Monday July 29th             

Waking up to another hot summer day, I have to wait until my laundry dries on the clothes line (not washed but just the main up keeping), and after a ride with the camping owner taking me back to the campsite after I visited a hotel run by an aquarellist who doesn’t show up (where do all these people hide out and why do they ?), I finally step away from civilization to which I nevertheless belong and wherein I will find myself again, altered I presume weren’t it alone for a few more grey hairs after this stiff walking in awesome scenery and under a baking sun, back into the trails of previous explorers.

I didn’t really meet a lot of people as I was walking fast and only started off late. Leaving the campsite I passed by a beautiful watermill that was taking energy from the river coming down from the hill. It made me happy and proud to live in this country where people, as everywhere in the world mind you, try to find ways to make nature work for them instead of working against nature.

The head full of images yet not being able to communicate with others, made this day a bit dreary, until I finally reach the famous ‘Chemin de la Mature’. I decide to take up the challenge once again ; ‘on attacque’ as we like to say in this part of the world, which expresses the vigour and willpower with which one starts work, even when work itself is for naught, as often happens these days with employees not knowing what the outcome for their company will be by the end of the fiscal year. An elderly man who sees me starting at the climb, looks at me saying ‘that is what I call courage’ ; my ego is flattered but he himself was pulling up his lawnmower on his very steep driveway, and it wasn’t the type of motorized ones we know nowadays, on which you think yourself sitting on your couch and just enjoying a ride. I smile to him and continue.

Upon the trail, which is rather narrow, I meet an ‘Indiana Jones’ coming down ; he tells me the ‘initiation course is finished’. I don’t ask him which initiation course he’s talking about, assuming that it is one held further up on the mountain, and indeed, the next day I will pass a resort that gives all sorts of mountain exploring, recognition and orientation courses, but today I still have no clue of that. I only ask him if it is still a long way, my legs not wanting to move as I’d wish they’d do. He nodds that it isn’t really far anymore. I should have been wiser, knowing that even though coming down is harder for most of us, he certainly was used to long distances and for him it only seemed easy walking maybe. Or didn’t he want to discourage me? anyhow, when I finally can’t see more than a few meters in front of me, I decide not to play with my life any longer, and not finding the trail marks (I probably can’t see them for the finsterness and tiredness both play a role in my ability to perceive something) I come back on my steps to where I had seen a cabin. At the village, Estauts that is, people had told me that the cabins were kept open for people to be able to sleep in them, but the word means something else to me. So I decide to place my tent right before the cabin, at the only place which wasn’t too uneven, in between the cow-pats, within walking distance from a mountainstream. I am a little apprehensive as the field only a few yards away is covered with a vegetable that comes to my waist, and I have to go through it to fetch water. Snakes are a possible danger, yet I am lucky and too tired to cook for myself, I drink a hot coffee and put my head down.

I hope the cows on whose path I stretched my legs, won’t run over me, in a frenzy caused by ? By what ? Well, for instance a nasty horsefly bite, or a fire ? The memory of the article I read on the fire deliberately set up to clean the earth (ecoburning I believe it is called) and taking the lives of five hikers, still haunts me. My legs kept me awake all night, just as they kept me going all day, and this consistent going of all parts of the body, turned my head into a swirling toll. Yet, in mountain high and outdoors living, I find peace and some rest.