La Via Tolosana (France) & Camino Aragones (Spain): "The Arles Route" GR653

La Via Tolosana (France) & Camino Aragones (Spain): "The Arles Route" GR653
La Via Tolosana (France) & Camino Aragones (Spain): "The Arles Route" GR653


PLEASE READ: Our Camino For Alzheimer's Awareness will begin on World Azheimer's Day, September 21, 2018 in Lodève, France about 130 kms west of Arles (underlined on the map above and circled on the route profile at the bottom of the page). We plan to walk together just over 800 kms to Puente la Reina, Spain where Annemarie will determine her next steps. It is, however, Geoff's intention to continue onwards a further 700 kms towards Santiago de Compostela. To put this into perspective, the total distance is about the same as from Victoria to Santa Barbara, California. As usual, we will accept the journey as it unfolds and we are appreciative of any and all support. If you feel moved to contribute to the Alzheimer Society please click on either of the really obvious RED BUTTONS to the right or at the bottom of this page and you will be transferred to the Society's fund raising site. We are paying our own expenses and all money raised will go directly to the Alzheimer Society.

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Étape 28: Sangüesa - Monreal, 30 kms, Cloud and Sun, 18

There’s Only One Idiotl

Nope, not a sunrise. The other one. 

A long stage today, so we were up with a quick breakfast at a bar and then on our way before sunrise today. Should lights flashing so the trucks could see us on the side of the highway before we turned left and started our first of two climb that continued for 10 kms.

It wasn’t a difficult climb, but it took us from 400 metres to 770 metres through the morning. Looking back we could see the heavy cloud forecasts today following us and scattering a few showers as it advanced. We pushed onwards wondering how two peregrinos could outrun it.

It seems that we managed to stay dry today and the sun teased us from time to time.

Early on we walked across a bit of agricultural land with the occasional field of vines, but much of the day was spent hiking through scrub land and pine forests.

Lots of livestock around in the area, sheep and cows mostly, but we saw very little of either. More their bells ringing as they fed in the scrub out of sight.

We really didn’t quite realize how high we’d climbed until we passed through this gate...

...and found views back to where we’d walked on the variant yesterday. That’s Lumbier where we had lunch after walking the canyon.

We did finally spot a steer and he seemed to be checking out my bell. Bell envy?

Early on in the day I mentioned to Annemarie that I was about halfway to Santiago at that point with about 750 kms to walk. We were chatting about stuff and I made the comment that some people must think we are idiots to walk this far. Her reply, “there’s only one idiot!”. We had a good laugh, but it’s a funny feeling to know that I’m at the half way point today. Strangely it will feel somewhat downhill from here, but of course that’s just the way it feels. There’s still a lot of road to be walked before we shut this show down.

Some planners sure seemed to have fun planning this autostrata! Looks nice if you like that sort of thing. That small mountain tells me that we are closing in on Puenta la Reina. My mind is telling me that I have a photo of it from the other side when we walked past 5 years ago. I’ll have to check that out when I return home. 

A group of school children painted a nice welcome and put their names and hand prints on the walk. A nice touch and a very nice welcome to their village.

Then the sun came out and all was right with the world.

Endurance: today we completed our 28th stage with one rest day, and Geoff is marking the half-way point of his walk, while I am nearing the end of mine. As we walked today, we talked about the endurance required to get this far...and farther. We have both lost weight (we always do on these walks) despite eating more than we normally would. A walk like this takes a toll on the body, and begins eating away at energy levels and muscle elasticity. Many people find much shorter periods of walks like this to be enough, but we committed to a longer walk purposely.  People with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers are also in a journey that requires endurance. To carry on each day requires fortitude and commitment, and perhaps more than a little tenacity. The daily challenges they face also take a toll, in energy levels, relationships, and other areas. We knew this would be a test of our endurance. But we also have an idea of how long our commitment is, while those touched by Alzheimer’s don’t know how long their journey will last


  1. I hit the wrong button and lost all my great comments!! I will try again .................

    I had indicated that just as I was getting accustomed to your wilderness trek through the mountains and valleys I came across a picture looking down the valley where a modern freeway and branch roads ran right through the area you were walking. Perfectly natural that such a road would be there but it still took me by surprise for a brief moment! Sort of "is this for real"?? Apart from that, you surely were walking through some great countryside enjoying some good weather - a little better than the fog we are starting to experience in the mornings in Cadboro Bay. The new map section at the head of your blog shows a lot of familiar towns including Pamplona where you will now be passing through on the next leg of your trek. Mom and I recall the letters we received many years ago from Kathy when she was hiking through that area and also from you shortly thereafter on your first trip. I don't think that Don passed that way.

    You both look pretty fit at this stage but Annemarie noted that you have both lost weight - to be expected of course - but don't get too slim!

    Cheers Dad

    1. Hi Dad, we are actually one stage past Pamplona. Tomorrow we walk to Estella, but after a while they all start to look the same! A shorter stage tomorrow of around 22 kms. Lots of newbies here on the Frances. Already we have seem lots of blisters on feet and hearing their excitement is quite refreshing. We must have been that excited our first time as well!?

  2. Oh, there are so many idiots......

    But your walk is so lovely. Spain often looks like southern Alberta, but with grapes and olives. Lots of sky, too.

    Enjoy today’s walk! I hope you continue to avoid the rain.