Today we start another adventure in France with a six-day bicycle ride from Cadillac, near Bordeaux, to Arcachon on the coast, riding through vineyards, visiting Chateaus and shady forests.
We’re spending three nights at a delightful farm house, just a few kilometers from Les Eyzies. Nice to put our feet up after logging 100+ kilometers on our seven-day walking tour of the Dordogne. Already dreaming about where my feet might take me next.
We found this place through Rich Steves’ guide to France; not AirB&B as I mentioned in a previous version of this post. I’ll have to give this place a high rating; I’ll have more to say in a future post. We went into town for an afternoon tour of the Font-de-Gaume, one of the better known caves in the region. Photography is not allowed in the caves, so the best I could think of was to photograph some postcards that represent what we saw in the caves. Exquisite examples of poly-chrome Paleolithic art.
Our walk today took us from Carennac to Loubrassec, logging 16 km walking through woods, across meadows and past the hamlets of French farmers. We took an un-planned detour when we got to the tourist location of Gouffree de Padirac. The literature says “the most famous cave in Europe.” The price was right, 12e, and there was no line, so underground we went for a 2 km boat ride on an underground river. A refreshing side-trip from the heat of the afternoon. Then back on the trial. Keep on walking. A dip in the pool at the hotel was a refreshing end to the walk, followed by a five course meal. Exquisite! \
Spectacular display of wildflowers in Death Valley
The news reports are calling this years wildflower bloom in Death Valley a “superbloom;” the best show in a decade. I was able to carve out a few days last week to make a quick trip. If you are going to Death Valley you might want to check out the park website page about wildflowers. There’s also a link on the page to check out the current conditions. Last week large sections of the valley were carpeted with Desert Gold, the bloom working it’s way north. The wildflower display will likely continue into April, as the succession of flowers takes place. It’s quite a site to see what’s usually bare rocky soil awash with yellow.
Some advice for looking for flowers; get out of the car and walk. I took a walk up a wash, and found a patch of flowers I wanted to photograph. When I stopped, all I saw were the stalks of Desert Gold. I sat down on the ground to get a good vantage point, and while I was on the ground, I started seeing plants that I hadn’t seen when I was standing. Many of the plants where just putting up flower stalks, with flowers yet to come later in the season.
I’ve posted a gallery of photos from my trip. Here’s a link to a selection of wildflower photos.
I’ll be posting more about my trip over the next few days, so stay tuned.
Log of the Shearwater. Drake’s Estero. I’ve been trying to get my kayak, the “Shearwater,” on Drakes Estero since mid-December. The estero closes from March 1 through June 30 for seal pupping. This weekend looked like a good opportunity. The weather was looking promising, with clear skies and no wind predicted, and the tides were such to give us enough water to paddle over the sand bars without dragging out boats over the sand, which we have done on occasion. High Tide of 5.6 ft at 10:45 for Blake’s Landing (Tomales Bay). We need about 3 1/2 feet of water to be able to paddle without grounding on the shoals. I was bound and determined to go, regardless of who were to join me. Solo or not. Decided I would get an early start, up at 7am, and Joann announced she would join me. Happy to have a paddling partner. Had the boats and gear ready by 8:15, dropped Carson off at Metrodog, for doggy day care, and we were on the water at 10:15, launching from the bearch at Drakes Estero. We were surprised to see that all signs of the oyster farm were gone, and least the shore based operation. No buildings, no piles of shells, no dock. No sign that they had ever existed, except for the power poles. We paddled out to Drake’s Beach, arriving on the beach at 11:25, just shy of four miles from our launch. Ate lunch on the beach. Joann was anxious to get back on the water to paddle back before the tide dropped, so without dallying long, we were back on the water paddling at noon. Met one hiker on the beach, and passed a row boat on the way back. Very quiet on the water, with a few stand-up-paddle boards and kayaks near the launch. But we didn’t see anybody else on the water. Perhaps with the Super Bowl, people are have other priorities.
Returned from our paddle feeling refreshed and tired. Nothing refreshes me quite so much as being outdoors, paddling, hiking, or just enjoying nature.
Here’s a link to the track for the day’s paddle: https://www.gaiagps.com/public/ygSek3gORXFfAkS7nAWcos1Y//
I was in Cleveland last week…