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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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Étape 47: Las Herrerias - Triacastela, 30 kms, heavy rain, high winds, 3

Even The Ducks Were Hiding!

However you will have to wait to read about it until tomorrow. Wifi here is terrible. All well.

Seems there is a bit of wifi in the albergue, but not much. So I will try to post as it didn’t work in the bar.

I headed for the climb and was passed by the first skateboarder I’ve ever seen on the Camino! I caught up to him at the decision point, road or trail.

I left him sorting it out and headed for the trail. It wasn’t raining yet, but it didn’t look good so I climbed as quickly as I could in order to get as far as I could before the inevitable. I took no photos through the forest as it was very dark in there and I knew that the better views were up above after the first 5 kms. So I climbed. There are many I’ve met who were a bit worried about the climb, but while it starts steeply, seemingly most people make it. 

Once above the forest it opened up and looked so much like Ireland and Scotland. The rain held off and I pushed onwards having walked this climb with Annemarie in the rain and wind. I knew what that felt like and it wasn’t too much fun. I passed just a couple of people on the way up, but most people follow the standard stages and I expected that O’Cebreio to have cleared out by the time I arrived. 

I could see the mud on the trail from the day before.

The sun made a brief appearance which I appreciated, but it was fleeting. 

I passed an emotional waypoint as I crossed into Galicia! Always a special moment on any Camino in Spain as it signifies that you are getting closer to Santiago. 
About 2 kms from the summit I was greeted by the expected rain which was swept in by very heavy winds. It was pretty tough walking...

...but then I arrived.

...and took shelter in the beautiful little church. Not for the first time did I wonder why anyone would live up here where it’s so exposed to the elements. 

Ken, Annemarie, Jen and I stayed up here on a wet, cold, windy night and it was fun to visit, but very briefly because it was doing all those things again and it was colder! So I went over the top and started across the ridge and the wind was pretty crazy, blowing me around as I walked. Eventually the rain stopped for a while.

It’s been a brutal fall and scenes like this greeted me all day. Trees down everywhere.

I reached a landmark statue and I knew how he felt. A couple who were posing for photos snapped on of me. Yes I know I look a bit haggard, but C’est Camino! 

Shortly afterwards all hell broke loose and the wind fired up and brought the rain. No kidding, the rain was going sideways most of the time. I stored my camera. I caught up to many pilgrims, some hiding in the bars and others in farmers barns trying to stay dry. I decided that it was just wishful thinking and I put my head down and through walked. It meant I missed lunch, but to me there’s nothing worse than going inside, stripping all your gear and outer clothes off and then putting all that wet stuff on again. So I through walk in the rain most times. I stay warm that way and I can eat when I arrive. We are all different:)

I wish I could show you the rain. It was something else. Even the folks in town were saying the same today. But of course as I neared town the rain stopped for a while and the sun came out. Never fails! 

An umbrella that didn’t survive.

Annemarie again...

The Big Climbs: Having passed through O Cebreiro, Geoff has now completed all of the big climbs on this journey. There were seven in total, with the highest being the Somport pass and the steepest being O Cebreiro. How he has approached each climb has largely been dictated by the weather.  Earlier in the walk, due to the heat, we tried to plan the climbs for early in the day. When the temperature moderated (over the Somport pass), we aimed for clear weather, and as the weather has cooled, Geoff has worked to go over the climb earlier in the day so that he could his day lower down to avoid the coldest temperatures. For people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, the climbs and how they are approached serve as a metaphor for the bigger changes and challenges they encounter along the way. How these are approached depends not on the weather, but on the supports and services available to them. Where supports are available (good weather), they may choose to linger at the top, but where supports are sparse (poorer weather), they may have to push through to get back down to level ground. Like the weather, the timing of these big challenges is rarely predicable, but planning ahead as much as possible helps.

Now time to get my gear sorted and get a bit of rest.  Everyone had wet feet that I’ve spoken with. Mine were pretty dry which was nice. There is a major storm arriving tomorrow night ( Friday) so I plan a long day tomorrow and hope to make it close to Portomarin. So the post will likely be a bit later than usual. I feel like it’s time to wrap up this Camino as I’ve been on the road almost 50 days and a rest would be nice:) 137 kms to go and with luck and not too much mud and puddles I hope to get to Santiago in 4-5 days. It would be nice.

Buen Camino!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Geoff: Mom and I are back in Victoria again and I have just caught up on your last few days and your challenging trek over the final "Big Climb" before you get to Santiago. Sorry it wasn't a dryer experience but you just have to deal as best you can with whatever is served if you happen to be in that part of the world at this time of the year. We enjoyed much better weather than you did this past week in Tofino but we also had some heavy West Coast fog and rain which we viewed from the cosy warmth of our hotel lounge that had an extended surrounding view of the Pacific Ocean pounding on the rocks below the hotel. Really roughing it!!

    We were able to spend some time with Gord and Karen in Tofino. So unfortunate that they had to change their plans to join you on your Camino walk but they did manage to get to Tofino ( flew from P.G. to Nanaimo and then by car to Tofino) where they had rented a large condo so that many of their family could be there with them. Gord was able to indicate that he and Karen were sorry not to be able to join you as planned on the Camino journey (but he did manage to walk 2 kms last week) if you can imagine!! Who knows, maybe he will be ready for your next Camino!! More later.

    Safe journey tomorrow