My spring hike along the Sentier Blanc-Martel along the base of the canyon of the river Verdon in the Alpes-de-Haut-Provence
Just a hike along the bank on the river Verdon, except that most river walks aren’t along a gorge with 750m of limestone rock immediately above the path. The Sentier Blanc-Martel commemorates investigations which would have resulted in a hydroelectric power scheme that would have submerged all of this gorge and more. Something called World War One diverted attention and happily the scheme was never revived, although there are other dams and schemes upstream taming the river Verdon.
Canyon walking starts downhill at dawn. The air is warmer in the base of the canyon than at the rim. So the experience of hiking is somewhat different to climbing a hill. The Sentier Blanc-Martel is served by a navette (shuttle minibus) making it popular walk from one end to the other and also making to a traffic jam in the middle at the midle of the hiking day. Not using the minibus gave me a useful flexibility in schedule.
Maybe not so thrilling as “conquering” a peak but there’s a high point in the middle, now assisted by a long iron ladder, with stunning views of La Mescla, the confluence of the Verdon and Artuby rivers and the Couloir Sampson.