* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Thursday, August 14, 2014

TTF - Nature's End of the World

Tripping Through France - Chapter 6

Cascade 1Doc Leo loves Google Earth.  He surfs it whenever he can for as long as he can.  Then he likes checking out as many Panoramio photos as he has interest (and time) for.  He gets a lot of enjoyment out of seeing all the places he'd like to go himself, as well as how all the places he's already been look.  Over the years, he's probably found where most of you live if he's ever been there (or even if not).  On one of his virtual trips, he came across this little detour he surprised me with.  I hope you enjoy visiting it with me.

Cascade 2
Yum, yum, such a tasty lunch
We parked in the lot, then started walking through some woodland, while I still had no idea where we were going.  Along the way, I came across a couple of butterflies playing around.

I am not very good photographing moving objects, so I was very pleased to end up with this lovely specimen.  I wish I'd gotten a good one of his orange companion, but I'll settle for this one!

We kept walking through this field with this beautiful view of these limestone cliffs.  My camera did not play nice with the natural light at the time, so hopefully the colors aren't too muddy looking.  My panorama stitcher program worked fairly nicely, though.  I don't know if you can feel the 3D effect I tried to capture.  It's called a cirque, something I don't understand enough to explain, so I found this: A cirque (from a French word for "arena") is an amphitheatre-like valley head.  What's a valley head?

Cascade 3
The cliffs of the cirque of the Bout du Monde

Finally we got to the end of the road.  Literally.  This kind of landscape is called a reculée , which translates to either blind valley or steephead valley (I never heard any of these terms before), so I'll quote an explanation that definitely describes the kind of area we were in: a blind valley is a long valley through a limestone plateau which terminates suddenly in a cliff face, at the bottom of a limestone amphitheatre, where a river resurfaces.

La cascade du Cul de Menevault

What you are actually looking at here is a cliff with a pretty feeble waterfall and some miniscule people at the base.  I found pictures from other people with much more water flow, including one with a totally frozen blob of ice.  It apparently depends on what time of year one visits as to what one encounters.

Next to the waterfall was this odd looking piece of rock.  Some site called this tufa or travertine, which just means it was formed by certain natural conditions involving rock density and water.  That's deep enough for me, especially being in French!

Cascade 5
Between a rock and a hard place

It was hard to capture the actual waterfall.  Despite the lack of water, it was still pretty interesting.  I think we were there at the wrong time of day for the camera to really see it well; I've seen other photos much more brilliantly in sun.  At the top, there is this really weird protruding part that apparently stays moss covered, and must be especially so at other times of the year.  You can see this up close in the first picture, while you can only see it in the shadows in the second one.

Doc Leo is standing at the base in the second one, and you can see the hole at the top of the picture indicating the top of the cliff.  There was almost enough water to go behind the fall and yet stay dry.  At other times, apparently it's for the water-loving adventurous.

Someone on a French blog described the current condition as "even the waterfall is a victim of the recession."

Cascade 6
Trying to be a waterfall
Cascade 7
Man and nature
As we were heading back to the car, I happened to catch this cyclist heading towards the cascade.  You can see the cliffs behind him, as I guess we were walking through the "amphitheatre"!  There are a lot of hiking paths all around, it could have been fun to spend a bit more time exploring other aspects of the area ourselves.
Off to see the waterfall

I suppose this wasn't the most spectacular of natural sites we've ever come across, but sometimes the little surprises off the otherwise hectic beaten path, void of the madding crowd, provide a bit of chicken soup for the soul.  It was a pleasant little diversion, and I hope the difficult-to-get pictures managed to capture a little of the ambiance for you, too.

You may find the next segment of our trip a bit more spectacular, so don't go too far away!

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful place! You are doing so fabulously with your uncooperative camera. At least there's a little water in that waterfall. We are sooooo drought-ridden right now that we're deciding what to let die as far as garden goes. We're not liking it. France is green and beautiful and you look great!


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