Anniversary Trekking Part 1
The LSH and I just celebrated a significant wedding anniversary that ends with a zero. We wanted to do something special to mark the event.
Well, why not take the horses away and go trekking somewhere? We’ve only been talking about doing this since we came back to France! So that’s what we did. Originally, we planned a one week trek right after the anniversary. Then the LSH was asked to attend a trade show that week, so we changed it to a one week trek right before the anniversary. Then I realised that if we went away for a full week, I would miss the Joucas Equifeel competition. I’ve already missed one (thanks to me, Aero and the trailer all being ill last February) and this one was the Départemental Championship… I really didn’t want to miss it! So we agreed to cut the trek short. We would leave on Monday, the day after the competition, stay away for three nights, ride every day for four days and then come home.
But where would we go?
Les Bayles was our very first stop on Le Big Trek and our very first taste of the French Gîte Equestre. We were impressed – you can read all about it here.
It’s not very far from us at all, so we decided it was our first choice.
We still had a transport issue – the jeep would not be repaired until late in the week – but fortunately the nice people who loaned us their truck for the Equifeel competition said we could also take it up into the mountains for our trip. That’s why the picture I used in my last blog post shows Flurry in the truck –
It took us just over an hour to drive from the horse farm to Les Bayles, which is on the Plateau d’Albion, right beside Mont Ventoux.
We settled the horses into their paddock, put our bags into our room and headed off for lunch in nearby Sault.
Lunch was just a salad, because we’ve been at Les Bayles before and we knew what to expect food wise that evening!
Then it was back to base, tack up the horses and out for a short-ish ride. A mere 13km, as it turned out.
We were aiming to make our way to a little church, Notre Dame de l’Ortiguière, about six kilometres away.
The trails were a real mix – grassy, gravelled, very stony and roads, but both horses were great, striding out happily all the time.
Flurry was barefoot and Aero just had his front boots on, but they both felt perfectly at home on the varied ground. We made a point of dismounting and walking every hour – this helps both horse and rider ease their muscles into the rigours of day-long treks, and it really worked. The LSH hadn’t ridden for ages, but he had no ill effects at all after the three days of riding.
Flurry is pretty good at standing still while large pieces of paper are rustled around behind his ears, so the LSH was the designated map reader. I just went where I was told. It wasn’t my fault that we didn’t find the church – or that we got a bit lost when we tried to find a different route back to Les Bayles.
Aero felt like a seasoned trekker throughout – unperturbed by almost everything, apart from hysterically barking dogs locked up in cages, a flapping tarpaulin and a very scary unidentified rustling noise deep in the woods (that one scared me, too). He also had a hissy fit caused by some Mouches Plates at one stage. Horrible, horrible things. I ripped their heads off with gusto.
Oh yes, and the scenery was good, too.
A great start to our trip, we agreed.
Dinner that night was as substantial as expected. An aperitif of pickled mushrooms with grapefruit wine, an amazing mushroom omelette as a starter, beef stew and apple tart to finish. Our horses would have some extra weight to carry next day…