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Learning to Walk, Day 6, Friday, September 2, from Aumont-Aubrac to Montgros

September 2, 2022

Today was supposed to be 23 km, but my watch told me it was close to 26. Another long day, but, oh my, the Aubrac plateau is as breathtakingly beautiful as everyone who has gone before me reported. It was the first day of walking in rain. Rain was predicted for most of the day, with severe thunderstorms starting after noon. Instead, we had lovely, cool rain off and on this morning, then it got sunny with occasional clouds this afternoon. I didn’t mind walking in the rain, especially once I figured out how to mostly cover my daypack with the shopping bag I’d been keeping my food in.

Interesting conversation with a man I walked with for a short while. He commented on the fact that I wasn’t wearing my skirt today. I am quite famous for that long hiking skirt. He said his father did what I did, was an evangelical pastor, and when he turned 20 he left that church and found the Reformed church. Then he said, “Ah, it was freedom. Evangelical church has so many rules, and they think they have all the answers. If you don’t agree with them, they say, ‘it’s in the Bible’ and you are wrong and they are always right.” Yes. Us Reformed types don’t always get it right, but if you think you have all the answers, then I’m not sure that’s what faith is all about. Especially if your answers are from cherry-picked Bible verses that don’t take into account context or history or the fact that human beings and cultures change. It was nice to hear someone’s story about finding freedom in the Reformed tradition rather than just leaving church all together.

As was the case yesterday, WCs were hard to find! I hope they aren’t as sparse going forward. There was a gite that had a cafe at about 10km so I welcomed the chance to stop for 20 minutes, enjoy a cafe au lait and slice of apple cake, take my shoes and socks off and put my feet up. It feels SO good to let your feet breathe every 10 km or so! I headed off again across a very wild and isolated part of the plateau—most of the time walking on a narrow path between fences. Aubrac cattle are famous. And beautiful. And plentiful along this path. There was one short stretch between fenced in areas, where you had to climb stiles, and you were walking right among the cows. I only saw one bull all day, and he was safely fenced in, and could care less that humans were walking by.

Near the end of the day I heard a chittering noise and looked back and two stoats were having a furious game of chase across the field. They were SO cute! They didn’t seem to notice me and ran closer and closer, all of sudden realized I was there, stopped, scampered into the rock wall, then poked their heads out the other side to check me out. I got my camera out and tried to film them but they scampered away too quickly. I wish I had captured that for you. It was also a great day for hawk watching. It was windy up there, and they would flap and stay in one place in the air, like treading water, scouting for food I think, then take off. You could hear their calls all day. It was a magical walk.

When I got to the gite where I am staying, Maison Rosalie in Montgros, he handed me a key and told me where my room was. I thought, “a key?” No one has given me a key to a dormitory room before. And when I opened the door it was a single. I had forgotten that when I booked this back in May she had responded that she had a single available, and I took it. It is HEAVEN to have my own room!!! I think that happens again in about a week. And I think I will have to treat myself as the walk goes on to my own room once a week or so.

After my stop for coffee and cake, there wasn’t anywhere else for lunch that I passed by, so I finally found a tree with a nice place to sit in its shade, sat on my raincoat and had my lunch of cheese, bread and some of that date loaf I told you about the other day. I’ll finish up the cheese tomorrow and will have to find more, or something else for picnics after that. That’s really all I need in the middle of the day. I would have thought I needed to eat a lot more as I walk, but I don’t. Just a couple of snacks and a light lunch, then I indulge in the dinners they serve us! After beef four nights in a row, it was nice to have a change this evening. Roasted pork. I have worked so hard to get my cholesterol down over the last few months, and had almost completely cut out beef and pork! But you have to eat what you are served, and I am going to enjoy it and get back to my regular healthier eating habits when I’m home. I thought I would catch you up on yesterday as well, but I realized that if I am always going back to play catch up, I may never get to the day at hand. So I’ll share some photos from today, and if I still have energy, a few from yesterday.

And I wanted to let those of you who are commenting on my posts know how much I appreciate your comments and the fact that you are following along. I may not get to respond to them all, but I think I am seeing them all, and I am grateful. Here are some photos from this spectacular day.

The windows in the church in Aumont-Aubrac, which I stopped in on the way out of town this morning were beautiful—clearly not as old as the building, but gorgeous.
Outside the church.
Just about every village in this area has streets like this.
The beast.
What it looked like this morning.
Don’t remember which little village this was. But I loved this old house/farmstead.
Rats. No visiting this church today.
After you!
Stile.
The landscape often made me think of the mountains in New Mexico, or Scotland. I passed a fellow walker as we were crossing one of the wooden bridges over a boggy bit, and he pointed and said, “tourbe”. I had no idea what he meant, and he didn’t speak English, so he opened his translator and spoke the French word into the phone. It’s “peat.” So we learned each other’s word for peat. I asked him, mostly through gestures, if people still cut the tourbe and burned it for fuel, and he said no, it was protected.
In the latter part of the walk there were more and more of these giant boulders.
The view from my lunch spot. Not bad.
It was a very narrow, old bridge. With lots of fast traffic and some trucks. You had to wait until it was clear to scoot across. There were a couple of places where you could step aside to get out of the way—and take a photo of the river. A couple more km to go at this point.

Yes, it was as delicious as it looks. That’s feta wrapped in phyllo on top of the carrot salad, rice with vegetables and roasted pork, and the dessert—pear, chocolate and almond. It was divine. I ate every bite.

Okay, since I don’t have roommates tonight who are all trying to sleep by now I will share a few photos from yesterday. But only a few, I need to get to sleep myself!

Morning mist and rosy sky outside Le Domaine Sauvage yesterday morning.

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10 Comments
  1. I’m really enjoying all your stories and pictures especially of the food! I want to eat every bite right along with you. Enjoy your single room tonight and happy walking tomorrow!

  2. Rockie permalink

    I’m so enjoying your posts! I’m hiking vicariously through you as I chose not to walk this fall due to Covid concerns. Keep posting – your time, effort and heartfelt narrative is so appreciated! Bon chemin!

  3. Meg permalink

    It looks amazing. Much starker landscapythan I had imagined. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Susan Terry permalink

    Beverly
    These photos are so beautiful and I love your stories of the people and animals you are meeting.
    I am SO IMPRESSED that you have taken on this venture. We think of you every day. Steve says hi!

    • Hi Susan and Steve, I’m so glad you are following along! And appreciate your daily thoughts. As I’m struggling through the last kilometers of the day it helps to think of all the people that are cheering me on.

  5. Patricia Decker permalink

    The cattle truly are magical! They look so wise and thoughtful. Very thankful you included some snaps of them. It all looks/sounds just so wonderful. Really happy for you!

  6. Reading this and breathing in these ancient churches, the quiet, the sheer stripped down Beauty of Place…my whole being vibrates with the truth of it. ooh, man, I opened my computer this A.M. to an article “The Most Expensive Things in the World Found Only in Dubai” and like a fool, of course, scrolled thru, Robotic Camel Racers, Helicopter Taxis for Cars , ATM’s for gold bars, Indoor skiing in The Mall, diamond encrusted Mercedes ..!!! . .then I opened your journal. wow..I’m so grateful to share this …wow
    xxx

  7. Sarah-Jane permalink

    Wow, such beautiful photos, especially the sunrise at Sauvage and the Aubrac plateau. Amazing effort on those long distances the past two days! I am wondering if the terrain is difficult on those stages, or was it just long? I am curious as planning to walk in May 2023. Once again, thank you for taking the time to share your journey. 🙂

    • The two primary days crossing the Aubrac are not as strenuous as others. But if I had known just how challenging the first ten days of this are I would have planned shorter days

      • Sarah-Jane permalink

        Thanks for taking the time to reply! Very helpful to know this. Looking forward to catching up on your posts.

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