The Vultures of the Verdon

So, while traveling through France’s Verdon Gorge area, I stayed at a camp ground called Camping La Ferme (The Farm), just outside the village of Castellane. The camp ground is owned and operated by a local family and their one employee, a group of absolute gems. I didn’t have a car and, given that the village and most surrounding sites were a minimum thirty minute walk away, they drove me into town on a near daily basis and, every evening, they’d ask me my plans for the following day so that they could offer to gimme a ride to wherever I needed to be.

One such drive was from their camp ground to the start of the Blanc Martel trail, a 14km hike that takes you into the canyon and takes over six hours to complete (though I completed it in 5.5 because I’m amazing that way). The drive took about a half hour and, along the way, my host, Gerard regaled me with stories of his former life as a taxi driver in Cannes (which included ferrying around the likes of Steven Spielberg) and took many stops to gift me with a spectacular vantage point, always urging me to break out my camera.

Now, I’ll write about the hike in another post, but on one of these frequent photo stops, Gerard promised it was a perfect spot from which to see the vultures that drift through the canyon. I looked to the sky but he led me to the guardrail and pointed down, into the canyon. From our position we were actually above the giant birds as they soared over the Verdon River in search of food. Gerard had hoped we’d see two or three vultures but even he was surprised to find dozens of them, their two meter wingspans catching the sunlight as they drifted by.

I gave my camera an intense workout and, among others, took the shot below.

If ever you’re in or planning to visit the Verdon area, I can’t recommend Gerard, his family or Camping La Ferme enough.