Carennac: Keep on Walking

Woke up feeling a bit stiff and sore, but once I’ve got my boots on and walking, I’m feeling content. The aches and pains and anxieties seem to go away. Today’s walk took us from Beaulieu to Carennac, a distance of 16.4 kilometers. Started the day with a blister on my left foot, but that doesn’t seem to bother me once I’ve gone down the trail about 20 minutes. Keep on walking.  Dinner at the Hotel Fenelon was an extraordinary five course French meal on the patio of the hotel, with a seafood bouillabaisse, goose in Foie Gras sauce, cheese board, and walnut parfait. A delightful walk through the French countryside followed by an exquisite meal.

 

 

 

Beaulieu: The Joy of Walking

I’m never quite so content as when I’m walking. Perhaps I’m just a restless soul, but put me on a trail and I feel at home. Something about walking that just soothes the soul. I’ve lived in the same house for some 30 plus years, and even when I’m at home reading a book, there’s a part of me that’s just anxious to be moving.

For our walk today our innkeeper drove us to an overlook above the ancient town of Curemonte. From there we walked to Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, a distance of eight miles. At the start of our walk we met a woman who stopped to chat. Not that we could understand much of what we said, but her enthusiasm communicated enough. It’s clear she wanted us to know the delights of the local environment. From there is was up a hill, past farms, down into a valley, across a stream, and on over hill and dale, through woods with a light rain until we reached Bealieu. A delightful walk.

 

Meyssac Loop – The Road Less Traveled

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Today marks the first day of our Macs Adventure Walking Tour, an eight mile look from Meyssac, through woods, past farms, and to the village of Collogne-la-Rouge, an ancient town noted for red sandstone buildings. Our adventure had us on a variety of narrow country roads and ancient and well worn foot paths. A warm and sunny day, but we spent the better part of our walk in the woods, we had cool shade and a slight breeze. As we left Meyssac, we passed one farmer standing in front of his house calling his dogs that wanted to let us know who was in charge. Then we followed the postman for a bit up the track as we left town, once out of town though we didn’t see a single person on the trail. Once we arrived at Collogne-la-Rouge we were back among the tourists, although tourist season being over the town seemed more or less deserted, and while the town is very interesting for it’s architecture, the main economy seems to be tourism, and I find looking at tourist trinkets to be rather boring. Much more to share, but the hotel has rather limited bandwidth, so you’ll just have to stay tuned for the next post.

From Paris to Meyssac

My travel blog is not going to be in Chronological order. We left Paris by train this morning and arrived in Meyssac this afternoon. Tomorrow we start a self guided walking tour of the Dordogne region; a tour offered through Macs Adventures. Stay tuned in for more info.

Happy Birthday NPS!

Trees reflecting in the Merced River. Yosemite National Park.
Trees reflecting in the Merced River. Yosemite National Park.

I just want to say thank you to those that had the vision to create our National Park System; conservationist Stephen Mather, J. Horace McFarland and journalist Robert Sterling Yard, as well as those in Congress that voted the act into law, and President Woodrow Wilson who signed the bill on August 25, 1916. The bill created an agency “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” With the many challenges the future brings, let’s hope we can keep these natural wonders four generations to come.

Book Review: The Oyster War

 

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I just finished reading The Oyster Wars by Summer Brennan. I was drawn to this book when my brother left it with me following a visit a few months ago. I’ve had some interest in this story for some time. The location where the Oyster farm was is one of my favorite locations to go kayaking. I have a brother who is himself an oyster farmer (not the one with the book), and having studied marine biology myself, I was quite interested in science behind the story.

This turns out to be quite a compelling story about the fate of the Drakes Bay Oyster company. And also an intriguing analysis of how various interests can play into commerce and environmental issues. The author provides some background, going back to the oyster pirates of 1897 and the days of Jack London.

To be honest, I have followed this issue only remotely while it was developing, aware of some of the issues, and hopeful that the oyster farm and the National Park service would find a way to live together in harmony, protecting the natural resources while permitting aquaculture to continue. After all, if you can have cattle on the land, why not ousters in the Estero? Nevertheless, Having read Summer’s book, I’m inclined to believe that the oyster farm had no future operating in a wilderness area.

If you have any interest in environmental issues, commerce and culture and how those forces might collide, I recommend this book.

The biggest lesson I learned from this book can be summed up in a quote Brennan provides from Tom Strickland:

“I think that the situation has been hijacked by interest groups with different agendas who have spun out narratives that have no relationship to the facts.”

This seems to apply to any number of issues we face.

 

Family Time!

With a father that’s now 95, I think my two brothers and our families are realizing that we need something more than visiting dad to keep us together. We recently got together on Whidbey Island where my brother Kurt and his wife Beth have a house.  A perfect setting for a reunion, with 28 acres to play in, including beach, woods, meadow, and hiking trails within a short distance. With a bountiful garden fresh seafood we had a lovely time. Dining on fresh crab caught in the harbor, oysters from Kurt’s oyster garden. We managed to get most of the kids, and Aunt Sue in on the festivities as well. Each of the brothers,  Arlen and Kurt and myself each have two kids and we managed to get all of them to join us, with the exception of two, my daughter and our foster sister Laurie, both of whom were not able to get time off of work. I think we tend to be an independent clan, we have varied interest, and it seems we’d rather go our own ways most of the time, so getting  the group of us together is a challenge, and I think the two years we spend in dialog and planning paid off. If you want to see a few more photos from our get-together click here.