Saturday, November 6, 2010

Don't look down

For our last big hike, Alan wanted to climb from Oppede-la-Vieux up to the top of the Petit Luberon and back down. Our walking book had this route described, but after reading it and looking at the map we decided to forgo the book and just use the map, as the trail seemed fairly straightforward. What we didn’t realize that as well as being straightforward, the trail was also, in parts, straight up!

After leaving town, the trail headed up a gorge, which narrowed and narrowed till the path and streambed were one and the same. There was a really neat arch and lots of caves, some of which had been obviously used for camping. As we got higher, the views back over the valley were very nice and different than we’d seen before; we had to stop and look at the map to try and figure out what towns we were seeing.

The deluxe suite - with chair and table!
The trail... or waterfall, same thing!

My fig-leaf fan, which actually came in handy!
There had bee a very heavy dew in the night, and many of the rocks were still slick with moisture; this didn’t really cause a problem till a bend in the path about half way to the top when suddenly we weren’t going up a ravine but around the edge of a ridge, with nothing but a long drop to our left. Mom did her best not too look. But things got worse before they got better; after we rounded the ridge, we found the trail leading straight up another one! Thankfully all the boulders had well-worn toeholds and reachable handholds, but while I had joked with Dad that this would be his legs’ “last hurrah” he started muttering that I must really want my inheritance to be putting him through this! It was actually rather fun, I thought, but the drop was a bit long and the rocks were a bit wet and thank goodness we were going up as down would have been ten times worse; the guidebook, while mentioning height issues and strenuous bits on many other walks really had said nothing about this one.

This photo doesn't quite give the feeling
of how far down it was...
Up and up!
We made it to the top in one piece, maybe a bit worse for wear but ready for lunch. An overview was marked a little ways down the ridge-top road, and we decided to walk there to have our lunch. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much, but you never know till you go! So we ate our lunch sans-view, but it probably tasted almost as good as if we’d had one : )

The trail down was much easier than the one up, and part way down there way an excellent view of the town below us. Alan contemplated walking up to see the church and ruins again, but we all decided we’d rather just head home. I’d collected some fig leaves earlier, and collected some more random leaves as we walked back to the car. Mom had bought some rubbing crayons at a market, made from beeswax so they don’t get your fingers sticky, and I wanted to try them out! They worked great, and I happily spent the evening coloring, making Mom put my “art” on the fridge and promise not to throw it away (she had a tendency to throw my art away when I wasn’t paying attention as a small child!). Ah, the simple things in life…

Looking down on the town

My fig leaves made it the whole way!

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