Hiking in the Durdogne – Day 2 – Carlux to Sarlat-la-Canéda

There was rain overnight and more fell on me as I climbed out of Carlux. I hastily pulled out my garbage bag to wrap the top of my backpack. It smelled of bug spray, as yesterday I’d sequestered the busted can of Off in it. But, well, any port in a storm.

The rain was intense but brief. The exit from Carlux was the same as Souillac. The path went from busy paved roads to quiet paved country roads to a rutted dirt road beside orchards or fields to a single trail through the woods. The GR 6 led through some local logging operations today. In fact, I had to improvise a detour because the prescribed trail ran through some clear cuts. The official GPS file did not reflect local conditions.

A van is dwarfed by piles of narrow logs.

I saw a fox on a logging road, trotting along ahead of me. He turned and saw me, took a good look and then trotted off into some brambles.

As someone who must know the origins of their next meal, this trip is presenting a lunch challenge. I start walking about 8:15am and have arrived at my destination at about 1:30pm. Any self-respecting French restaurant won’t serve me at that hour. They close at 2:00pm. So, I’ve been cobbling together lunch from the local grocery store and bakery. This means I’m carrying my food, which is fine, and I suppose it’s fewer calories than your average French menu du jour.

There was no one else on the trail again today. Have I just chosen a terrible section of the GR 6? But when I think back to previous walks in England and Ireland—both in September—I hardly saw anyone on the trails then, either. Maybe I just have an unpopular hobby? I’m grateful, as the solitude is a key appeal of these trips.

I passed the Château Le Paluel, currently undergoing reconstruction. The 20th century was not kind to it. In the 1930s, a terrorist group stored weapons in it. In 1944, retreating German troops set fire to it. In 1980, the corpse of a Bordeaux drug trafficker was found at the bottom of a well on the property. It changed hands many times. These days, apparently a Luxembourg-based company owns and is restoring it. As you can see, they’ve got a ways to go.

Sarlat-la-Canéda is a charming medieval town. It’s a bit like Dubrovnik or Carcassonne, but in a less impressive setting. While not packed, there are plenty of tourists around and I heard my first North American accents in a few days.

My allegedly healthy knee gave me some trouble today. So now I have two lousy knees. There’s plenty of therapy tape to go around. Tomorrow I leave the GR 6 to head south across the Durdogne river to Domme.

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