Out for a walk

On Friday I went for a hike. (There’s probably a better definition of the word but I consider it a hike versus a walk when there’s no pavement.) I’ve been hiking a lot but this was going to be my longest excursion yet – somewhere in the 4-5 mile range – and long it was. In surprising ways.

I generally use the satellite view in Google Maps and get a decent picture of the countryside. I take a screen shot and email it to myself so the map is on my iPhone. This way I don’t have to run up my data usage while I’m out and about. Here is what I’m talking about. The yellow lines are paved roads but the white lines are dirt or gravel roads, if that.

I try to go somewhere new each trip and Friday I did just that, but after about an hour I hit a Propriété Privée sign on a gate and there was no way around. There were vineyards but those don’t usually have fences. Maybe this was a labo d’amphet.

It would have violated the spirit of my “somewhere new” effort by going all the way back to the main road so I turned around and went just as far as the last fork I’d passed. I had an idea of where that led but only a vague idea. “Vague idea” turned out to mean the path was rocks, all rocks, and walking was a little like playing hopscotch. Smaller rocks are easier on the feet than jagged blades sticking out of the ground like punji sticks.

My “vague idea” also tested the limits of my endurance. Here’s what I mean.

Clay’s hike, 15 February 2013

Best I can figure, I ended up walking about seven miles over the hills and five or six miles on the highway. I counted that as my week’s cardio. A nice thing about my detour was that it took me into different microclimates where I saw new bits of French flora.

Once I came down from the hills the walk was fairly easy. I just followed the highway, stepping aside now and then to avoid being swept up in the wakes of the big trucks speeding toward Spain. But the scenery was not all behind me.

At one point I came upon a young woman sitting on the side of the road. From a distance it looked like she was waiting for a bus, but as I approached I saw no sign indicating a bus stop. Also, I noticed that she was sitting not on a bench but on a folding chair. Odd, I thought.

Reality didn’t set in until I was close enough to see her attire. A black sequined almost-top, a clingy black skirt (just a wide belt, really), black fishnet stockings and red platform pumps with heels in the double digits indicated to me that Mademoiselle was not waiting for a bus. I deployed the universal method for avoiding interaction and pretended to take a very important phone call.

A mile later I encountered another roadside sitter. She was dressed much like the first, except with black leather boots going up to her hips. Conveniently, another important call from Headquarters came in, relieving me of the obligatory Bonjour.

In all I passed five of these one-woman rest areas; two of them had their own cars. I cannot report on their attire.

Four hours after leaving home I returned, muscles aching but with the day’s chastity unbesmirched.