Time: 6h. Up: 650m. Down: 560m.
Distance: 17km. Difficulty: hard.

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Stage 81: Point Sublime (787m) to the Chalet de la Maline (893m)

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

Today you hike the Sentier Martel, one of the most famous hikes in Europe: a 15km walk at times right next to the Verdon, at times high above it, and at times through tunnels cut into the walls of its gorge.

Afterwards you stay the night (and if you can, I'd recommend also the next night) in one or other of the two hotels at the end of the trail. If staying the extra night, then the next day I suggest that you do a roundtrip hike along the less frequented, but even more beautiful, Sentier de l'Imbut, climbing out at the Sentier Vida (total hiking time, 4-6h depending on exact route taken). Note that this second hike rates as a borderline Klettersteig.

There are many other canyons in Provence -- you have passed by several (Aiglun, St.-Auban...) -- but in general they require specialized equipment (ropes, harnesses, river shoes), which you probably won't have with you, and/or swimming, which in October you probably won't want to do without a wetsuit.

For the H2H, the trails along the Gorges du Verdon are perfect, but if you like hard-core canyoneering, come back another time to try out the canyons of Haute Provence... Utah will remain supreme, but these are a lot of fun too.

Today's hike is identical with the GR4. From the Auberge du Point Sublime head south then west through the gorge along the Sentier Martel. Don't miss the side excursion to la Mescla, about two thirds of the way along, where you can look across the Verdon to see where the Artuby River enters the gorge. At the Passerelle de l'Estellé suspension bridge, climb out either to the north or the south, depending upon which hotel you are staying at.

Alternatives: none (other than skipping the day and taking a taxi).
Map: IGN-3442OT Gorges du Verdon.

The House to House blog... stage 81.

<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: there are two places to stay at the end of this stage: the Chalet de la Maline (+33-(0), with 82 places, a few of which are in smaller rooms, but most are in larger bunkrooms), which is north of the river, and the Hotel des Cavaliers (+33-(0), 15 rooms), which is to the south. If both are full, you can call for a taxi (information here) to take you 8km to the larger village of la Palud-sur-Verdon, where there are several places to stay (for a complete list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Point Sublime: buses go some days to Castellane from Digne-les-Bains (1h) and Marseille (3.5h), where there are railway stations (bus information here, for trains, see the SNCF). And from Castellane you can take a taxi to 17km to Point Sublime. Alternatively, you can take a taxi 62km from Les Arcs, where there is also a railway station.
Chalet de la Maline: call for a taxi (information here) to take you the 70+km to Les Arcs or to Manosque, where there is also railway station.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Point Sublime, centered on La Palud-du-Verdon.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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