23 January 2011

Hiking past the trees in winter

There was supposed to be a randonnée pédestre this morning, we thought. I'm not sure how to translate randonnée. A hike? A walk? The Robert dictionary defines the term as a « Promenade longue et ininterrompue. » I guess. It's an organized event. People participate by going out and hiking or walking around on the local dirt roads and paths through vineyards and woods, at their own pace.

Of course we do that every day with the dog. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon.

The woods in January, just down the hill from our back gate

Two or three times a year, crews (or maybe just individuals) come through and paint arrows on the ground and pavement at different strategic points, showing people which way to turn or not turn if they want to stay on the hiking path. They did that over the past few days. They also put up little signs at critical junctures, with little arrows on them. They'll come and take all those down tomorrow, probably.

Trunks of pine trees on the east side of the vineyard

This time, the path comes down the gravel road through the vineyard toward La Renaudière, our hamlet. Right behind our house, beside the communal pond, it turns downhill past our back gate and into the woods where we usually walk with Callie in the afternoon. In the morning, these days, we walk out into the vineyard. That pattern changes with the seasons.

Clumps of mistletoe in a stand of trees down by the river

This morning I took the dog out into the vineyard, fully expecting to run into groups of hikers along the road. But there were none at all. I just looked out the window and there still is no sign of anybody hiking. Maybe it's just too cold for people. There are also no hunters — I suppose the Sunday hunt was called off because hikers were supposed to be out among the vines. It would be dangerous.

Apple trees in our back yard in January

Callie of course didn't know there were supposed to be hikers, so she wasn't disappointed. If she had seen hikers, she would have run up to them to greet them excitedly. She probably would have tried to jump up on some of the people and kiss them. It depends on the person, though. Some she won't approach, and some she treats like long-lost friends, or saviors. I don't know how she decides.

Trees and the bay laurel hedge around our yard a day or two ago

I'll keep an eye out. Maybe the hike starts at noon, or at 2:00 p.m. it could be an afternoon event. Or maybe the cold weather has kept anybody from participating. People don't all walk together in a big herd, but in smaller groups, at their own speed. Usually, at the end of the hike there will be refreshments, offered up by the mayor or one of the associations in the village. I hope they get some participants today.

The pictures here are just some recent photos of the local trees in wintertime.

P.S. At 11:00 a.m. we have seen maybe as many as 25 hikers come through the vineyard, in little groups. So the event is not a washout. Actually, it's a beautiful day outside, though chilly.

The people in this picture are hiking
with a little black dog.


  1. Hunting season finished last Sunday in Provence.

  2. What you do with Callie in the morning and in the afternoon is probably a "longue promenade" but it is certainly not a "randonnée." The latter takes much more time and effort. Probably hiking is closer to what it is than walking. It might be a day long affair.

    It is interesting to notice that by saying [Robert] "une promenade longue" the emphasis is put on "longue" whereas if you say "une longue promenade" the emphasis is much less on "longue" but rather on "promenade." Go figure! Same as "un homme grand" and "un grand homme" [a tall man and a famous man] or "une grosse fille" and "une fille grosse" [a big girl and a pregnant girl]. LOL

    For those people like me who can't publish their comments because the verification word doesn't show up in the box, you just type a string of letters as if it were the right ones and click on Publish your comment. Obligingly, Blogger tell you — you knew it — that you typed the wrong word and even more obligingly gives you the right word. You're back on square one! Isn't electronics marvelous?

  3. I'm glad some walkers have arrived. The organized walks seem like a good idea to me. I wish we had those in my community.

  4. Ditdit, hunting season might be finished here too, but I haven't checked the dates at the mairie. Hunting season often ends at the end of January.

    CHM, oui, une promenade longue -- that's a hike, I'd say. Glad you figured out how to deal with the word verification. I wonder why you don't see the first string. I always do, on my computer. But my mother, who had DSL, says about half the photos never come through. I seldom have problems with seeing photos on blogs, and I don't know why she does.

  5. I would say that randonnée corresponds to the English English ramble (as practiced by the Ramblers Association) - hiking or trekking in the southern hemisphere.

    Hunting season certainly hasn't finished here. I was surrounded by at least three quite noisy hunts this afternoon in the orchard.

  6. Years ago, when I was in the Loir-et-Cher in November I asked about those green balls of leaves high up in the bare trees. A local told me that the plant was called, "Le bois de Sainte Croix", and that they harvested it using shotguns. Have you ever seen such a "Chasse au Gui"?

  7. chm, Thanks for - "Same as "un homme grand" and "un grand homme" [a tall man and a famous man] or "une grosse fille" and "une fille grosse" [a big girl and a pregnant girl]." That's very useful. When I don't get a word verification, I click preview without entering anything and then, as you said, it gives me a word. How do you say, More than one way to skin a cat., in French? :)


  8. BettyAnn,
    In this particular context I'd say: "Tous les chemins mènent à Rome."

  9. CHM, ici dans la région, nous disons que tous les chemins mènent à Romo. Romorantin, bien sûr ! Je vois dans le Collins-Robert cette expression : Il y a plusieurs façons de plumer un canard.

  10. Thanks for "to ramble" and "a ramble" and "rambling", Susan. I'm not sure we use them the same way in America, but they say what they say. They are in the Collins-Robert bilingual dictionary too, for the French randonnée pédestre.

    A Rambler was a U.S. automobile of the 1950s.

  11. Dean France- I didn't know that mistletoe was called le bois de Saint Croix.

  12. Hi Dean, and Evelyn, I didn't know that name for mistletoe either. There is so much of it around here. One apple tree just outside our property has been completely engulfed. There is some in a couple of our apple trees too. Those trees are probably pretty old and probably not going to survive much longer.

    No, I've never heard the expression La Chasse au gui but I have heard people shooting it out of tall trees.


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