Hooray for Civilized Descents, July 9, 2011
Stage 10, D54 (St-Etienne-de-Tinee à Bousieyas)
10.17 miles, 4,625’ up, 2,260’ down
Go to this map and hover over the triangles to see where the stage we just completed is relative to the entire trail. (The stage beginning and end locations are probably backwards, as we are doing the trail in the opposite direction.)
On the way to Col de la Colombienne
Many of our descents into towns have been incredibly steep and treacherous (at the end of a long day, of course). Even if there is a lovely country road winding its way gently down the mountain, the trail has to cut the switchbacks and head straight down - more efficient, yes, easy on the legs, no. Today, by contrast, both of our descents were mostly on the gently winding country roads (roads which have not seen a vehicle in decades, by the way) and we have named them "civilized descents." We like civilized descents!
Plenty of up today, up and over two passes, always surrounded by incredible views. Mid-day, we passed through another charming medieval village, St.-Dalmas-le-Selvage, known for the fresco sundials painted above its doors. The residents of this town clearly love their landscape; there was great informational and directional signage.
End of the trail today found us in the abandoned hamlet of Bousieyas. Some enterprising young people have renovated the abandoned buildings into a lovely gite, beautifully decorated. We have our own room, accurately dubbed by other hikers as "the Buddha room." I am especially appreciative of the great-smelling body soaps and lotions available in the shared bathroom spaces. (Not to get too gross, but trekking does not generally make people smell good. Just sayin'.) And, even though the many stairs up to the gite were not welcome when we arrived this evening, they were the beginning of the steep climb first thing tomorrow morning (meaning we've already done them).