Day 14: Bousieyas to St. Etienne de Tinée
The GR5 guidebook suggests hiking from Bousieyas to Auron in one day, and on towards Refuge de Longon the next day. However, this would mean two fairly long stages (26 and 31 km). We decided to split it in three (the alternative suggested by the guidebook) and end the first day in St. Étienne de Tinée. This meant a very easy day for us, so we started out on sandals again.
The climb to the Col de la Colombière was gentle and we took our time to take photographs of the dramatic Pas de la Cavale behind us. On the Col we had our first encounter with a patou. Patous are great big fluffly white sheepdogs. The major difference (in looks) between a sheep and patou is the latter’s big teeth. Supposedly, patous are intelligent and loyal and will make guarding sheep their number one priority. This particular specimen decided to chase marmots instead.
The path down from the Col is easy but we still slipped a couple of times on the dry sand (we were still wearing sandals). We had a break in St Dalmas le Selvage where we tried to find the shop. Despite asking for directions multiple times it proved too elusive.
The next col, the forested Col d’Anelle, was quickly and easily reached (still wearing sandals). The descent is nice enough but not spectacular. There were plenty of lizards though and the air smelt of lavender so we felt we were definitely approaching the Mediterranean as we reached St Étienne de Tinée. Still 130 km to go!