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

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Day 6 - Montbrun to St Auban

On our first night in Les Bayles, Cookie was very restless.  In the morning, we found her asleep on the inner part of her bed, with the outer part practically pulled over herself, so I remarked that she might be cold.  On our second night, the LSH (who doesn't like dogs!!!) covered her up, not only with a towel, but with his favourite sweater!  There wasn't a peep out of them all night!  Yeah, that's the behaviour of a man who doesn't like dogs!
The food in Les Bayles was once again outstanding.  We were the only guests dining "in" that night, and we were invited to join the family for dinner - this is a big thing in France, and we felt quite honoured.  For dinner, we had a homemade charcuterie plate (pate, terrine and tete de veau, which is like the English brawn) to start, followed by blancquette de veau - veal stew.  I don't normally eat veal, but it's different when you're dining in a family situation, and it was delicious!
Today, then, got off to an inauspicious start.  Anne was feeling distinctly unwell, and there were various burping noises emanating from the back seat of the jeep as we drove from St Trinite to Montbrun, our drop-off point.  She insisted she was fine, nothing was going to deter us today!
We were determined to find the horse-trail we missed yesterday, and had checked and double checked on the map so we were sure we knew where we were going.  We were dropped by a bridge, there was a dirt road leading off to the right.  All we had to do was follow this road and we'd join up with the horse trail.  Simple, right?
Well, the road became a private driveway, with a sign for the footpath pointing up a faint track.  We followed this track gamely, ducking under low branches as it climbed steeply uphill, until we were presented with a choice of two trails, one of which ended in some bushes and the other which went up a very narrow, steep, rough scramble.  Anne was not happy with either option, and I was not at all happy at the thought of going back down the steep ground and low branches we'd just travelled through, so I scouted up the rough scramble on foot.
Thankfully, it was really only rough and steep for about 70 meters, after that it levelled out, and I could see where it wound across the hill and joined a bigger trail, which I was sure was the horse trail.
So we led the horses up the rough bit, and God bless 'em, they were great, scrambling up behind us, never once launching themselves over-enthusiastically at it, which would probably have resulted in a Wagon being knocked down!  We finally joined the horse trail and took a breather!
At this stage, we'd covered about 1km and were puffing badly.
We continued onwards and upwards...and upwards...and upwards.
It wasn't exceptionally steep, but it was a steady climb, and it went on for ages.  Both horses were working hard to keep going, and there was not much in the way of scenery, a lot of scrub and rock, with occasional sites where someone had been quarrying for gravel.
Quarry on the way to Col des Arles
I remarked to Anne that this was not my favourite trail, in fact I thought it was quite boring.  Eventually we arrived at the top, 1027M up, having climbed 300 meters in 2 kilometres.  This was a welcome sight :
 but the spectacular views were even better.
Martine & Flurry at the Col des Arles
I was fascinated with this flat-topped mountain in the distance.  Our trail was to take us behind this and up the mountain behind it to the left.
 The sky was fantastic, adding to the beauty of the scenery below.
Eventually, 10km into the journey, we passed the point where we should have been collected the previous day.  We agreed that continuing yesterday would have been a mistake, as we would all have struggled with the climb to the Col des Arles at the end of a days trekking.
Flurry was enjoying the views, as usual.
We stopped for lunch at a tiny graveyard, which had the smallest church we'd ever seen beside it.
The closest grave belonged to Sophie Carre, who died in 1994, aged 10 - she would have been the same age as Anne's daughter Polly if she was still alive.  Spare her a thought, or a prayer, or whatever you do...
At this point, we were behind the flat-topped mountain - here's Anne and the equines finishing up lunch, with a very nice crag behind them :
 We skirted the little town of Pelleret, and started climbing once again.
View across Pelleret to the south

The last view of the flat-topped mountain
We crossed the top of the mountain, Mont de Croc, and suddenly a whole new landscape opened up beneath us, a bit rougher and wilder, perhaps, with a different sort of beauty, the mountains of the Drôme stretching away to the North.

 We were fascinated with this ridge :
There is one house situated along the top, with a single lane road leading up to it.  We didn't realise for some time that our route would bring us past the house, through their garden, and continue along the ridge, with jaw-dropping scenery to either side.
Approaching the house, view to the left

Anne & Gigi passing the house
View to the right, after the house
 Anne suffers from vertigo, and was determinedly NOT looking down at this point.
We ended up dismounting just after the house, as the ground was rough and the branches were low.
Finally, the trail levelled off, and then we began the long descent into St Auban sur Ouveze.

As we were riding along the ridge, we could see the road from Montbrun beneath use.  All of a sudden, what did we see but a blue jeep and horsebox - the LSH was on his way!  Unfortunately, I missed the photo by about 5 seconds - désolée!

The road winding into St Auban
So we arrived into St Auban, tired but elated.  After a pretty bad start, it turned out to be  the best day so far.  The LSH was waiting, and he knew that we would have broken the 100km mark, so he had bought a small bottle of champagne and celebratory T-shirts!  The horses got to eat the lushest grass they've seen for ages
and then had a drink at the town fountain - I really love this about French villages, they all have drinking water for horses!

 We've now ridden in three French Départements, Alpes de Haute Provence, Vaucluse and Drôme, covering just over 100km.  Tomorrow we leave Les Bayles and relocate to Aubignan for three days, which is a detour we are doing along the way - it's a sort of pilgrimage for me & Anne!
We are all getting fitter, and although Anne and I still walk a fair bit every day, just to give our legs and bums a break, we're not suffering from cramps and aches as much as we were at the start.  The horses seem to be coping fine, although we might plan on an easier day tomorrow... we'll see what the forecast is like in the morning.

If you're enjoying following our journey, please consider visiting our charity page and donating a few euro to the program for Assistance dogs for children with Autism - a great charity, and the reason we're doing Le Big Trek!

The Everytrail map for today

Day 6 Montbrun to St Auban at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find hiking trails in California and beyond


  1. Lovely report ladies. Thanks again.

  2. Chapeau! Martine, Anne, Flurry and Gigi - what a wonderful idea. Looks as if the weather is holding too. Best of luck!

    1. Thanks Margaretha, cold today with snow on the mountains! Ick!

  3. What do the people in the high house do for a living? They hardly commute'!!!!!!!! I could not like a person who does not like dogs....well done George.

    1. They looked kinda back to nature/hippy types, if a little mature.... re AA, um, I suspect they won't trouble us, re and it's requests for information, don't worry, we know where you live.... xx

  4. Hi Cowgirls, watch out for a herd of AA being taken by road, through France, to Kazakhstan to build up the local herd there. They seem to be able to handle the low Temps. Let's hope it's the start of a cattle export trade....

  5. Wow some of the images in this post are amazing. It's making me feel like I need to get away. I am so happy to see you're using The Monster 50 badge. Keep up the great work and all the best with the rest of the ride back.

    1. Thanks Chris, we are proud to be in the top 50 pet blogs!

  6. Outstanding photos. The blog is great -- and so are the two of you to undertake this amazing adventure.

    1. Thanks Leah, hope all is well in Reillanne

  7. Just back in from evening stroll. It may be because of the mild Winter, but the birdsong is only magnificent. I called to Kingsland the othere day (Tansy still alive), and there was a blackbird close to your house belting it out. He may have been using a 50Watt Amplifier........Grass is a bit on the long side.....

  8. I am to old to try and pay using the just takes to much time. Don't worry as I have allowed for 50cent per Km

  9. The photos are incredible - we are enjoying following your trip so much!

    1. Thanks Clive (and Murray & family), this was our favourite day so far.

  10. your place is really amazing, the scenery is relaxing and beautiful heights, I wish we will have a vacation on your place :)

    Dog Shock Collar | Puppy & Human Bond

  11. Hi Faith, we don't live here, just passing through! France has some fabulous scenery.