Cyril and I spent last weekend with Cyril’s lovely aunt and uncle in Die, France (pronounced Dee). We spent a day hiking from the Col de Rousset ski resort to the Parc naturel regional de Vercours. It was a lovely, long hike, with decent elevation changes, even though we were on a plateau.
The view driving up to the plateau in the morning was a bit ominous with the fog spilling over the cliffs.
Luckily the fog cleared up after an hour or two. On the way back it was fun to see the view we had missed on the way there.
At times, it was so pastoral on the top of the plateau as to be ridiculous, with the baaing of sheep, mooing of cows, and ringing of cow bells. We also encountered some herding dogs along the trail. They rendered the scene a little bit less idyllic when they came up aggressively barking and snarling in order to protect their flock. We had to slowly back away and take a little detour to avoid them.
After three hours we made it to our goal, the Plaine de la Queyrie, a high prairie (Altitude 1800 m, 6,000 ft) with a single majestic tree. We were thrilled when we saw the tree because we weren’t sure if it was still going to be there. Cyril’s uncle had heard that it had been cut down. The prairie was impressive because I have never seen such an immense, green space without any sign of humans or human development.
Gophers were the real kings of the area. We spotted several, and more often heard their sharp barks echoing through the mountains.
My favorite part was the wildflowers! The diversity, especially on the Plaine de la Queyrie, was astounding.
I would have spent a lot more time taking photos of the flowers, but we had a train to catch back to Paris that evening and we couldn’t dawdle.
If you know the names of any of the unlabeled plants let me know. Also, feel free to correct me if I mislabeled something; sometimes the species are difficult to tell apart! 🙂