GRR2 Day 9: Gîte du Volcan (Volcano)>Saint-Philippe, all details about this part of one of the best trek in Reunion island. A long, but very very nice path to finish this great aventure!
GRR2 Day 9 North to South
- Duration: 8h30
- Distance: 24 km
- High Elevation: 127 meters high / 2300 meters down
- Markings: Good / How is the path: Ok, but lots of slippery branches and rocks
The beginning of the end!
Our last awakening from this adventure. It tastes kind of like nostalgia whereas we have not even finished our trek in Reunion Island by the GRR2. After breakfast, we leave the Gîte du Volcan and retrace our steps from the day before to reach the Griffe du Diable crossing in about twenty minutes.
1/4) Griffe du Diable > Piton de Bert
From there, we walk towards Foc-Foc Parking and then continue to end in Saint-Philippe through Basse Vallée.
We walk along the l’Enclos Fouquet on our left with a breathtaking view of the Dolomieu crater and other lesser-known craters. On our right, several pitons: half piton, Hauy, Chisny, red piton, Hubert …
The path is easy, flat and the view is superb although monotonous. On this side, it changes from the view of Pas de Bellecombe. Of course, as there is no water until the end on this stage of the GRR2, go with at least 1.5L per person, the road is long! We spot a very nice little spot to camp along the cliff. One of the few places with soft grass and trees to enjoy some shade! On the other hand, beware of the cold at night …
We see many information signs but keep walking up to the Piton de Bert.
2/4) Piton de Bert > Puys Ramond
After more than 9km, it starts to descend gently… but the ground is less stable. Nothing bad but the stones are rolling, unlike the trail so far, you have to watch your feet! And it’s only just started !
We can see… not so far… the Puys Ramond. For us, one of the great discoveries of this GRR2 (we knew a good part of the trails). These are old volcanic craters. Small, medium, large, slag, covered with vegetation, there is something for everyone. When you reach the heart of Puys Ramond, you have a … splendid view. The craters, straight ahead, the southern coast and behind us, Dolomieu’s summit… breathtaking.
3/4) Puys Ramond > Gite de Basse Vallée
From there, the descent is more serious. The vegetation is more present, but still low, with a view of the coast. And after about 15 km (from the very beginning), we change the scenery to enter a tropical forest.
It’s beautiful, a bit magical … green, with beautiful plants, lianas, ferns, moss … You can’t see the sea anymore, of course. There are big steps and the ground can be slippery with many trunks and stones.
The vegetation changes several times, less dense. The soil always wet and with a lot of roots, not practical for walking with poles (even without poles), but still superb.
4/4) Gite de Basse Vallée > Saint-Philippe
A little before the crossing to go to the gite of Basse Vallée or to the coast, we take a well deserved cereal break under a kiosk.
2 tek-tek (birds from the Island) stay with us during the break (not because of our food of course). From there, the landscape changes again. It looks like French forest.
And gradually, everything is covered with foam. It only lacks little elves to polish this fantastic universe.
Then we arrive in the vanilla’spot ! Lianas all around us… the famous Saint-Philippe vanilla!
At times we cross the “road” to immediately take the GRR2 path shortcuts. Always a lot of branches and roots. Besides, this day hurts your knees and ankles…
After almost 24km of walking and 2300 meters of vertical drop, we finally reach the “real” car road. With I admit it, a BIG heartache. We are tired (rather long day) but no more than that, we would have liked to continue … but all good things come to an end.
The end of our GRR2 day 9: the end of this day from the Volcan to Saint-Philippe.
We arrive at Basse Vallée bus stop where my brother is waiting for us … and, full of stars in our misty eyes, we are already beginning to tell the story of this wonderful adventure!