A day to myself

John was paddling again today, and Jackie went too, in the Topo Duo with Dan, so I was left to my own devices. I decided to try and find a path to the top of the hill behind the campsite and maybe visit some nearby petrified fountains.

They were paddling on the River Durance, directly from the campsite, so John and I had brekkie and got ready for our respective activities, while Dan and Zac shuttled Dan’s van to the end of the paddle. As I was walking away from the campsite Dan and Zac returned and, shortly after the this, the track I was walking along met the river. I decided to wait on the bridge and try and get some photos of them.

I waited and waited for about 20 minutes and had just put my camera away, about to give up, when they appeared in the distance. I took some photos and waved them off and continued on my way.

I had two maps with me. The road map showed an off road path through the woods called vIa Alpina, but the hiking map didn’t, and I was using both maps to try and find it. I failed at the bottom, although I did spot the path to the petrified fountains… more on that later. I ended up walking up the hairpin bens of the road instead, checking at each zigzag to see if I could find the path. There was a wooden post for the via Alpina on one road junction but it wasn’t particularly helpful because it just pointed up the road to another zigzag. At least the views over the campsite and the Durance were worth the climb!

Finally, I reached the end of the road. There were a couple of paths into the scrub and woods but they quickly fizzled out and, on my own, I wasn’t brave enough to attempt them. I’d already walked for 5 kilometres so I decided to head back down hill and visit the petrified fountain instead. John wasn’t going to be long so I wanted to be back to have lunch together.

I was soon back down the hill and wandered along the path to the petrified fountain. This looks like a waterfall that has turned to stone. It’s formed because warm water that flows from nearby hot springs seeps down into the ground taking buried minerals with it. When the water comes to the surface, it contacts the air and cools, causing the minerals to be deposited, creating the petrified fountain. There is just a small trickle of water but it was quite fascinating.

Unfortunately, I arrived at the fountain at the same time as a group of very noisy children who seemed to be on a school trip! I finished my water and headed back to the campsite. Sadly, John then informed me that they were delayed for a couple of hours. This was because they were meeting Liverpool canoe club who were running late. So much for dashing back so we could eat lunch together! I’m feeling a bit grumpy and unsure what to do with myself. I’d like to inflate the packraft and go out on the lake, but I’m not sure I can handle it on my own because there’s a strong breeze. I may just get a shower, read my book and have a snooze!

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