Our night ended yesterday with a note from Gilbert. He hoped to see us again and I responded with an invitation to walk with us today. I woke to a message saying he’d love to join us.
So we woke and readied ourselves with breakfast and the usual packing. At 7am Gilbert arrived and away we went.
The trail was mostly flat and wooded and for a time followed an old rail line. Off the side of the path was a rare natural phenomenon that we likely would have passed by but at Gilbert’s suggestion we detoured off the path and down a steep grade to see an odd site. The trail led to a hollowed out rock gorge that resembled a sink hole. It is a geological oddity because of a play of hydraulic pressures and underground caverns and their interaction with a nearby stream. The water here actually flows in different directions depending on the rainfall. It was fascinating and beautiful.
Some way further along the path we came to a long dark creepy tunnel. No light came through so we stepped into the darkness. Fortunately as we progressed, automatic lights flickered on to show us the way. We made spooky music sounds in the echo chamber of the tunnel.
The region is renowned for its water sports in the mountains stream la Loue. Fishing and kayaking are very popular and we saw several campsites as well. You can understand this when you see the beautiful scenery.
We passed through the beautiful village of Ornans home to the famous painter Gustave Courbet. Courbet led the Realism movement of the 19th century made way for the Impressionist movement. He insisted on painting “only what he could see” and rejected the formal rules of the romanticism of the past generation. His pictures however are dark as was the end of his life – spent in exile in Switzerland.
The village however was picturesque, dotted with bridges and cottages at the riverside and framed with chateaux and the cliff faces of the mountains behind.
As we wound our way along the river we had great and extensive conversations with Gilbert. He would say I did all the talking and Allison all the listening. This will come as no surprise to those that know us. To be fair, Gilbert is a crest conversationalist as well and we heard many of his stories. We covered many subjects including physics, religion, politics, global warming, as well as our personal lives, etc. The kilometers flew by.
Gilbert left us at Vuillafans after walking a full 21km. He met us at the next village after retrieving his car and gave us a nice gift of bread and some local cheese. For his overwhelming kindness and generosity as well as spending so much time in meaningful conversation, Gilbert received a Key. Gilbert, I hope you will use the key I gave you to open that door we spoke about.
Most of the day was on level terrain, but as soon as Gilbert left us it turned steep. And after our second visit from Gilbert it turned steeper still. What a way to end the day.
We ended up on the gorgeous village of Mouthier-Haut-Pierre. We were unable to get in touch with the alberge so we’d made reservations at a hotel. When we arrived however there was no one there. Thumbs down to Hotels.com who have twice left me in the lurch with regard to hotels. I dare anyone to try and reach someone to help them. Very poor customer service.
After waiting about an hour a worker at the attached restaurant showed up and helped us get into the hotel and to our room. It has an amazing view.
What a day. I took so many pictures because of the gorgeous scenery. I hope you enjoy this sampling.
We ended the night with a very fancy dinner at the hotel. We really have to stop eating like this but last night we cooked a stir-fry for ourselves so I guess it is ok!