Crossing the Rhône River Valley

Day 7 – Friday, 2 August – La Roche de Glun to Saint Ange – 31 km

 I think that was the best night of sleep I’ve gotten yet. I kind of woke up in the middle of the night, but I fell back asleep. I didn’t even get up to go to the bathroom. And when I did look at the time, it was 6:26. My alarm was supposed to go off at 6:28. 

Breakfast was excellent. The apricot preserves are so good. Apricots are local to the region. I remembered to be good and not eat too much. I did ask my hosts if I could take a picture of them. The husband was all for it, but the wife didn’t want her picture posted on any social media. So no pics! I totally recommend them, though. Like, if you just want to come to France to stay with them, that would be worth it. It’s too bad I’m not coming back by here.

I managed to get on the way shortly after 8. I tried to go see the church, but it was locked.

I had been very concerned about this day. The route is not a GR path, so it doesn’t show up at all on my app. I still have my map and gps, so I can’t get super lost, but I just don’t know if I’m on the path. It’s not a common path, either, so it’s really not marked very well, especially going in the opposite direction, which is the way I’m going. 

I found the yellow markers going out of the city, but that’s pretty much only because there is only one bridge off the island. I managed to stay on course for a while, but as soon as the road veered to the left, I lost the signs. I had looked at the junction for signs but I didn’t see any. Instead of back tracking, it looked like I’d be able to reconnect further ahead. I did find them, but then it sent me through a farm, and just like that I lost it again. I ended up going through a vineyard to connect with the road that I thought the markers would be on. Pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to go that way. But I did find it again. 

Things went pretty well for a while after that. It was super flat, super hot and sunny, and the road surface was super hard.

I got into Mours-St-Eusebe a little after 12. I had called my host and let him know I would be in Saint Ange around 3:30. I was basing that on my previous speed, not thinking to take into account that from then on it would be uphill. I also lost the signs in the city and couldn’t find them. I guessed from the map and the rough picture in the guide book where the route would be, but I totally wasted time and distance trying to guess. 

I managed to find the route by luck. It ended up taking me through a dirt bike area, which had tons of little paths all around. I kept going, and every once in a while I’d see a sign that said I was still going the right way. 

I called my host back and told him I’d gotten lost and wouldn’t be there at 3:30, but that I would call him when I got there.

I just kept going uphill, and finally I got to a cross roads at the top of the mountain. I started going to the left, but when I checked my map, I saw that St. Ange was actually right in front of me. When I got there, there was no church, it was a half ruined barn connected to a house that looked like someone lived there. I called the guy, and he said to sit at some picnic tables and get some water from the tap. I didn’t see anything like that. I said, “I hope I’m in the right place, because I don’t see those. I’ll look around.” I didn’t see anything, but I went and sat under a tree. After 10 minutes passed and he hadn’t shown up, I checked my phone, and saw that there was another St. Ange around the corner, where I had started going in the first place. It was really only a 10 min walk. I started on my way and called him back to let him know I wasn’t far, and apologized for being difficult. 

I finally made it to the right place.  He lives in a place a bit north, but it’s still far enough off path that he picks people up and then drops them back the next day. Thankfully he speaks very good English.

Road walking is really, really awful. I’ve heard that there’s a lot of that in Italy. I’ve got time, so I will take shorter days. I would rather spend all day walking up stony, mountain paths than walk all day on a road. 

They live in a beautiful little isolated house that used to be a farm. Their pilgrim room has 3 beds. The shower had no curtain and was a tiny thing, so I had to get creative to not get water everywhere. And I got to use a washer again! I also washed my towel this time. I think it’s done, so I need to find where the line is.

What a happy, quiet place this is. I could totally live on a little French farm. He told me to check out the garden and eat some strawberries and raspberries, so I did. The strawberries were delicious. There’s a cliff face behind the house, with things carved out of it. I think it’s chalk. I asked him if it was the Alps I see, and he said these are the Pre-Alps, make of chalk, while the real Alps are granite.

Last time, seeing the Pyrenees for the first time was emotional for several reasons. I’d been walking for almost a month, and I’d been out of the mountains for a while. They were also almost exactly the halfway point. The Alps are different. They are kind of a halfway point, but not based on time. Plus I never really got to leave one mountain range before seeing them. There are lots of mountains at the beginning of this trek.

It looks like there is WiFi, but I haven’t asked about it yet. 

I know I said at the beginning that I was doing this for therapy. I think it’s starting. The past three days people have asked me why I’m doing this, so I’ve told them. Both of my parents died this year. It makes me say it, and it makes me feel it.

My feet hurt the worst. My knees seem to be doing ok. My legs are mostly ok. The muscle in my thigh hasn’t been giving me as much trouble. I got more sunburn on some places I didn’t cover fully. My thumb and forefinger, parts of my neck. I also have some blisters on the back of my arm, but it’s not even super red, just blistery. I got a few mosquito bites on my ankles and legs; not sure when. 

Everything seems to be going well so far. It really is a miracle that I’m doing this at all. I have so much trouble with my upper back and sacrum that I go to the chiropractor regularly. For the two months before I left, I was going every week. I am really doing ok, and I really hope it continues.

I tried to flop my ankles a bit more as I walked, so they wouldn’t tighten up like they did yesterday. 

Dinner was excellent. They kept telling me to take more. I had three helpings. It was a zucchini and tomato and cheese thing with a little bit of meat. Some dried sausage, melon, cheeses, and fruit for dessert. I told them I don’t eat while I walk, but I think they are going to make me a lunch anyway. 

4 Comments

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  1. ” I could totally live on a little French farm. ”
    We could come help out…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am loving reading about your walk! Now I want to go! I am not that brave though to go alone. The photos are gorgeous. SO glad things are going well!

    Like

  3. Great post as always Betsey. Rural France is one of my favorite places in the world and you are making the best of it.

    Like

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