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I did it!!! I did a 5-hour hike today!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

OK, I'll say it... I am PROUD. Today, although I am still many kilos above the obesity level, I walked for 5 hours (roughly 20K/12 miles) on a sometimes very steep path. And it was hot too! (31C/88F). But nothing was going to stop me! It had been my aim to hike for 5 hours before the end of the year. But I knew that today, I could do it...

So, I went to Compiègne, a little town North of Paris which has a gorgeous forest and a castle which isn't too bad either! :)

As for the forest, I went for a hike there last year in November and truly enjoyed it.

But the forest is so huge I know I can go back many times and never walk in the same paths!

I parked near the castle and enjoyed the castle's gardens...

From the castle, here is the view on the 'esplanade'. (I walked that way on the way back and, although it was hot, with no shade at all, it was great to see the castle slowly appearing...)

As soon as I left the castle's park, I was in the forest...

But above the first path I took (which was quite a long one), there was this structure. I guess when the castle had its imperial hosts, there must have been beautiful flowers growing on it... roses maybe? or wisteria? Any other suggestions? :)

Can you see what looks almost like a white cross in the distance?

Here is a closer view:

The emperor Napoleon the 3rd (1808-1873) had all these signs built into the forest at many crossroads so that the empress, Eugénie, could ride her horse and never get lost. Isn't it clever?

There are some flowers left on the paths, but there are less and less (apart from all the gorgeous heathers which were like a carpet in Ermenonville's Forest during my hike on Friday evening, of course!).

The Armistice Glade in Rethondes (where the armistice of WWI was signed on 11 November 1918) was the Northern point of my hike today. Always very moving...

(The Monument represents an eagle pierced by a sword.)

Back on the path... sometimes easy...

... sometimes tough...

On the morning, a trail had taken place in the forest. I was so glad I went hiking in the afternoon and not on the morning like I had thought I would do at first! Imagine sharing my hiking path with hundreds of runners... :(

I guess the paint on the grass will disappear fairly soon. But I hope they remove all the plastic signs this week!

The last part of my hike was probably the busiest (I saw people!!! hehe! some walking, some cycling...). The hottest too, as there was no shade at all. But it was gorgeous...

This is the 'esplanade' I had mentioned at the beginning... It was amazing to know from the start the castle was there somewhere in the distance, and to slowly see it appearing.

I like this photo of the sun playing in the tall grass...

But my favorite is probably this one:

This young boy had chosen the best place to stop after his bike ride!

One last view of the castle in the early evening light...

Many thanks for reading! I think I'll sleep very well tonight! Have a beautiful week!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1003 days ago
  • KAREN91
    I'm going back and reading your previous blogs because I love your pix. I think you must love history, flowers, and castles. I can relate, as those are some of my interests as well. Thanks for sharing your hikes and your country as well! I post every day the things I'm grateful for - one thing I'm thankful for is your pix! emoticon emoticon
    2026 days ago
    Congratulations on meeting your goal! The pictures and beautiful areas you photograph are awesome! Thank you for sharing them with us. Lucinda
    2036 days ago
    wow, magnifique ballade et record!
    2042 days ago
    wOw!!! You have every reason to be proud. Lovely blog. emoticon emoticon
    2042 days ago
    Congratulations, Claire! I know how much that goal meant to you and I am so happy that you achieved it. And wow... what a beautiful area to achieve it in! The pictures are incredible as always. Thank you so much for sharing your special achievement (and the rest of the journey!) with us!
    2044 days ago
  • AGK3112
    Nice. Your pics are really great and your hiking place is also nice. Great. Keep Enjoying your hiking..Take Care and have wonderful weekend
    2044 days ago
    Congrats on your beautiful 5 hour hike!!! emoticon emoticon
    I always think of castles having turrets! This place again reminds me of Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice - Darcy's sprawling estate. Regardless it is one awesome building! Love the walk up to up- how it opens up all the way to it!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2045 days ago
    WOW!!! You most certainly should be proud!! To make a 5 hour hike is no easy task. But, I knew you would meet that goal - I had all the confidence in the world!!
    The castle and the woods are gorgeous. I would love to walk there too. And, how much fun would it be to ride there on horseback? Emporess Eugenie must have loved it.
    Thank you for sharing your victory with us!! I am very proud of you, too!! Many congratulations, along with many hugs!!
    Sending you lots of love from Tennessee!!
    Oh, and a special thank you for the lovely sparkgoodie and sweet note. I always love to hear from you. You always make me smile and brighten my day.
    2045 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    I have been so busy that I have only just got round to reading your wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing your walks with us all. I feel as though I have gone with you but without the effort! emoticon
    2045 days ago
    Wow looks like a great hike! The castle is very pretty. I'm so happy that you are able to do the hiking that you so love. Congratulations!
    2045 days ago
  • 69NURSE
    emoticon emoticon Thank you for sharing this beautiful adventure with us. 5 hours is a very long walk, but one worth every step. Congratulations on a job well done.
    2045 days ago
    It seems everywhere you go there is such spectacular pictures! You are lucky to be in such a beautiful part of the world! Thank you for all your lovely blogs.
    2045 days ago
    5 hours emoticon I love the garden. So many different flowers and colors.
    The feathery blue is a great contrast to the peachy and yellow flowers. Would the structure be strong enough for grapes? That was my first thought. Or maybe a Morning Glory type of vine. I like the signs in the road, and yes, a great idea. My Grandfather Hickok name is Eugene. Again, probably pronounced differently. Thank you for the pictures. You should be proud! emoticon
    2046 days ago
  • JENNA54
    this looks gorgeous Claire. What a marvellous effort, well done!
    2047 days ago
    I'm SO proud of you too! Well done! And what a fabulous hike! Your pictures and the weather are gorgeous. I'm so glad you took us with you on this wonderful afternoon.
    2048 days ago
    You deserve to be very proud for hiking for 5 hours! I love the signposts and the story about Napoleon and Josephine. I hope too that they take down the plastic tape. Do you call the yellow flowers black-eyed Susans? That's what we know them as. I gave some cuttings to Siobhanand Will this spring for their garden. Tristan and Nathan, Will's 4-year-old twins, have paintings of these flowers above their beds. They were painted by the boys' great grandmother, who has since died.

    2048 days ago
    Beautiful pictures of your memorable hike! Yes, I do love how the castle appears to come closer and closer in view. I love the historical markers built by Napoleon and the memorial of the armistice !! A wonderful blog!!!

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    2048 days ago
    Sounds like a great hike!!! Congrats on the distance PB!!! Great accomplishment! So what's planned for next week?
    2048 days ago
  • KIMPY225
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    That sounds amazing! I love the pictures too!
    2048 days ago
  • SWAN47
    Looks like a beautiful day for hiking. I haven't hiked since my big hike in August. Thanks for sharing such beauty. emoticon
    2048 days ago
    Beautiful pictures!
    2048 days ago
    Congratulations on your hike and thanks for sharing the photos. As always, they're gorgeous!
    2048 days ago
    It sounds wonderful! It would such a joy to live near so many wonderful places to visit. Great job on the LONG hike!
    2048 days ago
    Wow I am so happy that you met one of your goals! That's amazing! And with the heat too. The pictures are so beautiful. It would have been diffiult with all the runners so it worked out well for you. You are doing so awesome!
    2048 days ago
    I understand how proud you are of yourself for this amazing accomplishment -- and I am proud of you too! Nothing can stop you now.
    2048 days ago
    How beautiful! Do you think the arbor maybe once was for grapes for the wonderful wine/Champagne you folks are so good at producing? Nah, probably too tall for that, but it could hold a tremendous amount if it was a grape arbor. And congratulations on soldiering on through the heat to accomplish your goal. Job well done!
    2048 days ago
  • AGK3112
    2048 days ago
    Good morning! I bet you did sleep well! FIVE HOURS, you really should be proud! Have a lovely week. emoticon emoticon
    2048 days ago
    WOW!!!!! What a hike and the pics are beautiful! Great job:)
    2048 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    Hiking is a fabulous way to explore a place or community -- wish I was there with you:)
    2048 days ago
    Congratulations Claire! WOW! 5 hours/20km! Well done! Love the photos and especially the signs in the forest.
    It just so happens that we are going to National Gallery to see an exhibition "Napoleon: Revolution to Empire" tomorrow afternoon. That should be a fascinating story of Napoleon Bonaparte through 300 artworks including paintings, sculpture, furniture, textiles, porcelain, gold & silver, fashion and jewellery.
    Ania emoticon
    2048 days ago
    Beautiful as usual.
    congrats on the long hike. well donr. emoticon
    2048 days ago
  • BAKER1009
    Wow Claire, that is absolutely beautiful. My how I wish there were hikes around here I could take where I would see this type of scenery! For now, I'll just have to live through you and your beautiful blogs!
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    So proud of you for accomplishing a goal you set out to do! Keep up the great work!

    2048 days ago
  • DMF2012
    2048 days ago
    that's terrific! and how beautiful - just love your photos. congratulations on your accomplishment!
    2048 days ago
    Congratulations!! what an exploit!!! and it looks lovely.

    2048 days ago
    You did it! Congratulations! Well done! And what a beautiful place! Nice pics! I would love to be there and join you the next time! Keep up the good work! Have a nice week! emoticon emoticon
    2049 days ago
    5 hours? 20 km? Of course you should be proud of yourself! It was like a hiking half-marathon! Well done, Claire!
    From today's photos I really liked the signs in the forest and the monument with the eagle - so touching!
    Thank you for my morning virtual trip to Compiegne! I really enjoyed it!
    2049 days ago
    What a beautiful hike and those pictures are truly beautiful.
    You will sleep well tonight. Five hours is an amazing feat.
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    2049 days ago
    felicitations! that's great! and it was gorgeous.
    2049 days ago
    Congratulations!!! Thank you for the beautiful writings and the pictures! INCREDIBLE!!!
    2049 days ago
    I'm so jealous! I walked 12 miles today, too, but your scenery is so much more beautiful than mine (in Wisconsin). :) Congratulations!
    2049 days ago
    And congratulations on meeting your goal.
    Happy trails.
    2049 days ago
    Only once did I try a 25K walk.....never made it to the end, had to be picked up and deposited at my car!

    CONGRATULATIONS for pushing yourself and walking for 5 hours!! WOW!!
    2049 days ago
    5 miles! Good for you! And such lovely photos.

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    2049 days ago
    Congratulations! 5 hours is no easy feat, but it really helps to have beautiful views all around you!.

    You should be proud of your accomplishment.....and start planning your 6-hour hike!
    2049 days ago
    Claire, I love reading your blogs and looking at the pictures. I feel like I was there with you. You give wonderful descriptions and the things I am learning just amaze me. I am sure that watching the castle get closer and closer kept you motivated; plus you needed to get to your car. LOL Walking that distance is truly amazing and I am happy for you that you met this wonderful goal. I look forward to our next hike together. emoticon
    2049 days ago
    This is emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    There is a emoticon in my mind for you right now... keep it up dear friend... all your goals are within reach emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    I spent a very lazy day at home... then we decided to cook and eat outside in the porch... not to mention I had one to many glasses of wine... don't regret it one drop though... LOL emoticon
    Sending love and emoticon from SC...
    Let's have a great week together...
    2049 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/9/2012 7:33:59 PM
  • JACKIE542
    What a beautiful hike, a great trail to get your 5 hours on. Time must go quickly when you are in a beautiful place, Congratulations!
    You are so lucky you went later for your walk or you might have had to start running, with the runners, lo.
    Thank you for taking us along. Sleep well. emoticon emoticon
    2049 days ago
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