November 6, 2016

This has been the final work weekend in Lacoste, and I went into it with not much left on my to do list to get done… After spending Friday afternoon writing my final Art History essay, making a final presentation, and finishing up my last journal entries in my art history and photo journals, all that was left of Saturday was to finish up my work in the print shop. I polished, cleaned, and reground the plate I had been working on for the past week, made a few more prints with that before creating an entirely new etching on the back of the plate and printing that. Five hours later, I had had enough of the printshop and headed back to my room to sit for a little bit before dinner.

Today is Sunday and boy has it been a day… It all began with my grand idea to hike to the top of the Petit Luberon yet again and watch the sunrise from the cliffs of the Cedar Forest… 

The journey began when I woke up at 4:30am
I got dressed, searched for the house flashlight (that I did not find), and was out the door…
I greatly underestimated how dark it would be at 5:00 in the morning because when I got outside I realized it was pitch black and they don’t really do street lights around here…
So I started running (with my phone flashlight held out in front of me) because for some reason I thought I was going to be late for the sunrise if I didn’t hurry (I ended up being an hour early.. but we’ll get there) 

I got to the trailhead in record timing and almost wet my pants when a rogue grocery bag unexpectedly blew out from behind a dumpster. I then ran up the hill only slightly frightened for my life in under 45 minutes (the last time I climbed up to the cedar forest it took me an hour and a half…) about halfway up not only was it still very dark, but the fog/clouds had set in and I could no longer see more than 3 feet in front of me (even with my flashlight), my calves/hamstrings/back were burning and my heart was pounding… cue the Real Fear. The entire time I had been playing Ben Howard through the speaker on my phone to break the intense silence and also scare off any potential wildlife… (wild boars are apparently nocturnal and I had almost convinced myself that one was going to spring from the trees at any moment) 

Eventually I got to the top and the main road of the cedar forest - I was looking for a specific path that we took the other day when we came up for travel photo - of course I still couldn’t see anything and I wasn’t really sure which random side road/path it was so I walked all the way down to a sign I know we passed, turned around and walked back until I saw this weird thing in a tree that I pointed out last time, and then took the next path… I’m 99% sure this was the right path, however we had taken a detour off the path to this cool spot where you could see the natural bridge, but there was no way I was finding that, so I wandered down the path I was on for a while (because even though it was only 6:30 and the sun wasn’t gonna be up for another hour), and I wasn’t going to stop walking and face the fierce winds that were blowing straight through me (oh yeah at this point it was pitch black, foggy, and windy) eventually I realized I wouldn’t be able to see the sunrise that well from where I was so I turned around and headed back to the main road. 

Luckily by the time I got out there it was starting to get a little bit brighter, so I walked all the way down to the parking lot, eventually found my way out to the cliff and realized the sun was about to break through
I set up my camera(s) and enjoyed about an hour of the sun passing in and out from behind the mountain in the distance and then layers of clouds - it was really beautiful (and despite my struggle totally worth it, I felt like I earned it haha) 

 Eventually my hands were freezing from messing with my camera and things and the sun was high enough in the sky that it was light enough, so I decided it was time to start moving again. And thus begins the journey back to Lacoste…
(Keep in mind, the last time I hiked to the Cedar Forest it took me 2 hours to get up, and 1 hour to get down….)
This time I was just wandering down the main road and eventually realized that I missed the trail I took up - however there were a couple times that had trail broken off, so there must be other ways to get to it right ? (spoiler alert: wrong) 

I started down on the yellow trail anyways…..
I mountain-goated down a very steep rocky path for about an hour (hello quads), eventually realized this was not where I wanted to be, decided I definitely was not about to turn around, kept walking, made it to the bottom of the mountain, saw the Abbey we visited the other day for class across the valley (that was a 40 minute walk from Lacoste), took a dirt road for a while, which lead to a regular road, and then I found myself back at the trail head (yay!!) however instead of just taking the road up the way I always go, I decided to try and take a short cut (bad idea) I took this dirt path, which lead me to another smaller dirt path, which kept getting progressively smaller, until it essentially disappeared… at this point I thought I knew where I was (I did not) and pretty soon I was completely off of any path, in the woods, with no sight of Lacoste.
I fought my way through a lot of trees and bushes until I finally saw Bonnieux (the village across from Lacoste) through the trees… I followed that to where Lacoste should be and eventually realized I was on the completely wrong hill…
So after cutting through someone’s yard, taking another dirt path, climbing up a sort-of-rock-face, I found my way back to the original road and finally got back to Lacoste after two hours….

For those of you who made it through the saga - enjoy some pictures from the sunrise…!

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