I was now traversing several causses, high limestone plateaus crisscrossed by rivers that have cut more or less spectacular gorges into it. The whole area had looked quite uninteresting on the map but turned out to be very nice. As there are no water sources on the plateau agriculture is not possible and the vast area is mostly used for grazing. There are hardly any settlements and consequently no traffic on the narrow country roads. A big advantage for me! I had had a hard time piecing together a route through this area and because there weren't many hiking trails I had to refer to a lot of road walking. And this turned out to be very pleasant roadwalking: No traffic and great scenery. Unfortunately the weather was mixed. Although I had some sunny days of hiking I also encountered lots of fog and drizzle. In Le Puy I had bought a blaze orange cap, mostly to warn hunters of my presence but it came in handy for roadwalking in the fog, too.
I finally reached the GR 71 where a new problem was waiting for me. In the village of Ceilhes a small sign announced that the GR 71 had been rerouted. It just said a couple of villages the trail ran through now and otherwise recommended to follow the trail marking. Great! This is the sort of surprise that doesn't make me happy. A quick look at the map revealed that this was am extensive reroute. I would beer on unknown trail for at least a day. My biggest problem in this situation is that I don't know the reason for the reroute. If it had been rerouted just for better scenery I could still follow the old trail and be on the safe side concerning mileage and duration. But if the old trail had become impassable for whatever reason than I had to follow the new trail and hope it would not be much longer than the old one. What annoyed me most was the fact that this was the only trail section I had the most recent maps for and still they were pretty useless now.
|Trail closed - no detour|
|Canal du Midi in Carcassonne|
In a week I will cross the Pyrenees into Spain. The crossing should not pose any problem and is described in all guidebooks as doable year round. After that I hope to be out of any time pressure. I hope to be so far South now that the approaching winter should not have much of an impact any more. Only towards the end of my hike in the Sierra Nevada in Andalusia I will climb up so high that snow could become a problem - but this is still way ahead. Right now I am looking forward to sunny Spain....