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Verdon Canyon by the bottom

The discovery of the grand canyon by the bottom

Édouard-Alfred Martel enthusiast

If one analyzes the circumstances that surrounded the expedition led by Édouard - Alfred Martel in the gorges du Verdon, observed that the eminent speleologist has not been called by the organizations regional tourism that we have seen the first manifestations, nor even national, as the TCF or the Alpine Club. This sporting feat, the first, which he was so proud, Martel made the relationship detailed in multiple publications ranging on a decade. He was able to accomplish it with a mission that the Department of Agriculture had entrusted to him in the spring of 1905. Directorate of hydraulics and agricultural improvements of this Ministry asked him to make a study, especially hygienic order, on the waters of the source of Fontaine-l ' Evêque. Martel had all the skills for carrying it out. Complex personality, this former lawyer of the region Paris, from a family of good bourgeoisie whose ancient roots came from the Protestant Cévennes, had abandoned several years its avowed close counsel workload the tribunal de commerce of the Seine to devote himself to the study of nature, with a predilection for the exploration of the chasms and groundwater. He was endowed with great intelligence, a tireless scientific curiosity of a prodigious memory. The many written had already published, served by a style clear and precise, had brought him some fame. Man, passionate about travel, its underground explorations had led him not only sites on the french territory, (Cevennes, Pyrenees, Jura, Provence), but also in Belgium, Austria, Greece, also in the United States. Thanks to his knowledge of the french territory, he had listed the sites that deserve to be protected by measures of classification, already proposing the creation of natural parks on the model of what was beginning to be in the United States. Very sensitive to the diffusion of the beauties of his country in a large audience, Member of the TCF, Member of the Alpine Club, he entitled the great work which is the synthesis of all his explorations: La France ignored. He had at least once sacrificed to the kind guide of the Walker, references included in subtitle of his little book: Le Trayas (Var), l ' Estérel, Agay..., published in 1899.

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Why get off?

The la convoitise lust water, once again, by cities and the campaigns of Basse Provence, taking into account nationally of the former regional projects bypass, capture, dam reservoirs, were directly to the origin of the first complete grand canyon descent by the bottom. This event will have great consequences, immediate and distant, on the evolution of tourism in the Gorge. The circumstances of this discovery gives the opportunity to stress once again the duality, often nested between tourism and water development of the Verdon. One and the other, economic and ecological issues more often opposed that converged, already appear obvious at the beginning of the 20th century. One hundred years later, in a different form, while the large hydraulic projects have been completed, the problems posed by this duality still exist.

The mission entrusted to Martel

The mission lasted for nearly three weeks, from July 26 to August 15, 1905. The main goal of the research was to better understand origin, the power and the qualities of water of Fontaine-l ' Evêque. This major resurgence received a portion of its waters from the limestone plateaux of Bauduen-Majastre and Canjuers, especially by the many potholes dug in these trays. The first phase of the expedition, and the longest was to recognize thirty avens, (only two of them were listed on the card), and to explore a fortnight. "And there is much more to search," writes Martel in 1928 in La France ignored. The famous spelunker was able to satisfy on the Canjuers plateau its taste to discover and publicise the underworld.
One of the questions asked by the mission that was entrusted to him, and not the least, concerned the bacteriological quality of the waters of fountain - Bishop which a part was intended for the drink. Once verified obstruction of many of the sinkholes of Canjuers by mineral, vegetable and especially animal debris, probably did not, in this context, essential to get to the bottom of sinkholes which were not blocked. It is only to satisfy his passion for the depths of the basement that Martel and his team went down, using ladders and strings, in the wholesale Aven du Grand Plan of Canjuers July 31 1905.1 l thus had the pleasure to observe on its walls "these colossal coils" that it "range among the most extraordinary paintings of our land. They give the overwhelming sensation of a natural force inconceivable. We will find in descriptions of his descent from the Verdon.
The Canjuers, large tray of stone almost empty of inhabitants, only traveled from the time of the visit of Martel, by shepherds keeping their flocks, is nowadays occupied by a vast military camp. During the time they have spent, Martel and his companions have practiced 'well-organized camp. He often loved "with delight, this pleasant process' residence. It recalls, twenty years later, in the ignored France from 1892 onwards he was a precursor of this hosting mode 'now put fashionable by the TCF.

The origin of the waters of Fontaine - L'EVEQUE

The study of the origin of the waters of Fontaine - L'EVEQUE should not be restricted to the contribution of the sinkholes of the limestone plateaus of Canjuers. Another part of its flow came from near rivers in the region. To prove there was use of tests involving chemistry. «August 14, 1905, Mr. Le Couppey, the Forest threw 20 kilograms of fluorescein in the losses of the Artuby to Thistle-Praguillen, downstream of Comps (Var); colouring was found at the end of five and a half days in the horoscope, the resurgence of Fontaine-l ' Evêque. The distance was 30 kilometers, the drop of 360 m and speed of transmission of 241 metres at a time. Mr Couppey of Forest, research engineer in the service of hydraulic and agricultural improvements of the Ministry of Agriculture, participated in the mission of the waters of the resurgence plan studies. He led this experience near Comps on the date of August 14, while Malik and his companions were currently browsing the last portion of the grand canyon. Yet was a part of team that, on 11 August, had started in the bottom of the Gorge under Rougon.Before the difficulties, he had abandoned the descent of the torrent on the evening of the second day.
If loss of the Verdon contributed to Fontaine-l ' Evêque, it was enough to renew the experience made in the Artuby, pouring tens of kilos of fluorescein. Martel did not hear it as well. He considered that the tasks entrusted by the Ministry of Agriculture should not be limited to the study of the water regime, but also serve his interests geological and geographical. These missions hydrological, "executed by order and at the expense of the Department", gave him great means. They have no doubt contributed much to the success of this first in the grand canyon.

The preparation of the mission

Down the Gorge from the bottom, it is a dream that stroking Martel well before you can perform it in August 1905. A year earlier, he had published, June 4, 1904, in the magazine for which he was the editor in Chief, La Nature, a short article entitled: "the Cians and the Verdon gorges. He was aware of a visit that he had been in the area: "I have recently Marvel a whole week in these foothills of Provence". He said that he enjoyed this visit of the 'gracious Mr. Armand Janet specifications'. The latter had informed him of his attempt passed down the grand canyon in removable boat. In this text of 1904, Martel goes up to write "that Mr. Janet would make a real service to the public by editing everything he knows and what he sought in this little-known region, in the form of an entire volume that readers would be too short and that would be an absolute revelation". For reasons that are unknown to us, he did not write the book requested by Martel. Nor no other book. He gave only the notes of visit to the Gorge, already mentioned, published in the Guide Joanne of 1903, and in 1913, in the journal of the Club Alpin, La Montagne, very detailed practical information for hikers who want to visit the canyon by the bottom.
Very kindly, and also quite rightly, already good connoisseur of the gorges it could be useful, Martel invited Armand Janet to accompany him during his mission of 1905 in Fontaine - l ' Evêque and Verdon. Official invitation he had obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture. Throughout the expedition, already on the plateau of Canjuers, and Verdon, Martel was also accompanied by her faithful Louis Armand, "my usual foreman", as it refers, which followed the speleologist for many years in most of his explorations. He was able to appreciate the qualities of this blacksmith Lozère, skill and composure when they visited together the sinkholes of the causse Méjean, before the end of the century. In recognition, he was baptized one of them, the most beautiful, Aven Armand.
As a general before a battle that he hopes to win, Martel did nothing failed to ensure the success of the exploration of the grand canyon. On 9 July, he went to inspect the ground from the top of the cliffs at various points overlooking the Gorge. It also took great care of the choice of his troops. In written relations that he will give of his victory, he adopted willingly the military language. In the issue of the Nature of March 17, 1906, he wrote "this expedition could not be completed because of the resources put at our disposal by the official nature of our research, thanks to the requisition of all kinds that we were thus permitted". Elsewhere, he is talking about "Squad of refuelling.

Hierarchy and composition of the team

The hierarchies between the various members of the expedition are well marked. Around their leader, there is first the officers group, ranks, people from the city: Mr. Le Couppey, Forest, 'my assistant', Mr. Armand Janet, 'my friend', the prompt, L. Armand, (it is not entitled to the title of "Sir"), "my usual foreman. Then there is the bulk of the troupe: "ten auxiliaries of the villages of Rougon and la Palud" divided into two squads.
Four natives of Rougon, who must accompany as porters officers in their descent of the torrent, somehow train crews, form the first squad. The second, refuelling Squad, which includes five or six men from La Palud responsible to bring the food by bad paths of goats at different predetermined points on the torrent, is stewardship.
In his article of Nature, Martel would like to thank its valuable contest Mr. Tessier, engineer of the Grands Travaux de Marseille residing in La Palud, as well as its staff. Tessier led the construction of tunnels in the riverbed. Ongoing project was to channel the waters of the Verdon throughout the twenty kilometers from the grand canyon to its output, to power a hydroelectric plant to the Garret. Titanic undertaking requiring the vehicle fleet of heavy materials, stones, railway rails, cement, the road to the bed of the river. The shipments were transported by mule by steep trails down the left bank of the torrent. Activity was so intense at the end of the first part of the canyon. The company had secured the competition occasionally some peasants of La Palud and Rougon, as manouvriers and especially Mule. The Mule then remained in these mountain villages most common conveyance. For the construction of the tunnels, the GTM company had appealed to the foreign labor. The 1906 census counts, designated as «foreign workers in the municipality occupied temporary sites», in La Palud: 32 individuals, including a French and 31 foreigners in Rougon, 21 people including 20 foreigners. He had the world at the bottom of the canyon, at least in its first kilometers until reaching the stopovers. One had in this place 'established two wooden huts, canteen for workers', and a gateway metal, crossing point "of a goat represents" descendant of La Palud, by the cliffs of right bank, and going up on the left bank to the plateaus of Breis.
The squad of refuelling, confined to La Palud, not consisted of workers of the construction, but good peasants of old stock paluarde, admirably knowing the paths which lead to the bottom, as this Casimir Flory who cultivated the land close to the Verdon of the family farm of La Maline. The second squad, who accompanied the expedition throughout its run, included three peasants of Rougon, Camus, and the two Audibert, father and son. The fourth man of this second squad was the teacher of Rougon, Isidore Blanc. Curious idea to take the teacher of the village as a carrier and shipping assistance. Farmers in La Palud and Rougon had agreed to be enrolled in this race for a good remuneration. It was not the purpose of Isidore Blanc.This young teacher, a native of Rougon, had requested the position of his village, (he will remain there until his death), because of his passion for his region, in particular the gorges. He was entered in connection with Armand Janet for several years, and liked to explore different points of the canyon, alone, or with the fishermen, sometimes poachers, other times with Janet, with whom he shared his interest in the Gorge. It is sure that the latter who proposed to Martel to ensure the assistance of Isidore white and that he asked him to find the men in his village who seemed it most likely to participate in the expedition.

A great adventure

«August 11, 1905 at 11:30, all of our material, three boats demountable Berthon, Osgood, Montjardet, ropes, etc., is at work on the strike of entrance to the grand canyon, a few metres from the disturbing block. '' This quote, like all those that will follow in this chapter, is extracted from the book of Martel, ignored France. The leader of the expedition took a few photos of the group prior to departure. In addition to the barometers and thermometers, which are part of any scientific mission, Martel had won several of these heavy glass plates view cameras that were used at that time. He was a good photographer and was, during his various expeditions, an iconographic collection of very great interest. He understood very early the importance of photography to keep testimony depicted his numerous explorations. It never fails, in his articles and his books, to reproduce some of his shots to illustrate his texts. In its early publications, he also appear, drawn in photogravure, drawings, executed on the spot, an artist, L. Ruaux, then accompanying him in his visits.
One shadow shows, prior to departure for the great adventure, the group in full, except for Martel, that you almost never see on shadow since it is he who takes them. All the characters are standing for laying, behind two of canvas boats. There are Isidore white, small and stocky, canvas jacket, black waistcoat and round Hat; the three farmers of Rougon, Camus, Audibert father and son, in white shirt and black vest, without the jacket, hat, pants, shoes studded; Louis Armand, dressed as peasants of Rougon; Armand Janet, white jacket, examining a thistle snake; Finally, Le Couppey of the Forest, which sports an elegant costume of white canvas and is wearing a pith helmet, also of white canvas, as if he was going to conquer for France of a territory still unknown.

First day

August 11, 1905, at 11:30, "successively the three boats and their four occupants let themselves be carried away by the current, deftly avoid unhealthy impact, and are all surprises to land unharmed on a favourable strike the left bank". Following a well understood hierarchical order, the four occupants of the boats are "officers" of the expedition: Martel, Armand, his aide de camp, Janet, Le Couppey of the Forest, finally. And our four auxiliary», the Rougonais? That they are doing. Because do not consider to be traced by the boats the current to the cordelle to pick them up. Four aid, despite the heavy loads they carry, are doing rather well, can be better than browsers. "They succeed by acrobatic detour at mid-height of the cliffs on the left bank, we exceed 100 metres downstream" villagers, when they can, avoid borrowing the riverbed, preferring to walk along the banks, or even climb rocks. These montagnards, who can't swim, are more comfortable on land or the dry rock in the water. They are probably a little jeering and doubts by looking at their heads tossed on their frail skiffs at the discretion of the rushing waters of the torrent. "The three boats are almost thrown on the shore where newly arrived four stunned aid our audacity... and our chance." It must feel happy: "only one ship broke up somewhat.
The peasants of Rougon probably had reason to wonder that it wants to sail in the gorges of the Verdon. This torrent is navigable only in utopian dreams. Descent boat became less happy shortly after the parade of Samson, at the exit of the Baume aux pigeons. «So well that the capsize of a canoe, the grounding of another, a new break in the third, the plunge of a camera, the loss of tackle, and baths forced, from which it escaped by swimming, put an end, for this first day, to the use of the boats.» This decommissioning, even provisional, boats had an unfortunate consequence for auxiliaries, yet enough already loaded by the rest of the material. "Walk, is, somehow, between planks, Friesland, the castles of cards of rickety rocks the foaming sections of the torrent. But, in portage, [Martel highlighting], with canoes on the head and shoulders, it's hellish. »
Taking into account these multiple challenges, the caravan arrives at the stops at 6:30 in the evening, i.e. after seven hours of navigation, or market to cross two km. It is at this point that were installed the huts of the workers of GTM, "Our intent, they found themselves occupied and provided with food by a foreman (Mr. Jacquette) and (no doubt), three aid envoys of La Palud through the cliffs." Thanks to the kindness of this love foreman of the Verdon, very interested in exploration which was doing, Martel and his companions had the chance to dine tonight first. Without the solicitude of Tessier, adventure in may remained there this time. The squad of refuelling had failed to join the explorers for the first bivouac. Come to La Palud, she began en route from several hours to a rallying point for located much more downstream. Martel talks about incident that at the time of his relationship, already late in the day after day, or it will find this group of auxiliaries. These four men's stewardship, "food, blankets and effects of alternatives", waited all night the arrival of heads and had yet sought them early in the morning of the second day.

Second day

The day of the next day, August 12, was even more rich in twists and turns. The explorers went to four o'clock in the morning. "The alternatives of driftwood and portage again blithely.But the third boat broke up permanently. "It is while Mr. Le Couppey, the Forest, still in his elegant suit, still wearing his helmet of white canvas, from a photo taken after the accident, private boat, found himself"compelled (and sorry)"give up and go back to La Palud trail cliffs.
Parts of the route are easier, especially to the balms-Feces (wild caves). We are then more comfortable to admire the beauties of the landscape. Martel, in written relations of his voyage, gives enthusiastic descriptions. "The winding parade, along 500 metres wide from 20 to 50 metres, to peak 300 meters high, shows its smallest crevices and slopes dressed the most lush foliage; the admirable fracture is fully sunny time where we arrive, some in our two boats, other guéant and wading through water fast but who, by chance, does not exceed the belt. "We arrive at the confluence of the Artuby, dry in this season that year. We are to Masri, the melee of waters, which "is really the bottom of a chasm, the bridle of three land breaks, where the erosion of wild waters has carved the most accomplished specimens of canyons; the scene is dantesque.
But the difficulties are, so many that, in his relationship, Martel is compelled to make a brief summary. "Neglect details of obstacles to overcome, with our bulky material: climbing Rocky bars (the Ranchers of more than 100 meters in height) - swirls of water in a string of pots of Giants colossal-, debris from trails éboulés where is retained after the Thistles - slips and whacks in the boxwood-, fast Fords, spinning from boats half submerged by the waves of a current of lightning —', back and forth to the cordelle to cross too deep basins, etc. "weariness wins, especially carriers, exhausted. Even Armand, the faithful foreman Martel, "violated all admonitions" of his boss, "and launches his canoe in a terrifying winding fast."
Praise God, it happens to him nothing, nor to any of his companions in misfortune. At end of forces, it finally reached the bivouac for the second night, near the Mann, the aptly named bad Ford. It is six o'clock in the evening. We will sleep in a shelter, the high the Manny balm, hunting birds of night, Nighthawks protesting "against our intrusion by their acute whistles. We will be able to eat, change clothes, curl in the covers. Members of the squad of refuelling, found at mid day, followed the explorers to the evening and spend the night with them.

Third day

The next morning, at 5:30, the pit crew goes back to La Palud, leaving others to their third day of market or navigation. Eve, in thirteen hours, it had travelled 10 kilometres. There remained nine until the release of the grand canyon. Malik hoped to achieve the same evening. Yet, himself and still more his companions, entaillèrent the third day with a sense of apprehension. The peasants of Rougon, their teacher and Janet himself, knew very well that would address the part the hardest, narrowest, the wildest gorges. Coming up to the Pas de L'imbut, the Embut, provencal Word to designate a funnel. Their neighbours in La Palud, with whom they had spent the night, better than the Rougonais knew this part of the nearest torrent of their own terroir. They had said that this place was impassable. Water low in less than one metre in width, cluttered of huge boulders close. One hundred fifty metres, the river becomes groundwater. As a snapshot of large boulders, reproduced in La France ignored, Martel has developed the following legend: "Pas de L'imbut Babywearing is evil". At a price of acrobatic manoeuvres, some fort dangerous, cross the three hundred metres in length of this passage took three hours.
The journey then becomes easier. It crosses more easily the Strait of Baoubenit and the balm of the Emerald Vault. Again can navigate deeper but less troubled waters. Two or three occasions, it is yet constrained "for lack of Ford for pedestrians, to operate the manoeuvre of the very long shuttle with our two boats. These poor peasants, and no doubt their teacher can Wade until the belly, but as they can't swim, do not let them lose foot.
Then, the hardship and the humiliations again. In the narrow keel, everything contained one of the two boats, submerged in a tub, is swallowed up. The Grand and Petit Cavalet, huge boulders shall prohibit the use of boats and ports resumed. Persist in wanting to navigate leads to disaster. «My Berthon crève» written Martel, "and stream throws me with him on a ledge of rock»,"Armand capsizes in the Osgood who turns, torn. And the clock is ticking. "At seven and a half hours with two boats punctured, all clothes to distort, and almost without food, we are incapable of completing four kilometres, last (known and less bad).
Fourteen hours to cross five km, as is encrypted by the third day. "A strike extended, conducive to the bivouac in the thickets of willow, in the Moonlight, the judgment is essential." This new night stage was not provided. This third day, thought to be the last, had been the only provisions lunch. And in the evening, to sustain the seven men of the expedition, exhausted after such efforts, there remained only a "tiny pittance. Martel, white and Janet well wanted to be satisfied. But Armand and three peasants of Rougon, 'spurred by hunger', preferred, at the price of more than an hour of ascension, pick up food at the top of the cliff, the bastide of Mayreste. Significant partition between, hand, intellectuals who are willing to stoically accept their fate, the other group of peasants, the lozerian blacksmith and three porters of Rougon, who, wisest, believe that it is not good to skip a meal. They did not desire, nor, to the path of the next empty the stomach.

Fourth day

August 14 at five o'clock in the morning, Armand and three peasants of Rougon, descend from Mayreste, "supplied for a fourth day and filled mostly of an awl, thread and pitch for darning broken shells. Ultimately this last day, until the release of the grand canyon, the route presents more difficulties. It is done in a few hours. "Across the river is gueable and almost always buoyant. '' The roles are still unevenly distributed: "Janet, Armand and me in two boats, white and three other guéant cheerfully."
Martel also recounts the encounter that made explorers, out of the Gorge, workers of the construction site of the hydroelectric power plant of the Garret. These seem incredulous at the spectacle of these patched boats which they told that they come from Rougon by the torrent. Their feelings were perhaps less admiration for the accomplished exploit than astonishment before the choice of this mode of travel, they considered probably poorly adapted to the configuration of the torrent.
About the factory of the Garret in a long note, written twenty years later, contained in the appendix to the chapter on the grand canyon of the France ignored, Martel made the history of development of the Durance and Verdon and book reflections that they inspire him. It is opposed to dams that it planned to build in the canyon itself, near the confluence of the Verdon with the Artuby, Masri, or its output. The reasons he gives are not so much the cosmetic damage that would result in the construction of these dams, (even though this kind of concerns, unlike many of his contemporaries, was no stranger to him). They are rather related to technical considerations: Martel think that cracking of the limestone rocks, it has had an opportunity to review during his exploration of the canyon, would make very dangerous implementation of dams in this area.
How to appreciate the impact of the feat that came to perform Martel and his companions, including on the development and evolution of tourism in the gorges du Verdon? In the immediate future, this event, you could say sports, not going to change big thing about how to visit the site. In the years immediately following the event, there is no knowledge that no individual, that no group of hikers, Provence or elsewhere, has renewed the feat of the descent full bottom, even with the assistance of the villagers who came to do it. In the first publication, recounting his exploration, Martel warned, both walkers and tourism organizations, insurmountable difficulties that meet the desires of attempt. "Virtually inaccessible in the current state, the grand canyon of the Verdon will unfortunately (or rather Fortunately for the preservation of its beauties) impossible to develop.".

The inventor of the big gorges du Verdon

In the writings where he will recount the adventures of his journey, Martel stands willingly as the single large gorges of Verdon, although inventor Janet, Armand, white and three peasants in Rougon, like him, had carried out the whole of the journey. But it was under his command and at his instigation. At most, as a courtesy, will he, in the second and longest of its relations of the expedition, the magazine of the world associate Armand Janet. He called it: "the exploration of the grand canyon of the Verdon, by Messrs. us. Martel and A. Janet. But, on behalf of the truth, it has not always spared his co-signer. Martel was furious to read in the issue of October 1905 of the monthly magazine of the Tburing Club of France, a paper of Henri Boland on the gorges of the Verdon. This editor of the journal of the TCF, which, seen, had participated in the excursion organised by the Syndicat d'initiative of Draguignan in June 1905, probably wrote his article before the exploration of Martel in August of the same year. Not only the article Boland, yet published two months after the feat, does not mention but, again, more serious misinformed by the inhabitants of Rougon, or having misunderstood their words, especially those of Isidore Blanc, it transforms the unfortunate attempt to Janet, carried out a few years earlier, in a complete success. Henri Boland writes: "Mr. Armand Janet, naval engineer and Emeritus climber, came to accomplish this amazing feat, which alone was able, because it had to be both sailor and Mountaineer to dare face the perils of such crossing.". The first publication of Martel, in the issue from March 1906 to the journal Nature, devotes an entire column of its text to "clarify this point of history, correct this error. He even cares to report to us another failure, the mysterious Swiss engineers who, in an attempt to follow the torrent, had build a heavy boat wood, miserably failed in the first blocks of Samson.
He expressed his gratitude to the Minister of agriculture who entrusted him with the mission of summer 1905, it is to say that to him how he could have allowed Édouard-Alfred Martel, and alone, "revealed definitively this splendid and informative fragment of unknown France.

The second exploration

And yet, the feat was renewed, the following year, by the same group, but under different conditions. Martel, thanks to a new mission in Fontaine-l ' Evêque, returned on the edges of his dear Verdon. A first team of Janet, white and three peasants of Rougon, (Camus, Audibert, father and son), again descended across the canyon, in three days, from 27 August to one o'clock in the afternoon on August 30, 1906, at the end of morning. A second team included Martel, Armand and two newcomers, fishermen from the village of (located downstream of the canyon), Rouvier and Trigance rooms. She climbed the torrent backwash, the end of the canyon to exit the Imbut pitch. Martel and his aides then returned the river bed the pitch of the lmbut up to the point of origin near the village of rooms.
It knows not the exact reasons that motivated the division into two teams of this second expedition or the choice of two different routes. It may be surprising that Martel would relinquish to browse again the entire grand canyon and renew his feat of the previous year. It had however been enthusiastic descriptions.
The only indication provided by Martel to justify its choice, is that he wanted to "explore the last part of the grand canyon (too fast view in 1905)". He had also all of his time to take new pictures.
Another major change, it renounced, in 1906, to use the boats. Janet and the Rougonais team Martel wrote himself, 'had replaced the bulky boats by from simple more convenient kapok belts for the decidedly impenetrable passages otherwise than swimming'. Martel must recognize demountable vessels, its dear Osgood, Berton and others, who had led him for twenty years, in the company of Armand, in his explorations of the gorges du Tarn or underground rivers, were not adapted to the regime of the rushing waters of the Verdon. Reading, in the records of the expedition of 1905, of the innumerable humiliations that had suffered these frail vessels and very painful burden for carriers that they constituted, gave the impression of a stubborn obstinacy in wanting to use whatever the cost this inadequate mobility aid. Martel himself and his "foreman" with two fishermen of the rooms last also happen demountable boats.A force majeure reason required: he had decided to go up against the current the riverbed.

Beginning with a reputation for the Martel trail

Once finished its second exploration, August 29, 1906, Martel does not immediately returned to Paris. There again, in the context of the mission of the Department of Agriculture, comments in Fontaine - L'EVEQUE? Was the specific purpose of this mission not to consider the status of the waters of this resurgence? He tells at the end of a long chapter that it devoted to the grand canyon in his book the ignored France than September 3, to complete its recognitions, he followed, accompanied by Louis Armand, "the top of the cliffs between Mayreste and Mortmain. He thought find "cornices to bird's eye view", but "they are really too limited to make it a trail fees for the use of tourists.
This kind of concerns leaves us guessing another facet of the personality of Martel. It assumes more here the role of the specialist of groundwater and the hygienist, but somehow, the sponsor of the tourist facilities, in the spirit of the companies that will be conducted in the gorges du Verdon under the aegis of the Touring Club de France almost fifteen years later. Martel had close ties with this organization who valued the advice of this eminent scholar, geologist and geographer, of the french territory. For him mark his gratitude, the TCF will baptize trail Martel the path it will develop in the years 1928-1930, leading to the Maline to the torrent. However, after early explorations in 1905 and 1906, Martel imagined not the rise that would, much later, tourism in the gorges du Verdon. Before the difficulties and even dangers, in his first exploration, he couldn't think that, fifteen years later, single strollers, men and women, would succeed the feat without feeling anything other than a healthy fatigue. The course conducted by white and Janet in 1906, with simple belts of kapok, who would become the model followed under the direction of Isidore Blanc, could make him anticipate that he would keep not very long the exclusivity of his feat. Away also provide that corniche roads would be one day managed to admire the canyon from the top of the cliffs, he writes, in 1906, that they would be impossible to build or what they would cost millions. It is true that the cornice of left bank, built much later, cost very expensive in the Department of Var. Martel was not a good soothsayer to predict the tourist development of the Verdon.

paddle boat in the Lake Sainte-Croix
Climbing tree
Pont de Galetas
Pont du Roc

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