Ignoring the rough track leading to Colle di Saint-Véran on the right, take the U21 route to the left by entering the larch wood. An enjoyable path in the deep Vallone dell’Antolina takes us up hairpin bends along a rather demanding track recently restored by forestry workers.
On coming out of the woods, we continue to climb, moving up a more chaotic stretch among grass, boulders and streams at the feet of Costa Buscet. Behind us on the opposite side, there is the scenic Carlo Emanuele III Refuge: today in ruins, it was built at the end of the nineteenth century to house the soldiers manning the surrounding cave stations.
A side path to the right takes us to Grangia dell’Antolina with its remarkable view of the three thousand metre peaks surrounding Colle dell’Agnello and Monviso – rising to 3841 m as the highest mountain in the entire province of Cuneo.
Passing beyond the mountain hut, we continue uphill to the left, passing by a splendid waterfall in the channel at the side. A little higher up, we follow a longitudinal side track that then turns right towards a steep, rocky balcony. From here, we continue as far as the entrance to the lake area.
The final stretch takes us to a basin and, immediately afterwards, to a peak (2540 m) preceding the delightful inlet home to Lago Bleu, the largest of the lakes visited along this trail. The beautiful pointed outline of Roc della Niera (3177 m) creates a backdrop to the lake.
It is a truly delightful place but our advice is not to stay here too long. It is well worth reaching Col de Longet surrounded by other splendid pools of water. As we go down to the lake itself towards the emissary we have to jump over, we continue for a short distance along the Valle Biancetta as far as the crossroads for Colle Blanchet that we leave on the right (signpost).
The track continues to the left between the rocks before rising steeply to a rocky balcony where, slightly higher up, we come to the edge of the small Lago Longet (2635 m). There is a superb view from this high position of Lago Bleu – which seen from above with its immissary resembles a gigantic manta ray – as well as the more distant Lago Nero at the feet of Tour Real. The Olivero Bivouac appears between the Longet and Bes lakes – an arching, metal and wood structure inaugurated in 2018.
Yet this is only the first spectacular glimpse. Moving on a little further to the right, a short climb takes us to the shores of the first of the Bes lakes.
The second lake is connected with the first and is just one metre higher up in a beautiful grassy basin. However, we reach it after crossing Col de Longet, an extraordinary and idyllic scenic point dotted with numerous “ciaperet”, characteristic pointed stone slabs surmounted by stone “caps”. The north-east view over the ever-present Monviso and the perched Tour Real is superlative.
Beyond this hill, we skirt around the second Bes lake and the numerous other pools set into the meadow behind it. After passing a small relief, we descend into French territory and follow the long, twisting shores of Lac de Longet, not to be confused with the already-seen Lago Longet, located to the north of the imposing Salza (3326 m) and Mongioia (3340 m) mountains.
From here, the trail moves on down into the Ubaye valley towards the hamlet of Meljasset. Retracing our footsteps, we once again enjoy the landscape of lakes, also skirting the smaller pools hidden amidst the grass, to reach Col de Longet again.
We then resume the descent over the route taken in the morning, astonished by the magnificent landscapes of this fantastic excursion we warmly recommend to all mountain lovers. It is also suitable for families with children who enjoy walking.
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