Dave wanted to get an early start this morning so he could get pictures of the sunrise. I was more interested in breakfast, even though it was just the usual French bread with butter/jam, juice, and coffee. By the time I finished breakfast and headed out, I was surprised to see Dave still in Montbonnet! Unfortunately he had taken two wrong turns and had to backtrack. So we did end up leaving Montbonnet at the same time after all – me with a full stomach and Dave with an empty one. We hiked seven kilometres to St. Privat d’Allier before another opportunity to eat presented itself. His breakfast was a whole lot better than mine, thanks to a wonderful, tiny French bakery and epicerie. Lucky Dave! 😋
The terrain wasn’t all downhill as expected. The first three kilometres were uphill but no more difficult than our training hikes in Dean Park. 😅 The descent wasn’t hard at first and was beautiful. It was the final seven kilometres that did us in. Tree roots and rocks posed tripping hazards and parts were so steep I skidded a couple of times. Tonight our new friends from Virginia told us about terrible accidents that had happened in that section. It is one of the worst parts of this route, but we made it! 😅 My knees were gently reminding me to “Please take it easy!” Who knows how we would have managed without our poles?
The scenery truly was spectacular, though. There was a little more cloud cover than yesterday and the clouds gave the blue sky such character. We explored a lovely little chapel in Rochegude on the hillside backed by the granite structure of the ancient castle of la Clauze.
I wish I wasn’t too tired to tell you all about Danielle and Rich, an interesting couple from Virginia, but right now we need to get a good night sleep before tomorrow’s steep climb out of Monistrol d’Allier! 😴