So, I kept on walking and it didn't seem too long before I came to the Puy d'Olloix, in my own head I pronounce this as 'poi delloy', this might not be right but for those readers who would generally have a preference for saying what they read please feel free to follow my example, although,maybe that 'x' is of more significance than I give it credit for.
On the way I saw some beast:
I will talk more about these later. I also saw some horses:
Or maybe I should say 'they saw me'???
I also saw many sheep but there is no picture of them as they were all out of focus, but that was probably more my fault than their's. But what I can saw about the sheep is that a few of their number were wearing bells and they made a 'clanging' sound as they walked which resonated a fair old way, and although I have never been there I could see how one might mistake some features of this life and country with an alpine one.
It must have been about half ten by now and I was on the path which skirted the Puy d'Olloix, and although there was no official footpath up the hill, I could see there was no stock up there, so I nipped over the fence and stomped up to the top, it was a roundish sort of thing but the sides were steepish and I was quite out of breath by the time I reached the top. I got a great view, with the sun behind me I could look out on the Massif, and, looking east, with the sun above, I could see a succession of slowly diminishing hills bathed in a brilliant light, getting hazier and hazier toward a truly distant horizon.
I stopped for a while and looked down whilst having a bit of fruit and a nut or two. I could see eastward no shortage of human settlement and I fancied the terracotta rooves looked more Italian than French, though having never been to Italy this hypothesis remains untested, and of course - how could France look more Italian than French?
I didn't take any photos at the top but I did film a little bit so maybe some day I will put a link of the view.
I ought to mention also that, although I am no ornithologist, I did see some large birds which I took to be eagles, I have just tried to get a photo together ( from a still in a video) but it doesn't seem to be working... more later - perhaps.
So I made my way down from the top of the hill, basically I backtracked, and I came down into the village/town of Olloix, in France it is hard to tell the difference, life is so sleepy, and the civic space so well maintained... I mean here is a picture of Olloix, I think you will agree it is immaculate, I cannot imagine seeing anything so well looked after in the UK (where i'm from).
At this point I had a choice: I could either turn and sort of start heading back, after all I'm more of a walker than a hiker and have little enthusiasm for masochism, or I could do a little walk north of Olloix down into the gorges of the river Monne. Although it was getting quite hot by now (an unusually warm day in April) I pressed ahead to go have a look, and even though all the way down I was partially thinking 'is this really worth it?' it was amazing down there in them gorges.
A drop of about 100m, and all in all over 300m from the top of the Puy I found myself in this environment of cascades, very noisy with it, a hugely powerful river, powered by the melting snow a long way off, but also modified for us humans: a path at the bottom of the gorge with strong ropes bracketed into the rock for the part where you have to step over the water, I was incredibly energised, and I bounded along as fast as my sense of security could carry me. I didn't take any pictures as you had to be there, but I did take one of myself at the end looking pretty pleased
So I had a good old investigation of the gorge and then I had to climber my way back out again. On the way out I passed a young family and then I realised I hadn't seen another living soul for ages, and I thought that this could be the reason I was finding everything so straightforward, anyway more difficult issues were at hand....
I was about to endure the most difficult hours of the day.