April 27, 2014: Dirty Girls!

After our sojourn in Paris yesterday, spirits were high as we embarked from Winston Churchill Blvd, heading to the Grange Sideroad.

It turns out that Paris was not about to leave us alone.  A vision of haute couture greeted us at the parking rendezvous, proffering fresh croissants (City Cafe Bakery – the best!) and a passable French accent.

Voulez-vous un croissant ce matin?

Voulez-vous un croissant?

Back into the woods we went, like little Gretels, deeper and deeper into the forest.   Once again, we were faced with navigating the destruction from the ice storm.  We clambered  over it, under it, through it, and around it.

Under the fallen tree

Under the fallen tree

A few words about mud.  This section of the trail was by far, no question, unequivocally the muddiest path we have ever trodden.  We started out with lots of mud:

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No place for clean freaks here!

But the sun was out and who can resist a sunny day in the woods!

But the sun was out and who can resist a sunny day in the woods!

This was a particularly pretty little pond, one of dozens that lined the trail

This was a particularly pretty little pond, one of dozens that lined the trail (and contributed to the mud)

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A cool cowgirl sitting on her mossy saddle.

We climbed up...

We climbed up…

and up...

and up…

and up!

and up!

And finally discovered what was at the top of the hill:

More mud!

More mud!

And a beautiful forest!

A beautiful forest!

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A tree with wizened gnarly roots!

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Some happy customers!

And some freaky fungus!

And a batch of freaky fungus!

Now, we all know that serious hiking is supposed to be about self-denial, suffering, dehydration, starvation, deprivation, hallucination, long hours of misery dragging one’s battered and bleeding carcass over  impossible terrain, etc., etc., …. But thankfully, none of that happened on this hike!  Instead a mirage appeared on the horizon.  A sign offering fresh cider and wood-fired oven baking.  Delicious aromas!  Could it be real?  Apparently so!

The Ladies stop for a treat!

The Ladies stop for a treat!  Butter tarts and chocolate and cornbread and pastries and sparkling cider and rare cheeses and sausages.  No deprivation on this menu!

We climbed a stile that was to take us into the Cheltenham Badlands.

 

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Showing her style on the stile!

However, we were disappointed to find that the trail skirts the edge of the badlands and we never really got to immerse ourselves in the badness.  So we had lunch on a boardwalk in a swamp.  It was not an ideal lunch spot, but once the French wine and cheese appeared, nobody cared!

Lunch in a scrubby swamp

Lunch in a scrubby swamp

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Lunch al fresco. Note the glass of vin rouge in the background.

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This was the only glimpse of the badlands that we had.

The last part of the hike was very straight and mostly flat, until we climbed up to the Grange Sideroad.

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14 km and still happy!

And we ended the hike in the same way we started it!  No , not with couture and croissants…. with MUD!

Would any laundry detergent company like to sponsor us?

Would any laundry detergent company like to sponsor us?

Next month: the Devil’s Pulpit and the Forks of the Credit.  See you all then!

About idreamoftobermory

Hiker, kayaker, canoeist, cross-country skier, cyclist, wanderer, adventurer.
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