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.
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.
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:
And finally discovered what was at the top of the hill:
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!
We climbed a stile that was to take us into the Cheltenham Badlands.
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!
The last part of the hike was very straight and mostly flat, until we climbed up to the Grange Sideroad.
And we ended the hike in the same way we started it! No , not with couture and croissants…. with MUD!
Next month: the Devil’s Pulpit and the Forks of the Credit. See you all then!