2017 E5 walk, day 40: Le Neufbourg to le Gué Safray
Although the map showed the trail crossing the Cance at the Grande Cascade (Big Waterfall), the trail markings unmistakably led me to the Petite Cascade (Little Waterfall, obviously), a series of short waterfalls in a valley. I love the sound of flowing water, and the valley was quite peaceful in the early morning.
Across in Mortain, I stocked up on groceries, went to Boulangerie Julien Patrick for bread and pastries, and then headed up out of town.
The trail headed out of Mortain to the east, up a hill called Montjoie, where there was a well-tended United States Army cemetery. An American battlion, giving it the the poetic name “Hill 314”, was surrounded here by a German counterattack shortly after the Normandy invasion, but managed to hold out until the Germans were driven back out a week later.
After Mortain, the trail was almost entirely isolated; it first wound east through the Forêt de Mortain.
From there, it continued winding east through the Forêt de la Lande Pourrie (“Forest of the Rotten Heath”, which I don’t remember being quite so bad as that). After the rotten heath, the trail ran almost perfectly due east, first along a ridge and then below it.
Near the settlement of le Gué Safray, I headed north to my night’s destination. At this point it had started raining, a steady, relentless drizzle. The directions I’d been given led me to another little settlement and then over a stream and across a recently-plowed field, turned mucky by the rain. The directions were clear, though, and I reached it with only a little discomfort. I won’t describe the place further, but if you’re planning to stay in a home in the commune of Lonlay-l’Abbaye, touch bases with me first.