So, first some background. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a book about walking through the Cevennes mountains in France with a donkey. A mutant version of the trail he took is now a Grand Randonnee route known as the Stevenson’s Trail. It’s a mutant version because back when RLS did it he followed traditional shepherd tracks through the mountains that made for easy walking. Most of those tracks are now roads, and the ST takes more scenic routes up and down mountainsides. And that’s what we’re doing for the next two weeks.
Today was simply stunning. We walked out of Le Puy in bright Spring sunshine through fields of poppies and wildflowers. Steep, green-lined tracks took us up to the top of hills with expansive views to the far horizon.
True, we then went all the way back down the mountain to get to river-level and cross the Loire – but that also meant a coffee and patisserie stop beside the bridge.
The remainder of the morning continued sunny and beautiful. I know it sounds cheesy but birds were singing and bees were buzzing amongst the flowers. Fields were ripening in the sun and there was a wonderful clean smell of growing things. The views to the far mountains were just amazing.
We stopped by the road for a picnic lunch of a baguette. Our timing was excellent because only a few minutes later clouds appeared and it started raining. It rained enough that we put on the pack covers but not enough to be worth a raincoat.
The last part of the walk was along a ridge with views down to Le Monastier where were are spending the night. RLS actually started his walk from Le Monastier, not Le Puy, so theoretically tomorrow is more authentic.
We saw no donkeys today (our version of a donkey is that a van is moving our main packs from auberge to auberge) but we did see hoofprint evidence that others are using them.