16-Mar-2003 -- Halfway our trip from the Netherlands to Valence in France we stayed the night over in Contrexeville, a little town at the edge of the Vosges region of France. This is the region of the natural springs. The springs are exploited for bathing, with all the fuzz like casino's, hotels and medical advisors coming with that. The mineral waters with names of towns like Contrexeville, Epinal and Vitel can be bought in every supermarket in France.
Switching off my GPS (I don't sleep with it) I detected a confluence was nearby. So next morning my wife took the map and I took the GPS and off we were to an area that looked nicely green coloured on the map. And indeed, after driving about 8 km south by the D164, see image #6, we reached a lovely hilly area scattered with meadows solitaire trees and woods. Following the D2 for another 8 km and turning right we enjoyed a coffee in Monthureux. Again the D2, then slightly left for the D2-E and finally at the crossroads left into the RF = 'route forestier' = forest road, direction La Catherine. We parked the car, turned right at the big green tree (it was early spring, see photograph #7) and after 150m we struggled for only 50m through the forest.
Initially the DCP dance did not lead to success, until I realized the update rate of the GPS was set to a 30 seconds interval. After resetting it to 1 second the confluence was located within 3 m, see the display in image #5. Note the altitude of 339 m and compare it to the figure of 334 m in the map just on top of the GPS display. Also note the trip value and compare it with the value photographed during our visit to 45°N 5°E close to Valence.
As the sun was shining and the weather was bright at this early day in spring the photographs gives a completely different impression of the area, compared to the green foliage seen by the first visitors. The flower in image #1 is a primrose (Latin name: Primula vulgaris), you could see them everywhere. The small light coloured horizontal section in the centre of photograph #5 is the road we walked to the DCP.
After taking the NESW photographs we went for a nice walk and spotted the strange looking tree of photograph #8. The tree is an apple tree, but the green leaves, see insert, belong to mistletoes. Mistletoe is a half-parasitic plant, without roots. It is well known from Christmas time (you may, or have to, kiss while standing under a mistletoe) and it is an important ingredient of the magic potion prepared by the French druid Panoramix in the Asterix comics.