Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Randautomne – Sunday morning muddy waters

On Sunday morning I had difficulty focusing on breakfast. My head hurt a bit too. I thought that it might be the change in the weather, but the majority seemed to think that it was due to the prune spirit. We don’t touch it they said, it’s bad stuff and it makes you feel ill. Now they tell me!
The view out of the window was not promising. It had snowed on the mountains across the valley from us overnight. It was drizzling and misty.
“I’m not walking in this weather” said Ctte. “I once joined a walking group and we carried on walking even when a snow blizzard came, and we even stopped to eat our food while it snowed.” This is the third year in a row that she has told me this story.
We set off in our cars descending down the single track zig-zagging road, like a long metal centipede.
I had switched on my GPS, but shortly after setting off, it mooed like a cow twice and stopped giving me instructions.
I just followed everyone else. We had been given permission to use a forestry road which was not generally accessible to the public.
We turned off the little road and onto a bumpy, lumpy track, eventually coming to a halt on a flat bit that was suitable for parking about 12 cars.
“But where is M who is leading the walk?” someone asked.
Lost in France
Where was he indeed. People tried his mobile, no reply. Eventually they managed to contact a couple who had gone to buy bread for the midday meal. We gave them directions so that they could come and share our pain. They were in a Landrover discovery, so the terrain was no trouble to them. When they arrived, Mr Landrover managed to raise the husband of the Choir president.
New directions were transmitted and we bumped back down the track to the road and then into a car park, we then transferred into fewer cars and set off again, this time 5.8km off up another forestry track nearby.
It was raining now, and we passed Ctte’s car sitting all alone by the side of the track. So she had decided to do the walk after all.
We finally arrived to join the others. N went off into the undergrowth for a pee and came back with a large mushroom.

We already had one satisfied customer. Once suited and booted we set off up the track. This is easy I thought, just like the details said, suitable for everyone.
Twenty paces into the walk and we left the track and headed off up a 60 degree incline path into the trees.
It was not easy going at all. It was uphill all the way, following a twisty single file track through the trees. We sploshed through mud, small streams, twisting back on ourselves but ever upwards. Talking was not an option as we huffed and puffed.
We passed these old animal bones fixed to a tree.
We were in hunter territory. Then it started to snow. 5 minutes later a meeting was held and a number of people turned back, not wanting to get stuck on the mountain if it got worse.
We carried on up the hill passing 2 groups of hunters, complete with camouflage gear and rifles coming down.” When the weather is bad like this”, said one “we stop and head for home”. We carried on up into the thickening skies.
About 15 minutes later we reached our destination. A mountain refuge.
We ate some cakes and explored the WC that had been constructed, complete with a plastic chair as a throne, located a short distance behind the refuge.
no one on the French throne

I wonder where all the waste goes, or perhaps doesn’t go at all.
We then set off back down, honour having been satisfied. It took an hour to get back to the cars. On the way down I passed this little arrangement nestling between two rocks.
A way of sharing hunting information perhaps?
We had asked Ctte why she had left her car in the middle of nowhere. She told us that she had very little petrol left and that if she ran out on the way down, the emergency services would not have so far to go to find her.
In the end, she refused to drive her car and the president’s husband had to do it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to send me your comments or suggestions