2017 E5 walk, day 19: Saint-Caradec to Gueltas

Section 5, Day 19
low 33 °F
high 51 °F
36,162 steps
13.9 miles

After a lovely breakfast at the farm, I was on the road by 9:15 AM, early for me.

The day was peaceful. The basic route followed the rigole d’Hilvern, an artificial watercourse that fed the Nantes–Brest Canal. It wound its way from somewhere north of Saint-Caradec (which I’d skirted at the end of the previous day), down south across the farmland to the canal. It was little more than a big ditch, usually dry, sometimes with a small pool in it, lined by trees; the trail would occasionally cross from one side to the other, presumably to avoid a private field or other obstacle. At one point, the trail circled a pond, where a handful of people were fishing.

This is just a pale donkey looking back at the camera from behind a wire fence to the east.  Around are a grassy lawn, the donkey’s field, a farm field, and some trees, with the road barely visible at the bottom of the photo.
I passed this cute watcher shortly before noon.

Around noon, the E5 rejoined the GR 371, and I left the GR 341’s sometimes-ambiguous trail markings behind. By 1 PM, I reached the town of Saint-Gonnery just as it started to drizzle.2 I ducked into what appeared to be a tiny, empty restaurant, l’Hilvern, where I was directed to the large room in back, full of customers. (I got several odd looks as I came in with my large backpack.) The menu for the day consisted of bœuf bourguignon, while a buffet table contained a generic assortment of sides and desserts.

On a sky-blue placemat, a white plate holds a serving of dark, tender beef stewed with onions and carrots, and a helping of fries.
The tender bœuf bourguignon.

After lunch, the weather had cleared, and I didn’t have much further to walk. The GR 37 followed one final loop of the Hilvern, and then turned left and downhill back to the canal.

To the southwest is a pair of trees.  The larger has a blaze painted on the trunk:  a horizontal white stripe, a red stripe below, and a white stripe with a right angle that suggests a left-turning arrow.  Above these marks is a small red square tacked onto the tree, with what appears to be a pointed U with the bowl turned to point left.
The white-and-red stripes on the tree clearly indicate that the trail turns left here. (I believe the red-and-black badge above indicates that a horse trail also turns left here.)

I stayed in an AirBnB room in the home of Marie-Thérese and Guy near the town of Gueltas, and it was a lovely night. They were thoughtful, generous hosts: They served dinner, in part from their huge garden across the street; they patiently helped me with my awful French and taught me about the area; and they generally made me feel like a guest instead of a customer.

Map of the day’s route.

  1. I’d joined the GR 37 on day 5 and left it for the GR 341 on day 16↩︎

  2. There was no official rainfall recorded for the day, so it must not have amounted to much. ↩︎