Lake della Vacca and the Colle del Sabbione
The most interesting part of the excursion is the portion above the Gias Valera. Lake della Vacca is quite lovely, nestled in a grassy bowl, as is the Colle del Sabbione pass, where the difference between the steep rocky crags of the Italian side and the softly rounded grassy slopes of the French one can be clearly appreciated.
The black woodpecker
From the car park at Ponte di Porcera (1078 m), follow the dirt road that climbs southwards through the woods, on the hydrographic left of the Bousset torrent. Keep to the road, ignoring various branches on both sides, up to the Ponte del Suffiet.
Beyond the bridge, the road continues slightly uphill in the beech forest. You overlook two crossroads on the right: the first for Gias Blin and, a little further on, the second for Gias d'Ischietto (1357 m, 1:05 hours from Ponte di Porcera).
The cart track now climbs more decisively, enters the Vallone del Sabbione, reaches the banks of the stream and ends at Gias Valera.
At a crossroads not far from the gias, ignore the path that continues straight for Passo della Mena and go down to the right to cross the stream on a wooden bridge.
The track then gains Gias dell'Adreit (1643 m, 1:05 hours from Gias Valera).
Now on the path, you cross pastured slopes for a long time, then you go up a ridge with a few bends, and you arrive at the basin where the ruined Gias della Culatta is located.
Descend towards the center of the basin, ford the stream and climb steeply in hairpin bends on the orographic right side of the valley; it then turns south-west, traversing with minor slopes among shrubby vegetation up to the grassy hollow of Lago della Vacca (2260 m, 2:15 hours from Gias dell'Adreit).
Near the lake, ignore the path to the right for Colle del Vei del Bouc, and go up the few easy bends that lead to Colle Ovest del Sabbione (2328 m, 0:10 hours from Lago della Vacca).
SNCF line TER Provence Alpes-Côte d'Azur For travel in the PACA region and towards Cuneo www.ter-sncf.com/pac
Trenitalia for travel in the Piedmont region https://www.trenitalia.com/it.html
Access and parking
Drive from Borgo San Dalmazzo up the Valle Gesso. After passing Valdieri, turn left for Entracque. At the ruondabout, turn left for Trinità, and from there continue on to the Porcera bridge.
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