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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Like Here, Only Different ~ Day 3 Slot Canyon Adventure

Loop hike above Merindol to the Gorges du Regalon back down to home base.
  14Km 6 hours gain 575m

Today I took a loop hike out through Merindol, up onto a high plateau then down through the Gorge du Regalon.

Meridol overlooks the Durance valley and was home to a Christian spiritual movement in the early 1500's. The original town was destroyed but the people survived by fleeing up into the hills, like I did today.  The new Merinol was built down slope from the old village and remains a center of agriculture.

The ruined town is the first stop on my hike.

The track gains up to the top of the ridge.  The vegetation appears to be like sage and rabbit brush.  Careful examination shows it is wild rosemary.

I met a lot of plants and flowers, the type of which reminds me of Kittitas County dry shrub steppe.  Wild thyme

This flower looks like a rose but has soft fuzzy leaves and no thorns.    It is Narrow leafed Cistus, Cistus de Montpelier

And of course handsome bugs galore.

The way wandered westward, gaining and losing little altitude.  In and out of trees of pine, juniper and oak.

I found three different orchids.

A reader has kindly identified these as Cephalantera damasonium, White Hellborine , Orchis purpurea , Lady Orchid , and my favorite , Limodorum arbortivum , the Violet Limodore

Regalon Gorge is narrow and in many sections you can touch both sides of the slot.  There are many signs warning of the danger.  The stones have grown quite smooth and slick over time.  When it rains it is truly dangerous.

It is in this cool damp canyon I see moss and ferns for the first time.

About 30 minutes into the canyon I noticed that the birdsong (thrushes) got very loud.  Rounding a corner I came to this magnificent cave.  Look carefully on the lower left.  The signpost is about 10 ft high.

A fun surprise all along the way was tiny white snails clinging to most everything.  It was like the were waiting for rain to revive them.

Escargot and rosemary.

The weather was cloudy and comfortable.  It sprinkled a little bit as I walked through the canyon.  Sun broke through as I finished my trail walking and I navigate on roads back to the B&B.  Tonight I have dinner at the hotel owners restaurant.

I was up there and the brink of the canyon is on the left.  The trees are olive and if you look closely you can see poppies in the ryegrass.

Tonight I am at La Bastide dou Pastre again.


  1. Check out those orchids! I feel your excitement.The Cistus does look like a Rugosa Rose.....beautiful.

  2. On almost all of the walks this week there were at least 3 different species of orchid to see.

  3. Hello,
    very nice finds. I'd identify those as Limodorum abortivum, Cephalantera damasonium and Orchis purpurea.


  4. Martin Thank you for you expert eye. It reminded me to get in and re-orient these flowers. i did not have that ability when posting remotely