The Via Ferrata / Accessible & Secure Climbing-Trail at Meichira climbs a limestone cliff whose walls were deposited in the sea during the Upper Cretaceous period some 87 million years ago. These are the same light-coloured limestones that form the craggy slopes of the Cheval Blanc mountain and the foothills of the Estrop mountain.
One of the notable features of this Via Ferrata / Accessible & Secure Climbing-Trail is that it passes through a thurifer juniper grove.
The thuriferous juniper (Juniperus thurifera L.), also known as the incense tree, is one of the 75 species of juniper in the world.
The main core of the population of this tree is the Moroccan Atlas range. It is also found in Spain, the Pyrenees and Corsica. Its populations in the French Alps (from the Alpes-Maritimes to Savoie) are the most northerly in the world.
This species is thought to have been driven out of Europe by the Quaternary ice-ages. It has only survived in well-sheltered areas such as the Meichira cliffs or in the Durance Valley in Saint-Crépin (05 - Les Hautes Alpes).
Here, the trunks of the most beautiful specimens were traditionally used to make lintels in the houses of the valley.
Today it is a rare and fragile species that should be protected.