Day 3: Albugue to La Frayssinette via Coupiac

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

By now I was used to the leisurely pace and presented myself for breakfast just before 9am. I did have fresh coffee, milk and a coffeemaker in my room, so I’d enjoyed a cuppa beforehand. Croissant with homemade jam, some cheese, homemade apple juice (Michel made 182 liters of the delectable stuff from his last harvest). While I made my lunch, Yvonne printed and laminated the map and route description for the day. I would have like to have had it the night before to be able to read it all, but as it turned out it was probably a blessing in disguise that I didn’t read it beforehand. The situation later in this story around a Hamlet called Le Mazet will explain that. The only thing I noticed was that I’d pass the farmstead La Calm again and Yvonne called them to ask them to contain their dog as myself and at least two other would pass there.

On the trail by 9:45am under a lovely open sky; what more could one ask for – in the South of France. The first 3 or 4 kilometers were a reverse of the end of my first day’s walk. A short distance before I started heading south towards Coupiac I was on a new path. Lidy and Hans, who were walking the same route, were ahead of me, so I was surprised to see them walking towards me at one point. They’d followed the route but got to a freshly ploughed field that looked to tricky on the ankles to cross. The three of us decided to stay on the road and walk into Coupiac that way. I found a wall on the tiny square in front of the castle and church and sat down for lunch. After it proved a tad confusing to get out of Coupiac. As I’d entered from a different route I needed to find the pick-up point of the directions again. My iPhone needing calibrating all of sudden didn’t help. But I got there in the end. The other where just ahead of me and when I caught up they told me a similar story – which made me feel better.

As mentioned I was reading the route description for the first time as I went and got to the waypoints and all went well: make a right, hang left, go up, through the forest,… all very pleasant and reasonably straightforward. And then, reading the next one, I stopped dead in my tracks: ‘At the gate left and up and towards the hamlet of Le Mazet. In Le Mazet there are 3 big dogs. Best to just keep walking and to ignore them and they shouldn’t do anything.’ Ok. Too late to find a different route, so I took a deep breath and started walking through Le Mazet. And there they were: first one, then the second and then the third. All rather menacing and circling me and following… not fun at all. I just kept walking until I didn’t see or hear them anymore and then some. The situation was discussed at La Frayssinette, and the dog issue seems to be a known problem.

From there my walk was enjoyable again. A creek crossing required ‘shoes and socks off’ but that was actually quite pleasant and refreshing. There was quite a bit of climbing during the last part, with a few steep sections, and around 4:15 I arrive at colorful La Frayssinette, with hosts Peggy and Vincent.

Turned out we had a bit of a ‘reunion’ going on: Mariette and George (the cyclists I met at La Bouysse), Nicole (walker from La Libaudié) and Lidy and Hans (form the last two nights) were all here, and two other walkers.

Lovely start to the day!
I felt like I’d seen that yellow field form every angle possible.
Cathar Cross.
Caged corn.
Arrived at La Frayssinette.