We were slowly continuing north in the Vosges Canal; such a surreal experience having our 12.5m/41ft sailing yacht in the woods! During our “passages” we would spot mallard ducks, swans, great blue herons, songbirds, frogs, fish, beavers, muskrats, and deer. Not exactly ocean wildlife! Our scenery was beautiful, thickly wooded pine forests.A very good friend once commented aboard S/V Rode Trip that his experience was, “…just like camping.” Well, I’d say for certain that this experience now aboard Detour was precisely camping (maybe just not so intense)! The day we completed Detour‘s climb up the Vosges Mountains, we’d completed 23 locks and traveled only 9-miles; yet had been lifted approximately 71.3m/234ft. It was a very long, very short day! Our stop that evening was at a quayside at the town of Girancourt. We were thrilled to see an Intermarche less than a mile from the quayside! Markets were becoming fewer and farther between along the Vosges Canal. We wanted to freshen up and put a list together, but it was late afternoon and the following day was a Sunday. We feared if we postponed our shopping and the store closed for the night that we’d be out of luck! EVERYTHING closes on Sundays! So, with our remaining energy, we shopped. We also ordered a pizza from the pizza truck at the parking lot of the Intermarche – bonus! We were very ready for a break from the locks. The next day, we completed a very short trip of about 2-miles including one final lifting lock atop the Vosges Canal. We stopped for the day at the Bouzey Reservoir pontoon; a fabulously new pontoon! Our fluvial carte mentioned little about the reservoir, simply that it was worth a look. The fluvial carte is also over 10-years outdated. Not only does the Bouzey Reservoir provide water for the Vosges Canal system, but it is now a tremendous recreational area totally worth exploring.
Across the street and a short walk from the pontoon lies the Bouzey Reservoir and dam. This is the feeder lake for the Vosges Canal, as such it experiences large variations of water levels given the season. During our visit in mid-May the water level was quite high. The lake offers an array of recreational activities; water sports, hiking, mountain biking, and swimming. On a Sunday afternoon, it was a popular family destination. Brian and I circumnavigated the Bouzey Reservoir on foot, following a trail. It was bustling, with much to see along the way!
We also took an excursion along a trail that took us away from the lake, and actually nearly got us lost. Regardless of our “death march” (a walk which involves some aimlessness and is far too long to be enjoyable for the entire duration), we continued to enjoy being outside and not being on the canal. And if we hadn’t completed that day’s death march, we wouldn’t have discovered this 24/7 baguette vending machine… …or this worm that was larger than my foot, and larger than any night-crawler we’d ever seen!
Our day at the Bouzey Reservoir was fabulous, but we were only halfway through the Vosges Canal. From this point forward, it would be all downhill as we would begin our descent down the Vosges Mountains.