2017 E5 walk, day 39: La Filtière to le Neufbourg

Section 9, Day 39
La Filtière
Le Neufbourg
low 56 °F
high 79 °F
51,959 steps
20.1 miles

On returning to the trail, I followed it briefly up to the north-north­west to the village of Saint-Michel-de-Montjoie, where it turned and went south-south­east for the rest of the day.1

A trail heads away from us, curving gradually away to the left.  It is in the shape of a shallow U, rising up at the sides.  On the left edge of the trail is a low wall of brush, perhaps over a literal wall, with trees, beyond which might be an open field; the right side is tall trees and bushes.
A typical bocage trail, southeast of Saint-Michel-de-Montjoie. Like similar trails in Brittany, the fields built up over the centuries, and the trail was beaten down. Stones plowed up from the fields were used to build up the walls along the trail, now overgrown and hedge-like.

The first part of the day roughly followed the valley of a stream called the Ruisseau de Pierre Zure. I don’t remember this valley in particular, but often when I walked through a steep-sided valley, I lost cell phone reception (usually more of an annoyance than a significant problem).

To the southwest, open fields slope down and then gradually back up to the horizon.  Trees are clustered along the lowest point, as well as on the borders between fields.  In the immediate foreground, an ivy-covered tree is silhouetted at the far left of the photo, reaching over the top, framing that side.
Looking down at the valley after climbing up away from it. This is where the valley had opened out; the part I walked through was steep and narrow.

After briefly following the Sée valley east, the trail headed south-south­east again, towards my destination, the town of le Neuf­bourg.

On a low brushy slope stands a rectangular stone (or perhaps concrete) marker with a round top.  The top is painted red, the rest white, with “GR 22” stenciled in red on the side; moss or dirt makes the stenciling slightly difficult to read.  A wooden post immediately next to the marker has a small placard tacked to the top, showing a triangle over two circles, a cycle path marker.  Barbed wire runs along near the top of the slope; a large shrub grows to the left.
I’d previously seen three or four trail markers like this along the GR 22 since leaving Mont-Saint-Michel, completely unlike any I’d seen in Brittany.

Le Neuf­bourg was the smaller of a pair of towns separated by the river Cance; I would pass through Mortain, the larger, the next morning. I was going to stay in le Neuf­bourg’s municipal gîte d’etape, but since the mairie (city hall) was closed for the mid-afternoon and it was the hottest day of the walk so far, I stopped first at a pizzeria called la Petite Cascade for an Orangina. Once the mairie opened, I got the key and headed a block or so up to the gîte. There was one other person staying there, a young man who traveled from town to town installing high-speed internet lines.

A one-lane road descends to the east, curving left behind a rise; trees line the far side of the road around the curve.  Some distance beyond the trees, fields rise up again; at the top of this rise are a collection of houses and other buildings, white and light brown, along the width of the photo.  The sky above is partly cloudy.
Looking across the Cance from le Neufbourg to Mortain.

For dinner, I crossed the Cance to eat at Kebab Mortain, where I tried to read district-by-district results from the recent national election. Afterwards, I got some Turkish delight, which I took back to the gîte and ate while I did laundry.

Map of the day’s route.

  1. In my mind’s eye, I spent the weeks from Mont-Saint-Michel to Paris traveling basically due east, but in practice, the GR 22 veered north and significantly south of the hypothetical straight line. ↩︎