July 17, 2008

Day 7: 20 April- Aumont-Aubrac to Rieutort-d'Aubrac

It was an early start - 6am - with all the men in the room 'needing' to get up then though they were all still around for breakfast at 7.15am! This was the only down-side of this gite: I was placed in a dorm room with all men!!!

I guess I was hoping for some 'bleak' on the Aubrac Plateau
and I was granted my wish in grand dollops.
There are not many photos today as my camera was buried deep in my pack for protection against the wet.
I was aware it could have been worse... perhaps snow... or a strong wind... even harder rain... but for the last 10km the rain was incessant and it became clear my over-trousers were not much more than 'shower proof' useless in the circumstances!
My pack was saturated, but my NZ pack liners -designed for the rain- worked well, and all my clothes inside remained dry.

The weather deteriorated with the day.
At the village of Finieyrois, and the preceding one
there were signs telling you to respect the privacy of these people, not to sit and picnic in their fields and gardens but to pass on through to the picnic area at the end of the second village. The growing popularity of the Chemin must be a cause of angst to these inhabitants who for so long have lived so remotely.
It was a shame the toilet was so firmly locked when I reached the picnic area though, as a dry place to change a layer or two would have been welcome on such a day!
I got my full share of bleak today.

In this mountain village
there was also a monument to celebrate a local peasant boy
who survived Buchenwald
and who became a bishop in the Peruvian Andes
standing up for the poor.
The walk to Rieutort d'Aubrac was along a wet slippery track and I had to be careful. At a high point when I was already saturated I could see the white yurts of the next gite in the distance. It seemed like a contradiction to have such a traditional design for the Mongolian cold, its colour a distraction in this landscape.
But I was glad all the same to be able to see the end of the day ahead of me and on arrival I instantly stripped off all my wet clothes, changed, and gratefully ate a hot bowl of soup.
The yurt was cosy and warm against the cold night and I slept comfortably, though fitfully, as I was nervous about the conditions I might yet have to walk in alone the following day.

2012: 10 May --> Nasbinals
Well, what a difference a year makes. I know I was walking some three weeks later than in 2008, but still, the difference in the weather astounded me. I didn't need to stop for the cold- it was the heat I needed a break from this time!
 I could see all the stone farmhouses on the Aubrac Plateau this time around.

 I had to get a photo taken in my t-shirt on the Aubrac Plateau: about now on my previous walk I was saturated and cold, and hypothermia was more of a problem.

 There were many fields filled with daffodils on the plateau. 

 The temperature must have been around 30C, and there wasn't much in the way of shade- so I was feeling quite hot and tired by the time I finished the 26km to Nasbinals. (In hindsight, I might have preferred to split the day and stop at Les Gentianes near Finieyrols, but I guess I wasn't expecting the good weather to last.)
Here is the beautiful church at Nasbinals. I stayed in the gite comunale, and a lovely elderly lady walking with her husband gave me a magnificent foot massage. I thought of them often in the days to come: it had been a dream for them to walk the chemin, but they were finding the reality harder than they had expected. I hope things went ok for them.

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