Monday, October 25, 2010

Mourre Négre

Mourre Négre is the highest point of the Luberon (it’s the mountain behind Bonnieux in all the photos) at 3,692 ft. We were a little undecided about climbing it, assuming that we had seen most of the views we would see from the top already, but Alan said it must be done. The rain had stopped, but the sun wasn’t out and the chilly 50º F temperature was not supposed to get any warmer all day. The wind had picked up as well, and with the realization that we were going to be on the top of a mountain where the wind would be even worse than in the valley we each took two coats. Half way down to the car I was already feeling cold, so Mom and I turned back, me for my tights and Mom for her rain/wind pants.

We drove through Bonnieux, past Saignon to the start of the hike in a little town called Auribeau. The fall colors have been getting better every day; the trees along our hike had more yellow than red, but a mountain to the north had a distinctly red-ish hue. The trail proved easier than we had thought, and while we gained about 2,000 feet it was a steady incline and a smooth trail. About half way up while waiting for Mom and Dad at a turn in the trail Alan followed a little branch trail and came on a great view to the east and north of the Alps covered in fresh snow. It was one of the nicest mountain views I have seen, but the dark grey cloud rolling towards us was not a pleasant sight.

Click here to see larger image on Flickr
 A glider sailed silently overhead, with a crow catching the same currents as they both circled higher and higher. We had reached the top, with Dad waiting behind the last shelter of trees to tell us we’d better put our extra layers on as the wind was waiting to pounce just around the bend. He was right! We climbed through an open field, leaning in to the wind and shouting to be heard. Dad’s thermometer read 35ºF, and I don’t think it accounts for the 50 mph wind chill! We had thought to eat lunch on top, but it was obvious we would have to wait. We walked to the summit with its power station whistling in the wind, and then eagerly headed back down for a valley. Unfortunately, we had a little way to go, and no sheltered spot with anywhere to sit seemed to be in existence. Then all of a sudden we saw a little house; it was for shepherds, and had a little bench and table on the outside. We sat down for a quick meal; I ate with one hand at a time, always keeping one warm in my pocket.

If we thought we were cold before lunch we were really cold after lunch. The gray cloud of sleet was almost upon us, and Mom and Dad opted for an old road that lead down while Alan and I stuck with the trail. Alan decided to take off a layer as he warmed from walking, and so I put it on, as I couldn’t get warm. The sleet started, but thankfully was light and didn’t last long.

We finally warmed up as we neared a chapel close to the bottom of the hike; it was undergoing restoration and the ruins of the old town and a moss covered borie actually interested us more, but mostly I was ready to be in the car with the heater going! We made it back to the car, where Mom and Dad we waiting, and headed home. Hot drinks were at the top of everyone’s list, and we decided to stop at the patisserie in Bonnieux on the way home for treats for conquering the mountain and the weather.

I love this photo!
This borie made me think of hobbits : )

No comments:

Post a Comment