My house is in a valley, and directly opposite, above the Via Ferrata route and rock climbing crag, is a steep mountain face, topped out by a little nubbin known as Pic de l’Aigle, or Peak of the Eagle. I can understand why it got this name, we regularly see golden eagles circling in the area, swooping down for hares or gaining height on the thermals, and the rock itself looks like a perfect place for an eyrie.
|A photo of Pic de l’Aigle (top left) taken from behind the chapel in La Jarjatte
I’ve hiked it a couple of times before and it takes a good half day, but I decided to run it with Eric this morning.
The route starts off with a gentle 2.5km downhill run out of the village and along farmers fields to the neck of the La Jarjatte valley, where you join a logging track. After a couple of hundred metres though you branch off into the forest and get to run up some pretty decent single track.
Even though it doesn’t look hot from the photos, it was quite warm and Eric started to flag. After 45 minutes of finding no water sources I did consider turning back. Its been so dry for so long, and we were running up south-facing slopes there was nowhere to drink from.
Pretty soon though, I could see the top of the tree line, and the bulge of Pic de l’Aigle through the trees.
|Almost at the top
The trees opened up with great views to the valley below, and the village of La Jarjatte. After just an hour of running I was at the Col de la pic de l’Aigle.
|Pic de l’Aigle, with some pretty scummy weather blowing in from the valley to the north.
By this point I’d managed to get Eric to drink from his portable water bowl, and used up the last of my water with him.
The trail moves up behind Pic de l’Aigle, and carries on along the mountain ridge to Montagne de Clairet.
From here it was all downhill, but when you’re tied to a freshly-watered, re-energised Border Collie, this is easier said than done, and I spent the whole 700m descent pulling back on him and trying to not to fly flat on my face.