Sunday, September 15, 2013

Les Pins Blancs

Beach along Cavalière Valmer Rd
After a full week of vacation, I was ready for a run. I usually don't bother to bring running gear with me, but this is also the first two-week vacation I've taken in more than four years. Nowadays that's far too long to do without.

Sidewalk above the beach
I found a boxed set of walks in Provence, and searched out the one closest to the house where we're staying. Surprisingly, it was right down the road. Even better, there's a surprisingly long network of trails, making for varied options in the coming days.

Map at the trailhead: Vous êtes ici!
I was nervous about getting lost, since so many little false trails head off the main one, and you can't always tell if you're going out to a viewpoint and dead end, or just a short alternate path that will meet back up with the main trail. Luckily, there are lots of signs with directions and distances to main points of interest.

Trail climbs up past Gigaro Beach
Since it was the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday, the narrow coastal trail was pretty crowded. I often got stuck behind a couples walking, deeply engaged in conversation; I'm not sure how to say a polite French version of "on your left."

L'îlot du Crocodile-- tiny rock island that looks like a half-submerged crocodile
It was nice to catch my breath and take in the views from time to time, because there were lots of stairs-- climbs up and down, carved into rocks right by the water and big blocks of wood set into steep hillsides. 

Boats anchored in a quiet inlet
While the trail along the water is small, twisting and technical, the route I took to return was a wide, dirt and gravel road. It was well-graded and less crowded, but not exactly smooth going-- rutted and overgrown in places, with fewer views but a welcome change nonetheless.

Many trails, well signed
I can't wait to try a few more trails and destinations next time!

Steep, rooty steps
More steep stairs to climb
Views of the Mediterranean from up high
Wide gravel road trail, with tree-covered hills in the distance
Views from the road
Selfie near the top/ Les Pins Blancs
Some good distance options for next time
Sweeping views of rocky bays and inlets
Nike+ map of my route

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