Saturday 4 October.
There was definitely no rush this morning with only a short 12 km to do to Mouthier-Haute-Pierre where we were booked in at a gite for the night. I made an early cup of coffee and we had it in bed while reading. It was about 8 am when we got up had breakfast and got packed up ready to go. The reception at the site was open when went down and we paid the woman and got our credentials stamped before setting off.
It was a bit misty as we made our way down by the river to the town but the sky looked cloudless and promised to be a another fine day. We weren't going to go into town as the GR595 route option we were going to follow tracked the river on this side. Unfortunately the road bent round and over a bridge into the town centre and there were no indications of the red and white GR waymarks. I got out the Cicerone and it said coming up the other side of the river to cross at Grand Pont (big or main bridge) and turn left along the marked path on the other side . I asked two people where was the Grand Pont but I got the French shrug of the shoulders and a mystified looked. I checked the satnav map on the iPad, it gave our location but it didn't have Grand Pont or a GR trail marked. While I was doing all this Moira went to the boulangerie and got a baguette, when she came back we decided to rechecked the other side of the bridge we had just crossed. To the left on the other bank was a restaurant with their tables and chairs outside obscuring the narrow lane behind. We investigated and this was our route with GR markings but we still weren't any the wiser about which of the bridges was Grand Pont.
Now we had a very lovely walk on at first a tarred lane then a gravel track. It followed the river all the way up the broad valley. There were mountains high above on either side and the scenery was outstanding. Since leaving Besancon there has been a marked change in the nature and characteristics of the countryside, obviously we are in hillier surroundings but the houses are more Swiss type chalets and we have heard a bit of German being spoken by people. It just doesn't seem like France anymore. Also there seem to be more shops in the towns and villages and they are open. The track took us after 3 km to the edge of the village of Montgesoye before continuing to Vuillafans. There was a picnic area before getting to the village and we stopped there for our morning coffee and biscuit. While we were there a hiker came along in the other direction. He was French and named Henri, he had also walked the Camino de Santiago. We had a chat as best we could, he was heading for Ornans for the night. He said the views as we headed up the Loue valley to our destination were 'Tres jolie'.
When we finished the GR option at Vuillafans we picked up the Cicerone route that was back on the busy D67. Luckily we were on the road only for a short time before picking up a track that climbed above the road then ran parallel with it. When it levelled out the track went beside vines of Chardonnay grapes but they had all been picked and I had wanted to sample them! The track then dropped steeply down to rejoin the D67 before entering the town of Lods. There was a campsite on the other side of the river and we went over there to find some water. The site was closed but Moira found a tap and I was able to make tea to go with our bread and goats cheese. The cheese was very tasty and made a change from the Camembert that we have been having for the last month.
When we got going again it was along the D67 to Mouthier. Lods was a town in two halves and after a break we came to the second part which was livelier with a busy hotel and a couple of restaurants. It was again typically Swiss and very picturesque. But we had the busy road to negotiate with lots of tight bends and fast cars. It turned out not to be too busy and we had only a couple of kilometres to do. We didn't have an address for the Gite des Gorges in Mouthier and hoped to be able to ask someone but this was a typical French village in that it was dead. Luckily halfway along the main road I saw the sign for it, unluckily there was nobody at home. After a lot of cursing we settled down on chairs in front of the house to wait. It was only 10 minutes before a woman appeared, she said something about sitting out back in the sun. She took us in a side door, it wasn't a room but a flat. We had a kitchen, dining room, lounge, bathroom, and bedroom. It only cost €50 for the night.
After we settled up and she stamped our credentials I made a cup of tea for Moira and a coffee for me. We relaxed for an hour then had a shower, more really hot water to relieve the stiffness after walking. There was a small epicery next door that opened at 4pm and Moira got something there for dinner. For dinner we had fish cooked with peppers and cous cous and just a touch of curry powder; very tasty. When the washing up was done we relaxed until bed time in the lounge reading and I played some of the music I have on the iPad.