Piton Chisny

Day 11: From Bourg Murat to the Gîte du Volcan

A hike from green to black

by

The vegetation zones of today’s route can be described as follows: From the Lower Austrian “Bucklige Welt” to the tropical rainforest, from there via Scandinavian moors to the Icelandic volcanic desert. And all this in only 7 hours on the Île de la Réunion. But let’s start at the beginning. The first look out of the window shows one thing: Not the best weather today. But we see this in a positive light: Firstly, we would have dragged all the rain stuff for nothing, and secondly, pictures are often especially interesting in cloudy conditions.
After breakfast, we ask our hosts to organize a cab to take us back to the GR R2, because walking 5 km on the busy N3 does not seem tempting to us. Especially not in the rain.
Across meadows, passing large herds of cows and cow patties, we walk higher and higher at a leisurely pace.

Weg im Weidegebiet, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 24mm, 1/200s, Blende 8, ISO 64
Weidegebiet, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 44mm, 1/125s, Blende 11, ISO 64
Aufstieg durch bewaldetes Gebiet, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 70mm, 1/160s, Blende 11, ISO 400

Soon we end up in an open heathland. We march up to the edge of the Rempart de la Rivière de l’Est. The ground is getting more and more barren and some plants take every opportunity for a nutrient-rich underground 😉 That the landscape can also be very inhospitable for humans is shown by the monument to the ranger Josemont Lauret, who fell victim to cold and exhaustion in October 1887.

Offene Landschaft mit Heidebuschwerk, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 70mm, 1/160s, Blende 11, ISO 200
Anstieg, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 49mm, 1/100s, Blende 11, ISO 180
Das Leben nützt jede Chance in der kargen Landschaft, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 46mm, 1/100s, Blende 11, ISO 160
Gestorben an Kälte und Erschöpfung (1887), © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 46mm, 1/800s, Blende 2.8, ISO 64

The weather gradually gets better and when we reach the top and look down on the Plaine des Sables, we already have blue skies.

Letzter Aufstieg zum Rand des Rempart de la Rivière de l’EstLetzter Aufstieg zum Rand des Rempart de la Rivière de l’Est, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 35mm, 1/80s, Blende 11, ISO 72
Rempart de la Rivière de l’Est, unten die Savanne Cimentière und rechts im Hintergrund der Piton de la Fournaise (2.632 m)Rempart de la Rivière de l’Est, unten die Savanne Cimentière und rechts im Hintergrund der Piton de la Fournaise (2.632 m), © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 34mm, 1/80s, Blende 11, ISO 72
Piton ChisnyPiton Chisny, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 70mm, 1/160s, Blende 11, ISO 110

We descend and the vegetation changes drastically: barren and resembling a lunar landscape, the lava desert stretches in front of us.
Plaine des Sables, im Hintergrund links der Piton de la Fournaise (2.632 m) und rechts der Piton Chisny (2.439 m), © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 28mm, 1/100s, Blende 8, ISO 64
Plaine des Sables, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 55mm, 1/125s, Blende 11, ISO 125
A look back shows the Rempart de la Rivière de l’Est. In the left part of the picture, before the long steep face begins, one can guess the serpentines of our descent path to the Plaine des Sables in the upper part.

Rempart de la Rivière de l’Est und unser AbstiegspfadRempart de la Rivière de l’Est und unser Abstiegspfad, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 70mm, 1/160s, Blende 11, ISO 450
Plaine des SablesPlaine des Sables, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 44mm, 1/100s, Blende 11, ISO 100

We hike along the desert, over lava slabs and crunching lava sand. Impressive, the contrasts between the dark rock and the single green oases.

Saftiges Grün im LavafeldSaftiges Grün im Lavafeld, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 70mm, 1/400s, Blende 2.8, ISO 64
MarkusMarkus, © Elisabeth Zenz — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 35mm, 1/80s, Blende 5.6, ISO 72

After about 20 kilometers we reach our destination, the Gîte du Vulcan, with an amazing view to the sea.
Gîte du Volcan (2.230 m) und der indische OzeanGîte du Volcan (2.230 m) und der indische Ozean, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 27mm, 1/250s, Blende 8, ISO 64
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