Out of Water

Day 14 – Friday, August 9 – Saint Maurice de Rotherens to Chanaz – 36 km

I had breakfast at 7, and was ready to go by 7:45. Before I left, Chantal showed me the little chapel that was built into the house. It really is an amazing Gîte. 

I had to go back through town, so that added some time and distance. Chantal said today would be really lovely, and she was right. It turned out to be a very long day, but luckily most of that was in the woods. 

Last night at the Belvedere, Chantal had said that the previous day, the pilgrims coming in to Saint Maurice get to see little Belvederes as they go, but then she shows them the big one. I got to see what she meant. The path through the woods followed alongside the edge of a cliff, and sometimes you could see out over the river.

It was a very beautiful day. I could tell early that it was going to be very hot, so luckily the first part of my day was mostly in the shade, as the sun was covered by the mountain. 

I felt like I was making good time. The signage posts here are in hours instead of kms. Leaving Saint Maurice, it said it was 5 hours to Yenne. I made it there right about noon.

I passed several pilgrims who must have stayed in Yenne the night before. 

I went a bit into the city to take pictures. Yenne is supposed to be very pretty. I thought it was ok. I found the public bathroom, and it was totally disgusting. Worst by far this trip. Think New York Subway in all aspects. Peeing in the woods would be cleaner, and I didn’t want to set my bag anywhere. I had peed in the woods about 30 mins before I got into town because I couldn’t wait anymore. That was a very good decision.

I bought a sandwich at a boulangerie on my way out. That also turned out to be a good decision. 

Leaving town, the path goes along side the river as part of a park through the woods. There was a bench early on in the shade, so I decided to go ahead and eat my sandwich. I didn’t know if there would be a better opportunity later. It was also a brief rest for my feet. The sandwich was perfect. Chicken and tomatoes and mayo. The mayo here is really good. The bread was super crusty and chewy and really the perfect sandwich bread.


Even though I was walking along the river I didn’t get a super good look at it a lot. The color is really interesting. It’s probably something to do with the minerals in the rocks in the mountains.

There was a little forest of horsetails.

After leaving the forest, I went through come cornfields toward a mountain. I had a feeling I was going to be going up it, and I did. It was a lot of switchbacks. At least it was shaded, but it was on the side blocking the wind. By this time it was in the 90s. I was sucking wind and dripping sweat.

I made it to the top and there was a pilgrim starting to come down. She looked fresh and not the least bit sweaty. I must have looked awful, because she said, “bon courage.” I gasped a thank you.

At the top of the hill was a little chapel, and then I entered the wine country of the Savoie. As I was walking through the vineyard, I realized it was getting difficult to suck water out of my tube. I thought there was no way I could be out already, and if I was, then I would be in trouble for walking in the alps. It would be difficult to carry more water. By this time it was at least 95 and no shade.

I made it into the town of Jongieux, and started looking for water. There was a fountain that said it was non potable. I was thinking about knocking on someone’s door. I saw some people sitting inside and office type thing and tried to ask where I could find water. They said back that way 50 m, but I’m pretty sure that was the non potable fountain. Maybe they don’t like pilgrims. The entire town is multiple different wine tasting galleries, but they all looked closed. That might be because of the heat. I saw two men loading some wine into the back of a car, and I approached, croaking, asking for water. The man who spoke some English was the owner of one of the wine places, so he took me inside and gave me water. Shortly before I ran into him, I had tried to drink from my tube and got nothing, and broke into a coughing fit. I drank three glasses of water and he filled my bottles. I opened my pack to show him that I’d emptied my 3L bladder, but it turns out there was just a kink in the tube and it was almost 3/4 full. I felt pretty stupid. But I still told him he saved my life, and he let me take a picture. He also refilled my bladder with cool water. He was very kind. He said I should remember him to the pope.


By this time it was 3 pm and I still had two hours to go. It was a bit rough, but at least I had cool water, and all I wanted!

I made it into town at 5 pm. 9 hours and 36 km later. I had wanted to do a longer day because of all the shorter ones I’d been having, but I didn’t want it to be THAT long. Today really should have been split in two.

The people I’m staying in the Gîte with are going to Saint Maurice tomorrow. I will tell them it took 9 hours and to leave early. 

It’s a 4 bed Gîte and I got the last one, which is a top bunk. That should be interesting. 

I took a shower and did a quick hand wash on my clothes and put them out to dry before finally getting off my feet. My Gîte mates went out to explore the town and will be back to get me for dinner.

My feet hurt pretty badly yesterday. I did take the prednisone in the afternoon, and I’m not sure it helped, but this morning I took some ibuprofen and some more prednisone, and my feet did pretty well for the first half of the day. As long as they feel ok in the morning starting out, I should be ok.

I was trying to explain my foot pain to Chantal, but pain is hard to describe to people who don’t have it. She wanted to know where it hurt and why. It’s all of my foot, and it just hurts, but feels better with rest. No blisters. I told her my feet hurt when I stop walking, so she said I should just never stop. The problem is they would hurt even worse when I finally did! 

And I don’t know really what exactly it is about my feet. I know I have arch issues, but idk how much of the rest of the pain is just because of me. I have unexplained widespread pain. I was reminded by a friend who works in healthcare that whenever someone complains of generalized pain, they are less likely to be taken seriously. That makes things difficult for people with general pain. I know when I went to the neurologist, he wanted me to say where it hurt, and I said everywhere. He wanted to know specifics, and I said, “literally everywhere.” There’s not much they can do with that. The back of my skull doesn’t hurt, but literally everything else does. 

I really hope that eventually they’ll figure out what fibro is and how to treat it. Is it muscular, is it neurological, is it mitochondrial, is it too much lactic acid? I tried to ask the neurologist that if I was having pain everywhere, doesn’t that mean it’s a neurological issue? He said no. Something causes me to feel pain, but is there actually something to cause pain, or does my brain just think there is? 

Idk. Today my thoughts are with Ohio. Right now, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy is having their public hearing on whether to ban Kratom. Kratom is what I use to treat my fibro and it has completely changed my life. It’s why I’m here. It’s why I have hope for the future that I won’t have to rely on my family or the state for support. I have hope for the first time in 20 years. Kratom makes me human. In 2016 the FDA tried to get the DEA to ban it nationally, but they failed because they couldn’t prove it was dangerous. Now the FDA is going state to state to try to get it banned that way. Kratom isn’t completely benign, it can be abused, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used properly. I know it’s a God-given gift, and I hope I can keep using it. 

Whatever happens in Ohio, I won’t be staying. It makes sense for me to move out to Utah where most of my family is. But I would also like to be able to function in Ohio without the threat of jail, especially since I’m by myself now.

Anyway… My thoughts are in Ohio. I had been planning on being at the meeting, but they didn’t announce the date until after I’d bought my plane ticket. The problem is, the OBOP already scheduled their JCARR meeting for Monday to push the ban through, so it really sounds like they already made up their minds before hearing public testimony. The original vote to ban was 7-5, so I was hoping that few more could be swayed. It could still happen. A lot of people’s lives depend on this. 

People are so pro life, but they don’t seem to care much about quality of life, especially when it comes to chronic pain.

There were two restaurants to choose from, and they chose the one without burgers. I really would have eaten a burger, but I had to eat pizza again. I like pizza, but I didn’t want it so soon.

Roger and Gisele are walking to Compostelle. They live on the south side of Lake Geneva, so they are very familiar with the GRBL and GR 5.

Louis from Belgium is walking for two weeks however far he gets.



Add yours →

  1. What a view! I’m glad you did not use up all your water that fast. Whew!


  2. Love the crusty bread in Europe


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