Sunday, October 21, 2012

VAISON-la-ROMAINE: les Dentelles

VAISON-la-ROMAINE: les Dentelles

It was a beautiful warm and clear day - a day meant for mountain climbing. We did just that; well, mountain hiking anyway. The Karlsens and Lucases had finally arrived in Vaison to hook up with the Bells. We three couples rented a house for two weeks. Our most memorable outing was the day we hiked up the Dentelles des Montmirail.

The trail began as a gentle climb through a pine forest. We carefully made our way over, under, and above tangles of roots and branches. As we approached the rock wall,  the trail became more challenging.  We paused from time to time to decide whether we should continue on.

Not all of us had the right footwear and the path was not always well marked.

But we passed others along the way and got some guidance and encouragement.

The photos pretty much tell the rest. They capture some of the thrills of the climb.

The Dentelles are a jagged range of toothy, craggy peaks that can be viewed  from as far as the eye can see. 

And the view from up here is one of verdant undulating hills  carpeted with vineyards.

Note the peak of Mont Ventoux  way back on the right.

Dentelles is French for "lace", and that name was well chosen. From below, a kilometre and more away, the peaks have the appearance of lacework. Regrettably, I don't have that photo.

This rather small range, according to the naturalist sign at the base of the trail, originated 200 million years ago as a mixture of clays, salts and limestones.

The Dentelles lie along a fault line that runs from east of Vaison-la-Romaine westward, past Avignon and into the Pyrenees.

60 million years ago, the Dentelles were thrust upward. The shapes we see here are the result of millions of years of weathering.

 I am looking down toward the village of Gigondas, then turn around for a photo of the group just below. This is as close as I get to the hole in the wall.

We picked a great day to do this hike. The Mistral can be so fierce up here we'd have been blown off the rocks like flies.

Colin and I make it up to this big hole in the wall. Through the  window we look out toward Chateauneuf du Pape.

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