2017 E5 walk, day 5: Lestrevet to Sainte-Marie-du-Ménez-Hom

Section 2, Day 5
low 41 °F
high 57 °F
30,214 steps
12.0 miles

I followed the trail a little further up the coast, to Pentrez-Plage, and then turned off the GR 34 and onto the GR 37. The GR 37 runs basically the length of Brittany, winding from here at the coast to the base of the peninsula to the east. It was to be the main trail I’d follow for the next several weeks. I got some bread from the Bar de la Mer and some fruit from the little market outside, said farewell to the coast, and headed inland.

This selfie shows my backpack from my right side.  It is black and green; a tall, narrow red sack is on the side.  A blue tube, for water, snakes from the top of the backpack and over my shoulder.  Strapped to the back of the backpack is a loaf of bread.  All we can see of me is a blue sunshirt and a beige sun hat.
My kit: backpack, tent poles, and a bâtard (a type of bread), plus my very French sun hat.

The trail took me gradually uphill; my plan for the day was to reach the peak of Ménez Hom, the local mountain (1000′ above sea level), and then continue down the north side.

Under a blue sky with few clouds, on the horizon to the east, is a gently rounded peak, slightly to the right of center.  The slope has scattered trees and brushland extending down to the foreground, where a cleared field is surrounded by trees.  The trail is on the right, shadowed by more trees, leading in the general directon of the peak.
Ménez Hom is the high point off to the right; the trail (a dirt road) is shaded in the foreground.

The trail had other ideas, however. The map showed it heading more or less straight up the western slope, but the posted trail markings instead had the trail turning south and winding around the mountain.1 Again I briefly pondered ignoring the markings and following the map, but again common sense told me no: Maybe the old trail crossed land where hiking wasn’t permitted; maybe conditions were hazardous. Looking at the map, I guessed roughly where the reroute would have me go — a smaller, local trail that wound around and came up the mountain from the east — decided that would be okay, and continued.

As with the reroute three days before on the GR 34, this day’s detour took me past a striking site, this time a dolmen.

A dolmen sits in a green field.  It consists of a large, heavy stone slab, held up by several shorter slabs set in the ground.  The sky above is blue with a few contrails; a yellow field is in the far distance.
The Dolmen du Ménez-Lié.

I started to notice my right ankle hurting a bit as I trudged uphill, especially on paved roads like the one leading into the tiny village of Sainte-Marie-du-Ménez-Hom, where a web search suggested there was a hotel. I checked out the amazing chapel first, and then discovered that the hotel, Gîtes du Ménez Hom, not only existed but also was open.

An elaborately-decorated stone chapel is by the side of a road.  Its yard is enclosed by a stone wall, with an arched gate in the middle.  The chapel’s bell tower has balconies and is partially open to the air.
The Chapelle Sainte-Marie-du-Ménez-Hom is amazingly elaborate, typical of this part of Brittany.

Once again the owner was a little nonplussed at an unannounced traveler, but she gave me a room. I took my time unpacking and letting my tent dry out from the previous night’s dew, crossed the street (limping slightly) to the Crêperie Skeud An Amzer, and turned in early.

Map of the day’s route.

  1. The map still shows the trail mostly going straight up the hill. I don’t know why the trail was rerouted when I was there. Maybe it was another effect of Tempête Zeus, but the new trail markings looked permanent. ↩︎