Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!

Day 19 – Wednesday, August 14 – Habere Poche Doucy les Ronzes to Armoy – 21k

506.5 km traveled so far, average of 26.7k per day.

I didn’t sleep great. I was too hot and too cold again. It was much colder here. But I had breakfast at 7. That was a bit of a comedy. They gave me hot chocolate. Two different kinds of powder and hot milk. I made the kind I usually get, the Poulain, and then I decided to try the other. Apparently it was pure cacao with no sugar, and I used too much powder and the milk wasn’t hot enough anymore to melt it. I added some sugar cubes but they didn’t dissolve. It was a mess and really not that good.

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I was on my way by 8, and it was actually pretty cold. It said it was 51 degrees, but with a pack and no wind climbing up, it was perfect. I was already at 1000m, and was going up to 1500m, but I still climbed for a solid hour. 

When I got closer to the top, the wind started coming through. It was perfect. I started descending again pretty quickly, but it was obvious I had another peak in front of me. 

As I was coming down the other side, I suddenly realized I could see Mt. Blanc! At least, I was pretty sure that’s what it was. I mean, it was a huge, snow covered peak. It was white, and none of the others really were, so Mt. Blanc, right?

As I was standing there marveling at what I was looking at, I got surprised by a friendly dog out for a walk.

I had two choices. I could avoid the peak and go to the town, or I could go to the town over the peak. It was very close, but it was very, very steep. I decided to go up. 

Just as I started up, a guy on a mountain bike was coming down. People do crazy things. I do crazy things sometimes. It was actually a fun climb. It was mostly jagged rocks sticking out from the dirt with very little footholds. I had to choose my way pretty carefully. Going down would have been much harder, but going up was fun, and a little precarious! I made it to the top just in time to be attacked by a small terrier. He didn’t actually attack me, he just told me he wanted to. The man apologized profusely, but I was too out of breath to really say anything. I have to say, I’m very glad I have poles. They are so very handy for pretty much everything.

The view from the top was AMAZING. Best decision ever! I am so glad I decided to do this. I tend to go overboard sometimes. When I was planning to walk to Rome, I could have just walked in Italy. I did realize that walking from England was realistically out of my timeframe. But walking from Le Puy seemed to be the perfect alternative, and I had choices from there! Hiking in the Alps has always been a dream, but was it a realistic dream? If I’m ever going to do it, the younger the better, and I was already going to be so close, I might as well combine the pilgrimage with a bit of a detour. Not really a detour, but an alternative route. So then I decided to do the Balcon du Leman as a warm up and to see how I was handling things. And I am doing so well. I just can’t even describe the feelings I’m having. I am amazed to be here. This has to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The whole thing kind of blows my mind.

There were 360 degree views. Mt. Blanc and other mountains in the Alps that I have no idea what they are, and the lake. And I could see the other mountains I had been on previously. 

I wanted to stay up there much longer than I did. I tried to soak it up as much as possible, but I really wasn’t sure how far I had to go today, and I was already behind the sign estimates. 

I started down the peak and ran into a lot of day hikers coming up. This must be a very popular peak! There were several families with little kids. The descent was nice and gradual.

I got down to the little town between peaks. It’s amazing looking back where you’ve been. The ups and downs all happen one step at a time.

Almost immediately I started heading up to the next peak. For some reason, second ascents are easier than the first one of the day. 

This mountain had a church on top, and on the approach to the church, there were 13 or so cross stations that highlighted a different event.

I headed down the other side, across, and up again. This mountain also had a few nice views, but not like before.

I was making really good time. I started my final descent around 1 pm, which meant I would actually get to my hotel pretty early, and for once I hadn’t severely underestimated the time I would need for the day.

I went across a lovely meadow called the Mountain of Sisters. Then I had a choice of how to go down. I decided to take the route that didn’t immediately connect with the GR 5. I’m going backwards toward the lake a bit, which means I’m going to have to come back this way after my rest day. I didn’t want to repeat something if I didn’t have to. I took the descent on the side of the town I’m heading to.

According to my app, it looked like a nice, long, gradual descent. Somehow I got tricked by some very insistent arrows into going down a very steep, rapid decline. It was definitely the steepest descent I’ve had yet. I had to go very slowly and pick my way carefully.

It finally came out onto a gravel road that was gentler. Then I connected to neighborhoods.

I had a choice of going on the GR 5 through some woods, or doing down a main road. I decided the main road didn’t cut off enough distance to make it worth it, but I almost regretted it. The path through the woods was pretty bad. Horribly steep and poorly marked. I might not go back this way and go down the road anyway. Idk.

I made it to the hotel about 2:30. My room wasn’t ready yet, so I had to wait a bit. Unfortunately, the hotel does not have a laundry service, and the town doesn’t have one either. I would have to take a taxi. I was really looking forward to a good wash on my clothes. 

I took a shower, then discovered that my bed doesn’t have a top sheet. I went down to the desk to ask for one. He came up to the room and just took the duvet out of the cover, then took the duvet with him. I have another blanket I can use if I need it.

I spent some time with my feet up the wall. It’s amazing how much that hurts, but I guess that means it’s working? 

I spent an hour getting a good wash on my clothes. I don’t even know how many times it took for my socks to run clear. 

But I am in the hotel now for the next 43 or so hours. Usually I like to take a rest day in a place where I can sight see a bit and not just sit in the hotel, but this time I’ll probably just be in the hotel. I need to try to plan the rest of the GR 5 and Mont Blanc. It’s going to be weird not walking tomorrow, but I am also looking forward to the rest. I think I need it more mentally than physically. 

There is a bakery and a convenience store just next door. I picked up a nut croissant and bread and pate for the morning. I don’t want it spend 11 E on a buffet breakfast on a day I’m not walking. I also got a pack of wipes for the TMB, just in case I end up in a place with no running water.

After three days of sandwiches, I am going to treat myself to an expensive, hopefully nice, dinner.

Dinner was excellent, but I had a bit of plate envy. I went with the 35 E dinner. The cheaper one came with chicken skewers and they were HUGE. After the first two courses I thought I was going to go hungry, but the cheese course redeemed it. Apparently I could have as much as I wanted. I took 4 of the 6 options. The first course was a goat cheese and herb thing with salad. Then fish with vegetables. Cheese, all delicious. And a red berry tiramisu. I have no idea what those red berries were on top, but they were scrumptious!

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5 Comments

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  1. I have been following you since you did the Camero (?) I am on 2 Peas with your sister Helena. Don’t want you to think I am some kind of weird stalker. I am glad your health is holding up. I am not Catholic but I Googled “Stations of the Cross”. I think that is what you might have seen. Catholics pray and use Rosary beads (I think) when doing the Stations of the Cross. You can Google if you want more information. Here are the 14 stations:

    1. Jesus Is Condemned to Death.
    Pontius Pilate condemns Jesus to death.

    2. Jesus Takes Up His Cross.
    Jesus willingly accepts and patiently bears his cross.

    3. Jesus Falls the First Time.
    Weakened by torments and by loss of blood, Jesus falls beneath his cross.

    4. Jesus Meets His Sorrowful Mother.
    Jesus meets his mother, Mary, who is filled with grief.

    5. Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross.
    Soldiers force Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross.

    6. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus.
    Veronica steps through the crowd to wipe the face of Jesus.

    7. Jesus Falls a Second Time.
    Jesus falls beneath the weight of the cross a second time.

    8. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem.
    Jesus tells the women to weep not for him but for themselves and for their children.

    9. Jesus Falls the Third Time.
    Weakened almost to the point of death, Jesus falls a third time.

    10. Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments.
    The soldiers strip Jesus of his garments, treating him as a common criminal.

    11. Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross.
    Jesus’ hands and feet are nailed to the cross.

    12. Jesus Dies on the Cross.
    After suffering greatly on the cross, Jesus bows his head and dies.

    13. Jesus Is Taken Down From the Cross.
    The lifeless body of Jesus is tenderly placed in the arms of Mary, his mother.

    14. Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb.
    Jesus’ disciples place his body in the tomb.

    The closing prayer—sometimes included as a 15th station—reflects on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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  2. Those red berries are currants. They grew in our backyard when we lived in Germany. I’m enjoying your blog!

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  3. beautiful pics as usual! Glad you are doing so well. Love hearing about your adventure.

    Like

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