From :

Wagon. A cranky contary female / an ugly female. She\'s some wagon eh?

wagon. wagon - an awful woman. than one is such a wagon!

wagon. a woman thats a bitch. dat ones a right wagon.

Wagon. A cantankerous old woman.. Yer wan's some wagon, I asked her could I feed the seagulls and she lifted me out of it!

wagon. car or other mode of transport. i'll drive my waggon.

Wanderly Wagon. A much loved Irish children's TV program which ran from 1968 to 1982

Tuesday 27 March 2012

What a Hack!

How is it possible to be so elated and yet so frustrated at the same time?

I'll explain...

We had the most fantastic hack today.  Weeks ago, way back even before I broke my wrist, I went exploring on foot and found a lovely trail up through some woods to the North of Céreste.  I couldn't wait to ride up there, but at that stage, we were still hampered with the wraps on GiGi's front feet, so we were limited to short hacks only.  We talked about boxing the horses over there, and then CRUNCH, we all know what happened next!

Finally, nine weeks later, we got to ride our horses up through the woods and it was FANTASTIC!  We rode up past the little tree-topped tor that I had seen the very first time I was there, and investigated a couple of trails which seemed to lead somewhere but eventually petered out.
"My" little tor!

GiGi and Anne following up the trail, Luberon Massif in the background

One of the trails that petered out

We back-tracked and continued up to where the cliffs drop away to the valley of the Calavon river.  Just across the valley is the pretty town of Viens - that's another place I want to ride, there is a circular horse trail marked on our map which I want to do.

Flurry admiring the view towards Viens
We rode along the top of the cliffs, through a pine forest.  All of a sudden, we left the uneven, stony tracks behind, and found ourselves on a soft, level trail, carpeted with pine needles.  We trotted and cantered along for about a kilometer, with the horses loving every minute of it!  GiGi had been very lazy until our first canter - when she saw Flurry strike off ahead of her, she threw her head into the air and cantered enthusiastically after him, and stayed quite "forward" from then on.

The horses weren't the only ones enjoying it!  I was beaming from ear to ear as we cantered along - if it was any later in the year, I would have had fly-splatter across my teeth by the time we stopped!  I've been waiting a long time for this!

Hiding the fly-splatter?  No, eating a toffee Carambar!
Eventually, the trail started to descend again, and we decided to dismount and walk for a bit, mostly to give our legs something different to do, but also to give the horses a break. What a wise decision!  The trail became very steep, very quickly, and we carefully made our way down, Flurry obediently following alongside me.  At the very start, GiGi was more concerned about scratching her head against Anne than where she was putting her feet, but after about 50M of serious scrambling descent, she seemed to realise that she should pay attention and was much better behaved.

Looking at the map afterwards, we could see that the trail dropped 300M in about 400M - I think that qualifies as steep!

Eventually, the trail leveled out and we reached a road.  We were pretty sure we knew where we were and thankfully we were right!  We came out near the Prieurie de Carluc, familiar territory to both us and the horses.

We arrived back in La Florentine shortly after six - just over three hours after we left - tired but very happy!

So why the frustration?  If I hadn't broken my wrist, we would have done this hack weeks ago.  By now, we would have ridden along the top of the Luberon, trekked via Montfuron to Pierrevert in the valley on the other side of the Luberon, followed the trail along the top of the Gorge d'Oppedette and explored the horse trails around Viens and "Colorado de Provence" at Rustrel.

Today was Anne's last ride before she leaves to drop the car and the dogs home.  When she comes back, we'll have just three days riding locally before we leave to start Le Big Trek.  There are just so many wonderful places we won't get to, so many trips we won't do.

Yes, we're frustrated.

PS.  Here's the Everytrail map.  I'm going to have to tweak my settings again, it's not sampling frequently enough now.

Ride through the bois at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find hiking trails in California and beyond


  1. Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome! Glad you are enjoying our blog, even if it's only slighlty dog-centric :-)

  2. So beautiful! Sounds like a perfect ride!
    Are you doing this again next year? You can hit the trails you missed then!
    I am excited about the big trek for you guys!

    1. Thanks Allison, it was pretty damn perfect alright! We're hoping the Big Trek will have plenty of days like this.
      I'm making noises about bringing Flurry here again, but Anne won't bring GiGi again - it's expensive to get them here and it's a long, long journey for the horses, especially an older lady like GiGi.

  3. Read all the way back through your blog - what a fun adventure yall have had, and so much more to come! Great pictures.

  4. That's a lot of reading Funder - weather must be bad out your way! Hope you enjoyed it and I sure hope there is more to come too.

  5. Was that Stoneybatter under another name? Looks great - Wishing Anne and dogs a safe trip home:) Lots more divine hacks to be discovered a la Belle France

  6. @shona it was indeed stoney batter and beyond, beautiful trails

    I have to echo all Martine's sentiments, regret that we've missed so much, relief that we're living the dream, hope that soon there will be only one horse to kit out with renegade boots every day ( Although in fairness to George he has been helping out when he can!)

  7. What a beautiful ride. Forget about the frustration and just enjoy what you accomplished. I'm green with envy -- trekking on your own horse in France. Wow!

    1. I know, I know, it seems wrong to be feeling this frustration, but that's what we're feeling!
      It doesn't stop us looking forward to Le Big Trek though!