aussi, j'espère!