From the very first day, the tone is set: a steep morning ride to reach the Cougourde valley and the Trecolpas Lake. Then, the group pass by famous sanctuary of the Madone de Fenestre – ask your guide to explain the history of this place!! Riders cross the Italian frontier and the not too distant Ellena Soria refuge marks the end of Day 1. The second day takes the group towards some of the higher and most beautiful Southern Alps summits, including Gélas, the highest in the area, and Mounts Malédiev and Clapier. Nature is full on – this is the domain of chamois and ibex. The Sabbione Pass marks the end of the day and a comfy night in a cottage in Casterino. On the third day, riders use two legs for a time to discover the Valley of Wonders and petroglyphs in an open-air museum. Unique – these 40000 or so Bronze Age carvings on the valley’s rocks are fascinating, and visitors can but wonder what drew early man to this place – there are many theories! On the fourth day, riders turn towards the Mesches Lake at 1380m. The scenery is dominated by larch forests with rock outcrops, picked over by chamois and ibex, plus the ever-present lake views. There is a magnificent ascent towards the Arpette Pass and an exciting descent towards the glaciated Gordolasque valley – the favourite of many visitors. Le Boréon summons, but before returning, the Prals lakes offer a fine end to a short riding break.
Departure from the equestrian center at 9am
The tone is set from the first hours : mountain ! After some gaits on tracks, a craggy rise is necessary to reach the Cougourde little valley and the Trécoulpas Lake. The Ladres Pass, at 2450m, open the way to the valley of the famous Madone of Fenestre sanctuary. The crossing of the Italian border is indicated by military shacks, deserted nowadays by man but adopted by ibex. Then, it’s a long slope to San Giaocomo which brings the day to a close, first by foot until the Soria Elena plateau where is always grazing a goup of chamois, then by horse until our first stage.
The second day reveals the higher and most beautiful Southern Alps tops, including the Gelas mount, the higher of the Alpes-Maritimes, the Malédie mount and the Clapier mount. We climb the Vei dell Bouc valley on the morning -1200m in heigh difference. First break at the eponymous lake, where an old hermit and his goat lie submerged, according to the myth. One climb again to the top and the nature is amazing, it’s the reign of chamois and ibexes. The Sabion pass foreshadows the comeback in France, we overhang then go down the Casterino valley. Second break before an hour of ride which leads us above the Lake of the Messes, in Neiges et Merveilles, our second stage.
The third day, horseriders get off the saddle after a little 2h ride. Actually we climb the Minière valley, little diamond of sweet nature, to join the Wonder refuge. Horseriders go discover the petroglyph open-air museum. The engravings are the reference site of an original common culture and allow to discover the first clues of the human setting in the area. This mineral landscape shaped by the glacier thaw contains an archeologic treasure of about 40 000 rupestrian engravings old of 3300 years before JC, divided on 4000 engraved rocks. It’s the European largest site of rupestrian engravings ! A sworn guide will be there for the visit ; 4h walking.
On the fourth day, the horses climb very fast to reach the Rousse col. Then it’s a virgin territory which sets in, we have the feeling of being the first ever coming there. Then we take a sheep path which cross the pastures at 1900m. Vast landscape and view until the sea. On the afternoon, we join the Colonel barns by the Raus col and we cross the famous Red Grounds at great gaits. We cross the Gordolasque ice bolt, on which one is sitting the Grand Capelet, our last stage.
The arrival at the Boreon profiles. We cross two cols : the Valette pass on the morning and the Maïris plateau on the afternoon. This last day, mountainous but easy, is a charm through the flowery pastures, crossed by effusive torrents. This two cols allow to see our route in its entirety.