ST 2: Blame the rivers

I blame the rivers not the mountains.

Today was very up and down – as in we walked up and down. We are in mountains so I guess that’s to be expected. But, as I said, the mountains in this case are not to blame. It’s the rivers that have cut into the mountains and formed deep valleys. Those valleys are beautiful but they intrinsically mean walking down before immediately walking back up to regain all the height you’ve just given away.

Whinge aside, we set out in lovely sunshine after having had a wonderful meal the night before. We booked this late and couldn’t find a practical way to book things ourselves. As a result we have used a company to organize things and each night’s accommodation includes a meal. Last nights was a stunner. So this morning we set out after breakfast and the world was shiny. Almost immediately we lost elevation and then started climbing back up some very broken tracks. A couple of hours in we stopped for a coffee at a bar which lived up to its reputation as having the grumpiest owner possible to imagine.

Bridge needed

There was a lovely bit that was relatively flat, and then we came to a stunning view over a river valley with a castle nestled by the bridge. Down we went to river-level and then we went right back up. I don’t want to belabor this too much, but it was universally agreed it was tiring stuff.

There seem to be about 20 people walking along at roughly the same pace as us. They are all French except for a Dutch couple. Some are doing the whole trail, like us, others only half. We see people, they pass us, we pass them – it’s a shifting, overlapping group.

After the climb came the longest roughly straight track we’ve seem so far. Then a series of tiny tracks where you were pushing through the thick wildflowers on either side. We got mildly lost at one point, but I’m not sure it made a big difference. Another coffee stop in a village kept our energy up even as clouds closed in and the wind threatened our hats.

Le Bouchet

The scenery remained beautiful, but I have to admit to some relief as we reached Le Bouchet Saint Nicolas where we are spending our second night and Robert Louis Stevenson spent his first. The sun came back out and, after a shower, we spent a very pleasant couple of hours on the terrace of the local bar.

Donkey sightings remain at zero.

2 thoughts on “ST 2: Blame the rivers

  1. Margaret and I cycled the Cévennes in the mid-1980s (in June). I remember those sudden downs and ups – put Marg off cycling for a while! (She’s now adopted electrical assistance.) We weren’t following the RLS route.
    I drove part of the route a few years ago and was amazed at what we’d achieved on bikes – along the Corniche des Cévennes from St Jean du Gard.

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