I've enjoyed running for many years as preferred form of exercise, taking the opportunity whenever I can and get the urge to lose myself and my feet in my surroundings. Esther, however, has not always been so keen on running, preferring instead to do other activities such as cycling or classes. Today, however, among the stunning beauty of the Vallee du Cristillan we shared a wonderful run together in a way we never have before that bought us both closer together and closer to nature.
Setting off beneath a brilliant bue sky we had elected to try running from Ceillac to the roadhead in the Vallee du Cristillan, a climb of around 400m. In the past, when we have tried running together, I have always tried to run back and forth so we can stick close together and stay in touch in case one of us felt like heading back. Today, however, with some good music to listen, new trainers on our feet and mobile phones as back up we decided to run independently and see where we each ended up.
Climbing the steady but challenging incline, with green hillside all around, rocky peaks ahead and a beautiful stream flowing alongside it really was one of the most beautiful places I have ever run. It just made us feel so alive. Arriving at the end of the road at 2050m altitude I paused in the sun to read the information boards and was soon joined by Esther who arrived at a sprint, feeling equally inspired by the majestic scenery. Also, moved by our recent discussions and learning, we both felt very mindful and in the moment during our ascents.
It felt good to reunite in this enormous natural bowl and we strolled together a little further along the gravel track just to enjoy the view of the high mountains at the head of the valley. It was a happy moment. We would actually have liked to have gone further, but with no water or gear we knew it was not sensible and so set off at our own paces back down the road, reuniting an hour or so later back alongside Homer.
It had been a very special run for both of us. Not only had it been an amazing route, but for the first time Esther had genuinely been invigorated by the act of running, appreciating more than before how much freedom and joy can be found on the trail.