The landscape around Lake Salagou was decidedly martian, or at least it came really close to how the landscape on Mars looks like in my mind. We went there just before dusk. The whole area was deserted, it seemed like we were the only people for miles and miles. The slopes that descended into the water looked like sand dunes and were swept by a constant, strong wind. But most of all, it was the strangely intense, deep copper red color of the ground around the lake that made it seem like we were on the Red Planet and not on Earth.*
At places, the soil was gravel-like, spilling over onto the paved road…
I don’t know if it was the spots where the rocks had cracked, thousands of years ago, and now looked like the scales on the skin of a snake, with fossilized shells forever trapped in them.
As the skies began to darken, and pink, purple and yellow patches peeked brightly from between the thick and voluptuous clouds, we hurriedly climbed back up towards the road, then got into the car and drove back to Planet Earth.
[Thanks, Kentin and Natacha for taking me and showing me this place. And for the delicious bread.]
*And just so you don’t go away having read all this and learned nothing, here is some factual information: the red hills in the area, called ruffes in French, were created over hundreds of millions of years by a series of geological events and apparently used to hide – in addition to the fossilized shells, dinosaurs’ footprints until they were destroyed by humans. The reason why the plants in the area look so particular is the high levels of iron oxyde in the soil, which incidentally is the same compound that gives the planet Mars its reddish appearance. So, don’t say you never learned anything from me.