<reminder: photos now available at:
Friday, Oct 12th, 2007
It took us 2 days to get to the mountains, and 80 to hike through them. Today we finally came down out of them for good. Oh, there are still some hills to be crossed ahead of us -- the Luberon and the Alpilles -- but both are separate from the Alps through which we have been hiking for so long.
The feeling when we came up to the top of that last ridge and saw ahead of us the flat Plateau de Valensoie stretching out into the hazy distance of an autumn afternoon was for me much more satisfying than seeing the sea from the heights above Monaco. Then I knew that we still had a significant amount of tough hiking to do. Now all we have ahead of us are gravy days, or at least that's the way it seems.
Today is also significant for two other reasons: we only have 10 stages left until the end of the hike, and today is the last day the three of us will hike alone, since our father will join us tomorrow for the remainder of the H2H.
But seeing the flat plain was the most remarkable thing: I can't get over it. The mountains had come to seem endless and it ws if I had forgotten what the world could look like away from them. The sea didn't count somehow -- perhaps because it is always that way and there is no difference between near and far. But the plains -- it felt like you could see for ever....
And it was another great hike. The first hour was along the road on the northern edge of the Gorge du Verdon, with continual spectacular views across and down into it, then came a couple of hours along a trail about 2/3 of the way up the canyon walls. After that a steep climb to a ridgeline to the north, then after a couple more hours through the endless emptiness of eastern Provence we came to the final descent into the valley of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
The village itself is lovely, almost picture-perfect set into a cleft of the mountain with a river tumbling down a ravine through its center. We'll stay here for the next couple of days, meet Dad and our cousin Oliver, and then walk to the west over flat farmland to the Luberon.
We are out of the mountains!