Way Off Path

Day 10 – Monday, 5 August – Roybon to La Frette – 37.5km

Yesterday was so hot in my little cabin. Before dinner, I was lying on the bed, resting my feet, with the door open to try to get some breeze coming in. The sun was beating on the cabin making it super hot. But I was lying there, just being hot. I wasn’t sweating at all. That is very nice about France, that it really isn’t very humid. I do sweat while I walk, but I don’t sweat just because I exist. And as soon as the sun went behind the trees it cooled off immediately. It took longer for the cabin to cool off, but I actually needed a blanket during the night. The bad thing about camping is having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, which of course, I did. There are so many stars here, and I could see the Milky Way.

I got ready early enough that I was cinching my waist belt when the church in the village struck 7. I figured I had a 7 or 8 hour walk today, so starting that early would be helpful.

I’m getting low on cash, and I knew Roybon was supposed to have an ATM, but I didn’t see one. It’s possible it’s inside a bank, and when things are closed up you really can’t tell that there’s anything there.

I came to a junction that was a little confusing at first, but I started walking up the hill toward the church and sure enough I found the markings. The church was locked. Apparently only the churches that are directly on the popular path are open all the time. Hopefully there will be more when I’m back on the GR 65.

It was a lovely, cool, morning, and I decided to war my long sleeve to give my arms a rest from the sun. I was starting to regret it, though, because I really do get hot.

I had absolutely no trouble following the markers. After a while, something made me kind of suspicious, so I pulled my map out and I found I was WAAAAAY off course. I hadn’t looked at my phone because I though everything was going well.  I didn’t think about how many yellow routes there could be. And because I hadn’t been checking my app, it hadn’t started recording properly. I’ve been recording both with IPhiGéNie and Map My Walk. Map My Walk said I had gone 6 miles in a little less than two hours, or almost 10k. It was already going to be a 30k day, and I was 10k off course. I had a few, “oh, crap,” moments. I went the wrong direction straight out of town, so if I backtracked all the way, I would be 4 hours behind. I barely had enough reception to get google maps to work, and it said I was only 4 hours away from La Frette, which is where I was going. I was supposed to go mostly north and then east today. I had gone straight east, and a bit south. 

Since I hadn’t found an ATM in Roybon, I knew there was one in Saint Simeon be Bressieux, so I started heading back that way. I probably should have either headed straight for La Frette, or back tracked all the way to find the proper path again. 

Getting lost, taking a detour, going on an adventure, it’s all the same, right?

I started following google maps, but it was taking me on roads that weren’t actually viable, so I ran into some problems pretty quickly. It wanted me to go north through the woods, but there was barely even a path. It had been a road a while ago, but it was completely overgrown. I was definitely off path. 

I finally came out onto a road, but it quickly led me into a nature preserve. It wanted me to go on the road through the reserve. There was another path following along the outside fence, so I took that instead, hoping the roads would connect. There was a tall wire fence with barbed wire at the top. That road on the outside eventually turned back west, so I backtracked and went along the fence inside. It was obviously not a well used road. I got pretty well along that fence, when I started wondering what if I got al lithe way there and there was no way out and I had to come back?  I tried to pull up the reserve on my phone to see if there was another entrance/exit, and that’s when I discovered that it was some kind of wildlife park. The cattle guard at the entrance should have clued me in a bit. I thought about walking to the middle of the park and asking at the visitors center if there was another exit, but I had already wasted a lot of time and foot distance already. I decided to assume that the fence went all the way around with only one entrance.

So now I had to go back out and around to where I had gone before. I had to go back west before I could go north and start going east again.

After that it was a pretty straight shot to where I was going, so I knew I was going to get there. The only problem was it was 15k on roads. I didn’t even want to know how far I’d already gone. That wasn’t going to help me keep going. I kept saying that in my head, “keep going, keep going.” The sun was hot, and road made it hotter. 

I got into St. Etienne de St. Geoirs around 1:30. I had kind of been hoping I could find a place to eat lunch. I guess I forgot to mention I’d been doing this all with no breakfast. The church was closed, and I didn’t find anywhere I wanted to stop. Lunch was about to end, anyway, and there’s a good chance I would have been told the kitchen was closed. But, I did find an ATM! So that’s a relief. 

On the way out of town I found a Lidl, which if you don’t know, is pretty much like an Aldi. I was hoping I could find a sandwich or something, but I got a piece of focaccia with Bree, and a banana, and I used the bathroom. Right across the street from the Lidl was a food truck with burgers, which I totally would have gotten one, but he was closing up as I approached.

I ate as I walked, and the last 10k or so was on a pretty busy road. Like a highway, and not meant to be walked along. I walked against traffic, and the cars moved over for me when there was no one in the other lane.

There was very little shade. I decided to cross the road and rest under some trees for a bit. I took my pack off and put my feet up on it and laid (lied?) on the ground. I know objects lay and people lie, but that sounds so wrong. Apparently there was some kind of dark brown sap on the ground, or maybe it’s grasshopper spit, but it’s in my clothes and idk if it will come out.

I finally limped into town about 3:30 and found my hotel. It’s an extremely old building but it does have electricty and it appears to have wifi, but I haven’t asked yet. I think I’m the only one here.

The worst part about walking for a long time on roads is that stopping hurts even more. It hurts to keep walking and it hurts to stop. It’s like when the pressure is released, my brain doesn’t know what to do with the signals. This is the worst my feet have hurt so far. So, so bad. They are starting to ease up a bit, but holy cow it’s so incredibly painful. At least it’s only really my feet, unless my feet just hurt so bad I don’t notice the rest. I really should take a rest day soon, but I’ve already booked the next 3 days, but they are shorter. Well, all of the rest of my days should be shorter than today. It ended up being like 37.5k. Hopefully I’ll never have to do that again. I will be checking my map more frequently. I just can’t believe I made such a stupid mistake. I looked at the route last night and compared to my book, and it clearly went left out of town, and I went right without thinking, because that’s the way the signs said, and then I didn’t double check for TWO HOURS. You’d think after what I’ve been through already with the signage, I would have paid more attention. 

But I’m here. I probably missed some very lovely things on the route I was supposed to take. I do not recommend anyone follow the same way I did today. 

The lady doesn’t speak any English, but she is patient. She said I could eat whenever I wanted, so I’m going for 6:30. 

Tomorrow I’m booked 2k off path. It was a shorter day, so I hoped it would be ok. I hope it still is. And I hope it’s only 2k. Apparently it’s on a beach of a lake.

Oh! So I finally saw that big animal. I can’t remember if I remembered to talk about it yesterday or not. There’s some kind of large wildlife that I’ve heard crashing through the woods and caught glimpses of. Yesterday I saw one cross my path, and it looked like a short, fat, deer, but possibly had horns. So maybe some kind of antelope? It was hard to really know what I saw, though. But today I saw one clearly, and it is clearly some kind of antelope! Dad really liked seeing deer and antelope. He was a very distracted driver. He would look for deer and we would tell him to keep his eyes on the road. I’m sure he would love to see the antelope. Can you see it? The fence makes it difficult.


Now that I’ve got the WiFi working I’m trying to figure out what it was. So far, no luck. I guess I need a better look. I do think it had some white on its face, but it was short and deer colored, and I think the horns were straight. Idk.

Dinner at 6:30 was perfect. Now it’s 7:15 and I get to spend the next 12 hours in bed. Hopefully my feet will recover well enough. I did ok walking downstairs, but once I get off them again they hurt like heck.

Dinner was good. It was a pretty common pilgrim meal. A watery soup of some kind, which ate all 3 bowls of. Then chicken with pasta and chard. When she brought out the dessert, which was raspberries, I could smell the alcohol. I convinced her to bring me some that didn’t even have a little in it.

Tomorrow I can’t arrive at my hotel until 4 pm, and I only have 19k to go. That’s about 5 hours. She was trying to get me to leave at 7 am because it’s going to be hot tomorrow. I don’t really care. There’s no point if I have to sit around for 3 hours before I can check in! I managed to talk her into an 8 am breakfast, which means I’ll leave right before 9. I guess I’ll have to take some long breaks tomorrow. And hopefully there are no route surprises that prolong things!



Add yours →

  1. Wow. Rough day. Hopefully that’s the worst! We are praying for you!
    I want to see the milky way!
    (“Lay” in this case–past tense of lie. English is super weird.)


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