My excuse is that I hadn't been on a hike for about 6 weeks! When I saw the weather forecast for the weekend (rain again, and thunderstorms), I decided to take Friday afternoon off and head to the Beauvais area (North of Paris), despite the very humid heat (35C/95F).
Well, it was a very stupid thing to do. Saint-Paul and the countryside around it were lovely, very green and welcoming (I must go back!)...
I loved Saint-Paul's old church too...
... but really from the start I realised it was going to be hard work.
It was very humid and way too hot for me. We aren't used to the heat in Paris, in total it only gets in the 95s and 100s about one week per year, 10 days at the most. I had brought lots of water, and a good part of the hike was going to take place in the woods, but that wasn't enough. The humidity was terrible. I was walking through clouds of mosquitoes and flies (those cows!!!), and I suspect I swallowed one or two!
(This plant is called arum maculatum, I showed it to you earlier this Spring at the flowering stage. Its berries are very poisonous!)
Also, my guide had described this hike as 'challenging', and in places it was, even by normal temperatures. I didn't take any pictures of these as I was focused on not falling, but some areas were very steep and extremely muddy. After 45 minutes, I was thinking of taking a break already. And I decided I was going to take all the time I needed, walking slowly, drinking as often as necessary... but still it was tough.
In the village of Saint-Germain, I sat in the shade before what was going to be the most difficult part of the hike according to my book. I had done a little over one third of the hike, but it had taken me twice the time it should have (over 2 hours instead of roughly 1)! I had already drunk almost 2 liters of water and my heart was beating like crazy. Time for a break, definitely!
It took me a while to feel human again! I was soaked. And as I looked at the pictures I had just taken, I saw the last few ones were completely blurred...
See what I mean? I think this helped me to see it was all getting a bit too much and I wasn't enjoying it! And I was not ready for 'the most challenging part' of the hike. So I studied my map to see how I could avoid the very steep and muddy area again, and went back to Saint-Paul, slowly.
The return only took me one hour, and I was glad. I was tired.
When I turned into the last path, the Chemin de la fontaine qui bout (path of the boiling fountain... which I didn't see... it might not exist anymore!)...
I knew Saint-Paul would soon be in view and I felt immensely relieved! And sure enough, a few minutes later, Saint-Paul's church appeared and I was back at my car.
Phew! I took time to relax before driving home, but I was still shaky well into the evening. The problem wasn't dehydration: I had drunk lots of water. But I shouldn't have gone on a hike by such a hot and humid day. Some people can probably do it, but I can't. Lesson learnt!
And now, let's start to think about my next hike!!! It looks like the weather might be good and cool on Wednesday afternoon, and I have lots of holiday left to take, so... maybe Wednesday afternoon, we'll see. You can tell I am already feeling better, can't you?
Thank you for reading!
P.S. If you like flowers, you might enjoy this blog I did when I visited a painter's garden in the same village, Saint-Paul, a couple of years ago: