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

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Day 12 - Poêt Laval - Saou

All members of the team, equine and human, really relaxed at Le Gué.  There's a lovely atmosphere there - it is run as a farm, they grow all their own vegetables and have chickens, geese and sheep.  There was a very friendly ram, confined to a stable.  His duties are complete for the year, so he will be kept away from the herd from now on.  There were also a couple of ewes and lambs in pens - I have never seen such friendly sheep before, they were all happy to come over for a head scratch!
Facilities for the humans were a little basic.  Our rooms were in the attic of a building that used to be used as an orphanage, it dates from the 18th century and has the feel of an old building, a little cold and musty.  Nonetheless, we were comfortable and well fed - home made pate and paella for dinner, and in the morning, we were brought down to the main dining hall for breakfast.  Breakfast consisted mostly of bread, as did our packed lunch - doorstep-sized slices of bread, with a thin layer of jambon!  Unfortunately, neither Anne nor I can eat a lot of bread without facing fairly dire consequences later in the day, so most of the bread was fed to the birds.
We left Le Gué, promising to return - at €95 for the night for the whole team, it's by far the cheapest place we've found, and we were all made feel very welcome.
Our very first emergency happened about 2km down the road.  Flurry is thriving on the work, he is getting quite fit now and he was feeling good in himself as we rode down the road towards the woods that would bring us to Dieulefit.  When a car passed behind us, he thought it was a great reason to get excited and galloped off for a couple of strides, with Gigi following behind wondering what the fuss was about.  Anne saw something fly through the air and thought Flurry had lost a boot, then she looked and saw he still had four boots on, and realised that he'd broken a boot completely - the heel captivator was gone, but the boot was still on his hoof.  On inspection, we saw that he had pulled the cable out, and of course our spare boot was in Anne's rucksack in the jeep.  One quick phonecall later, the LSH was on his way!  We put the spare boot on, and although it's a bit big it stayed on for the day.  
The map we are currently using doesn't have the horse-trails marked, so we were following a walking trail, which brought us right into the middle of Dieulefit and straight up a very fancy pedestrian shopping street.  I'm sure we weren't meant to be there, but hey, that's the way the map brought us! We got many curious glances, and some grumbling from an old man, particularly when Gigi lifted her tail and disgraced us on the lovely ornate cobblestones.  Anne quickly got to work with the rubber gloves and a plastic bag, and tidied up the mess, remarking that it puts puppy poop into perspective!
We left the town behind us and started climbing into the hills.  We never got a view which overlooked Dieulefit, but this is looking towards the ochre cliffs we passed the previous day.

We wound our way along a steep hillside, following a narrow path, which had a steep drop to the right.  There was mostly scree on the hillside, with a lot of scrubby growth as well.  We had to dismount to open a gate, and the path was too narrow to remount, so we walked for a good distance.  I was quite enjoying it, and didn't realise that Anne was not - she still hasn't recovered from the fright of Gigi nearly falling down the hillside two days ago.  So when we stopped for lunch, we had a quick confab and changed our route plan for the day, to try to avoid any other really steep paths.  This meant that we were following a road for quite a bit - the boring but safe option, so long as Flurry didn't object to any more cars!
The forecast had been for a dry but windy day, so we had both opted not to bring coats.  At this stage we were regretting this decision - the wind was very strong at times, and yes, that's snow on the distant hills!
We had a flock of savage horse-eating sheep to contend with near this chapel, as well as the very strong winds, so we danced and jogged along the hill-top for while, until we started to descend once again and got into more sheltered ground.
We rode through lovely birch woods and had a major spook incident with both horses, caused by two shetland ponies who looked very cute to me and Anne but must have looked absolutely ferocious to Flurry and Gigi, given their over-reaction.
We came across this very elaborate tree-house, which reminded me of Myst and reminded Anne of the tree-house in Hook... this is just one end of it, there were three sections in all, including a lookout post.
We were once again following horse balisage at this stage - the blue and orange signs which mark the TRADAC route, TRAvers du Drome A Cheval.  The route took us past this chateau and down a long hill, into the garden of a house and then the balisage disappeared completely!  
Luckily, a pickup truck followed us into the garden, and we asked the driver if the route continued.  He said yes, but it was very steep and narrow, and in his opinion, not suitable for horses.  So we made our weary way back up the long hill, and followed the road which took us towards Le Poet Celard.
From there, we had a view South towards Teysierres, where we were two days ago.
The snow-capped mountain is the one we rode along two days ago, where Gigi had her slip.  We have been very lucky with the weather, there have been two occasions where snow fell the day after we were in an area, and although it has rained a few times, we haven't had a really miserable soaking yet - fingers crossed. 
After Le Poet Celard, we started to descend into the valley of the Roubion river.  We briefly picked up another horse trail, which went through some fields - a nice change from the usual stony trails.  Then we were back on the road again, heading towards Saou, and although we managed to get off the road briefly, we were stuck with roadwork for about 4km.  We had been travelling for close on eight hours at this stage, and were really feeling it, despite having walked several times to give our legs and the horses' backs a break.  We weren't so exhausted that we didn't enjoy the scenery, though, Saou is set in a landscape that looks like it came from the Grand Canyon.

Impressive, eh?
Finally we arrived, looked after the horses, and found that this gite has a BATH!!!  Best gite ever!  A glass of wine and a hot bath later, we were both feeling human again.
Best news of all, we had managed to cover 35km, by far the longest day we've had so far.  Tomorrow we're planning on an easy day, the horses deserve it, so we will box the horses part of the way and ride the rest.
The Everytrail map is for Day 11 and Day 12 combined.  I wasn't able to upload Day 11, so I ended up combining the two.
Days 11 & 12 Teysierres - Poet Laval - Saou at EveryTrail

1 comment:

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