Time: 8h. Up: 1390m. Down: 1000m.
Distance: 18km. Difficulty: medium.

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Stage 68: Roya (1500m) to the Refuge de Longon (1890m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

Another milestone today: the last time that you will be above 2000m on the H2H. Although not yet in the back-country of the Côte-d'Azur, you are getting close... in less than a week you'll be dabbling your toes in the Mediterranean, which, by the way, if the day is very clear, you might see for the first time today.

The hike takes you up through some fairly rough country, over a last high pass and ridge from which the distant gleam of deep blue water might be seen, and then down to a final mountain hut nestled in the upper reaches of a broad soft valley.

You still have a long way to go before you reach the end of the H2H (heck, you still have a long way to go to get to Monaco!), but from now on it will be more hill walking than mountain hiking. I suggest that you save the real celebrations until you do get to Monaco... but a Calvados or two tonight, if the Refuge can supply it, would not be inappropriate.

Today's route is again identical with the GR5 and the Via Alpina . Take the trail down into the valley, then walk up the side-valley of Sallevieille to the Col de Crousette (2480m). From the Col take the left-hand fork over the ridge (2585m) all the way down to the Col des Moulines (1981m). The last stretch is a long down and up traverse via les Portes de Longon (1941m) to the Refuge.

Alternatives: none really. There are a couple of exposed places, so if the weather is bad, take the day off.
Maps: IGN-3639OT Haute Tinée 1, IGN-3641ET Moyenne Tinée.

The House to House blog... stage 68.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: picnic.
Dinner and overnight: the only place to stay within a few hours hike is the Refuge de Longon (+33-(0), 34 beds), so this is another place to reserve as long in advance as the weather permits.

Getting There and Back
Roya: from Nice, where there is a railway station and a major airport, a twice-daily bus takes two hours to get to St.-Etienne-de-Tinée (for schedule information for the bus, see here, and for the train, see the SNCF). From here you can either walk the previous stage, or take a taxi the 15km to Roya (for taxi information, see here).
Refuge de Longon: follow the GR5 down via Roure (1130m) to St.-Sauveur-sur-Tinée (477m -- 4h, -1410m, 11.5km -- identical with the first part of the next stage). From there the twice-daily bus that also goes to St.-Etienne-de-Tinée takes about 1.5 hours to get to Nice.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Roya, centered on St.-Sauveur-sur-Tinée.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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