Monday, November 1, 2010

A dog a day makes the rain not so gray

The rain is still hovering around, descending when the mood is right and letting the sun slip a few rays few when it gets distracted. The fall colors continue to increase in beauty, and every glance out the window leaves you in danger of standing there entranced for a few minutes before getting the camera to take another picture of the same vista, hoping that maybe a few pixels can record the range of sight, sound, smell, winds, rain, fog, leaves, trees, grass, birds, smoke, houses, and people. It’ll be better than nothing, but its like trying to stuff the genie in the bottle; he might grant your wishes next time but how do you capture him in the fist place?

In the afternoon, we decided rain or no rain we wanted to get outside. Alan suggested that we go to the Gorges of Oppedette where he had gone a week or so ago. The half hour drive flew by as we enjoyed the scenery – yellow is the predominate leaf color here, although many vines are red.

We parked and overlooked the gorge before walking a little loop trail along the top of the cliffs. As we reached the turnaround point in the trail we heard sheep bells just to our left! Cutting across a little side path took us out to a country road covered in a herd of sheep. The shepherd had two dogs – one seemed to be the traditional shepherding dog who at a whisper from the shepherd would race around the edge of the herd to keep them going in the right direction. The other, a big white dog, was the protector of the herd. We’d read about them on a sign before another hike; it said they were left with the sheep to keep them safe, and as long as you didn’t bother the sheep they wouldn’t bother you. As we were popping out of the woods, the protector dog came over and barked to announce our arrival – the shepherd said something to the dog, and he left us alone but kept an eye on us, just in case we were about to steal one of his sheep! He never seemed to herd the sheep, but walked in the herd, stopping and sitting down when he got to the middle and walking again once the sheep had passed him and he was at the back.

The GR (national) trail markings we often follow

We walked back to Oppedette and through the town heading to the bottom of the gorge. As we passed the main street, we saw a dog (I always am looking at the dogs!) that Alan said they saw last time, but it didn’t seem very friendly. We didn’t think much of it, but it followed us down the hill. I noticed it took off on a side path, and shortly we realized that we were not going the right way any more! Deciding that the dog might know something we went back to the path it had taken, and sure enough he was waiting just a little ways down the trail. Most French dogs give people a wide berth – Kira could pick up a few tips on not needing to greet every person you see! – which makes it hard to make friends with any of them. But when we came to another split, the dog going again on a different path than we wanted, it looked so sad when we stopped following it! So I encouraged him to come with us, and after a little convincing he came up to me and let me pet him! He has the same ears-back nervous-tail-wags expression that Kira does, but after a good ear scratch all was well and we both happily trotted to catch up with everyone else. Every time we stopped he would stop and wait for us, giving us a what-are-you-doing look.

Me and our adopted guide dog
Alan hardly recognized the bottom of the gorge when we got there – last week the streambed had been almost dry and now if was a rushing little river! There was no way to get across, so we turned and followed our trusty little guide up another trail back to the village.

The clouds were thickening again, but we decided to stop at the town of Viens just down the road anyway. We could see the tower of the chateau from the gorge, and when we got there the old town was larger than we had thought! We finally reached the tower, but what was really neat was this crazy cloud forming over the valley! It had two big mounds of cloud with a dip in between, and you could see the moisture flowing from the top of one mound, into the dip, and up the other side. We stood and watched it for a while before returning to the car and continuing home.

Church in Viens
It's All Saints Day, which is French national holiday,
and many people go put flowers on graves like we
do for Memorial Day.

No comments:

Post a Comment