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- Hove UK
- T5 SE 180 4Motion
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This track is the dogs! One of the best for breathtaking views and general feeling of wow! Even though only 14km long I loaded up with food and extra water and spent 11 days there. Would stay 2 or 3 nights in each place. Climb a peak and watch every sunrise. Explore the interesting trails everywhere some leading into other gob smacking valleys. Few world war bunkers and buildings. Fair bit of wildlife too from massive eagles wooshing close overhead to the most joyful little Pine Martens. Discovered the dog to be a most useful tool for wildlife spotting, when he is fixated on a distant slope just stand behind him, line up with his long nose then look through the binoculars, was a winner every time! I just love it here. It's my place to reboot, clear my head and truly relax. Track a bit bumpy in places with some big old dips. I can't remember if anything impassable to 2wd but it would really depend on tyres and skill level. Would not recommend for first time on tracks. Even the approach road to the south east is not for the faint hearted. Enjoy...
Thank you, really appreciate the appreciation. I have been very lucky with the weather for years in September as rarely has it rained. What caught me out this year was a really cold snap in my first week. Had not taken thick enough gloves to use the bike and then got worried when it started to snow heavy one evening 2500m up.... what if I get stranded... for the winter! Thankfully it soon passed and dug the shorts out.Great pictures, thanks for sharing. That's the way to enrich this nice forum.
You were very lucky with the weather, that can change very quick in these Alpine regions. When these unpaved roads get wet, I can imagine that even a 4x4 WD will be slip sliding away soon.
Which maps do you use? Print or offline digital?
(On Open Street Maps it's hardly possible to see the difference between a driveable piste usable for cars and a walking trail.)
Regards from Amsterdam,
Thank you again. Yes there are quite a few dotted around. There is also a carpark at both ends of this track so a great place to go even if just to explore on foot or bike. Nice spot to stop just off the road going out north too...This one seems to end very close to an Agriturismo? Anyway, here is track no.5 as a .gpx file:
And another .gpx-file:https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/4...@44.521815,6.6067763,13.66z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e0
Went E to W. Once above the tree line this was mostly first gear all the way up. Quite bumpy and narrow in a few places with exposed rocks poking up out the ground. It started to get more and more challenging higher up when at times it seemed rocks were coming at you from both sides and underneath all at the same time. I did find sections of this track mentally tiring. Even though I was going very slow the level of concentration needed was quite intense. So much scanning of whats coming up from far to near with lots of calculations working out if I can do it and how can I do it. But totally worth it!
On finding a place to pull over I got on the bike to see what lay ahead. Not far up was a tunnel (du Parpaillon) so while there I rode through to see where it goes and is it worth driving up to. The view out the other end was just wow and the track on the other side seemed easy by comparison. So yes it was.
I stayed 2 nights where I'd pulled off the track and loved every moment. It was really warm in the day, did nice walks / climbs with Boz (the dog), amazingly clear star filled night sky, great views and also interesting chatting to many of the 4x4ers and mountain bikers who stopped to take in the view.
Driving through the tunnel was quite a buzz too as have never come across such a long tunnel on a track before. Having cycled through it twice (without lights) a couple of days before I was also surprised to see all the icicles. The track down was relatively easy with some really nice places to camp. Will come again and explore further for sure. Then it was down to Lac de Serre-Poncon for a swim and a cosy warm nights sleep before starting the long but relaxed journey back home.
I know this part of the mountain very well, and have crossed the Parpaillon tunnel on foot and by bike, but not yet in California.As a 2 wheel driver I restrict myself to an impression of the Tunnel de Parpaillon on YT:
At the end of the clip it looks like falling off the earth.
Regards from Amsterdam,
Hello Wesel, it was indeed challenging coming up from the South. A lots of loose rocks to avoid. Even got out a couple of times to move some out of the way. Did check my tyres before heading back on the fast roads and found a few small cuts to the tread but they were all all on the same tyre. It was also the tyre that has been wearing the quickest according to my last service at VW. Perhaps that one tyre comes from a different batch that was just a little on the soft side. Plan on fitting a harder compound next time to see if it helps.I know this part of the mountain very well, and have crossed the Parpaillon tunnel on foot and by bike, but not yet in California.
What seems to me the most critical for California is not the crossing of the tunnel, but the climb to the Parpaillon coming from the South. Many very bad pebbles that have to be tiresome for the tires?
Absolutely awesome Steve, incredible routes and photos!
Without doubt the best post I've seen on this forum, sums up exactly what the Cali is all about.
No wonder you want to beef your suspension a tadge!
Did get some surprise from the serious 4x4's who had treked all the way up the mountain only to find a Cali parked up the top with a BBQ on the go and me sipping wine with my feet up on a foot stool. Give it a go... just take it very slow. It'll be a memory never to be forgotten.
As requested some pics from 5 weeks touring down through the western Italian (Piedmont) Alps. If your joy is stunning panoramic views, no people, no noise, no signal then this is very much for you. Most of this trip was off road following old world war tracks very high up through the mountains. No camp sites, Stop where you want. In fact so many perfect stops it's hard to choose! Took over a thousand pictures. Here is a few...
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Have had problems wild camping in Switzerland also and Germany but never had any issue in France or Italy. I like remote places as far from others I can get and if not that remote I like to be well of the beaten track and out of sight. Feel it's all down to the kind of places you want to stay at. If trying to wild camp by a popular lake with camp sites dotted around during peak season one expects attention. I spend most of my time high up in the mountains exploring old military tracks. If that's your kind of thing I'm more than happy to share what I know.So wild camping in Italy is cool? I know Switzerland and Slovenia is a total no go, cause I've been thrown away both places in the last couple of weeks In Slovenia the local police (or forest guard thing) was there no more than 10 minutes after I parked.