Hiking from Le Claux to Puy Mary
February 5, 2019
by Karola Kivilo
„Don`t you get bored here?” asked Lize trough Google translate. After two months of learning French, my rough Estonian mind can understand what is written , processing text word by word, but not really the speech. Lize is the one who trusted me to house-sit their home while she and Jean-Michel are traveling. I have wanted to house-sit when it is the darkest time in my home country for a while. I just took advantage of the opportunity and had finally the courage to jump. The more I experience different places in the world, the more every place feels like home. I would say that wherever you go, there you are. Here I am in the tiny mountain village in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes called Le Claux with about 10 (!) cats and exactly 3 chicken. The crazy cat lady would be really a thing here if I would stay here longer than 3 weeks.
Bored or not in Le Claux
Answer to the question whether I could experience boredom here, then no, I cannot. How can one be possibly bored when there are so many hiking trails to discover, so much self-development to do, so much to learn and write with a writer soul inside me! If you are a little adventurous nature lover like I am, then you would understand how much joy this place offers.
My tasks are very easy which allows me to do whatever I want, because I will wake up anyway in the morning and feed cats and myself as well as I would be back before dark which is around 6 pm. All that daylight time I have for myself without needing to go or do something. Which could be tricky because without big „why” it is easy to waste time for YouTube or reading all day long travel stories and sorting the many pictures of all the hiking I have done. Every day I go out I try not to photograph so often but the views always get me. I kind of wasted my time the day after climbing up to the highest and most magnificent mountain peak here, called Puy Mary.
Hiking up to the Puy Mary
Since the first day I arrived here, Jean-Michel introduced me the mountain peaks which are visible from their courtyard. I did not really get why I hear about Puy Mary so often until I happened to conquer that peak. I went out for a little hike, at least this is what I expected. It was sunny after 3 days of raining and I just enjoyed nature surrounding and decided to do a little off-road until I found myself in a place where I could only go back or start climbing up on the hillside completely covered by brown leaves. At the same time, I listened to podcast about how small pain leads to the greatest joy and hard choices for an easy life. I realized that now I have the best opportunity to prove it. So after half an hour pure ascending I finally reached the top with a red sweaty satisfied face. I proved that little pain does lead to major joy. I found a hiking trail, followed until I discovered myself on the beginning of Puy Mary.
Following the signs to Put Mary
The hiking trail and signs were so easy and enjoyable to follow because of the views and sensations inside me. I kind of lost the trail after a lovely mountain cabin where I filled a water bottle, so I just climbed up the hillside until I reached the road and found the trail. On the highest where a machine could go is a restaurant and I imagined buzzing overcrowded summertime but it was beginning of December and I was completely alone enjoying all the view for myself.
I am a moorland girl and did not really consider that this kind of ascending could be dangerous when mountain sickness hits but luckily Puy Mary is „only” 1783 meter high. Still the last ascending to the top of the mountain was rough. I was so close, yet so far, yet so tired because noticeably fewer oxygen. I reached the top of the mountain at the sunset time. The view was magnificent anyway but the setting sun and mild clouds added some magic. The sunset meant amazing light and not so much time until darkness so I started running back. It was all downhill and where possible I just cut the road and went as straight as possible reaching home 15 min after darkness.
Gite d`etape et de sjour du Puy Mary
The house I am currently „sitting” is next to the families hostel which name is Gite d’étape et de séjour du Puy Mary. I am really considering going back there in the summertime. I am just enchanted of the hiking trails that literally starts behind and next to the hostel with the wondrous views on every step. I can not to mention all the cats, chicken, horses, donkey and cows chilling around the house. If you have ever wanted to fall asleep accompanied by ringing bells in cows necks then here it is the reality. Just downhill from the house is pasture, where cows are eating with bells in their necks and when it is silent at night, the sound of those bells are so clear and lulling.
Worth to visit
Le Claux itself is a charming tiny village on the foot of the Puy Mary mountains with charming kind-hearted folks. I met Mary from Maison de Site du Claux on my walk and she guided me for some trails around the village. Other time I met an old tiny woman who had the clearest sharp eyes and we had a chat. By that I mean she talked and I did my best to understand anything at all. I understood at least one part, where she declared that in England you talk English, in France, you talk french and so on. I could not agree with her but since I did not know how to respond I just nodded. There is something magical in this place and people.