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Le Chemin de Compostelle Part 1

Written on: Friday June 27th, 2014

A journal entry from: Europe 2014

We took the bus from Cahors to Figeac, our last stop on last year's walk. For this stage of the walk we took what is called "une variante".That is we left the main trail to follow the CÚlÚ river valley back to Cahors. It is the more difficult way but also very beautiful. Surprisingly this is a relatively quiet time of the year for the chemin and we did not see very many other hikers. We did meet a few interesting people however, including an English couple who recently bought a house overlooking the river without realizing that it was also an established bed and breakfast. Without knowing a word of French they have nevertheless launched into the business and, helped by the fact that Ian is a trained chef, are doing quite well. We started off the first day in exceedingly hot weather but a massive thunderstorm that night cooled things down considerably. This was a good thing as this part of the walk is quite arid and there are few places to obtain drinking water. We decided to do things differently this year and are taking a break in the middle of the walk in order to rest our aching muscles before heading on to the next stage. Hopefully this will make it less arduous as walking 20 plus kilometres a day puts a stress on these old bodies. (speak for yourself Larry!)

 

From Anne and Pat on Jun 28th, 2014

Happy Belated Birthday Larry! Thank you for your continued inspiration, you two!!

From Naka on Sep 11th, 2014

A FISHER SAVED MY LIFE! After my mother's death in 1987 I was very desspered. I had lost faith in myself and in life and ended up farming my 2 teenage kids out to friends and going homeless myself. Home, as it were, became the woods of Phippsburg, Maine, where I pitched a tent and furnished it with a cot, a lantern and a camping stove. I kept my clothes in plastic bags. Well, I had been there through the summer and fall, and now it was late November. It was getting very cold and icy rains were falling hard. In fact, I was woken up about midnight one night and the rain was coming down so hard I thought it would flatten the tent. I thought I'd better get up and check the tent poles. So I flung my foot over the side of my cot and, to my utter shock, it plunged into frigid water about half way up my calf! So I yanked it back and grabbed my flashlight. When I swept the inside of the tent with the beam I saw a strange site all of my plastic bags of clothes were floating here and there. The tent was filling with water! I burst into tears and probably added another few inches of water to the flood. But incredibly despite how awful things were, the next day I STILL couldn't bring myself to rent an apartment even though I had $10,000 in the bank! That's how messed up I was. It was going to take something even worse to motivate me. Here's what finally levered me out of my emotional morass: it was the middle of the night, just a few nights later Thanksgiving eve I recall and I was jerked awake by the most god-awful sound. It sounded like a women being murdered and shrieking in the most utter agony! Could it really be that? But then I remembered that there was a local legend about The Phippsburg Shrieker, which was described as a yeti-like monster. And that scared me even more! In any case, it sounded so close that I thought for sure it whether it was a murderer or a monster was going to rip my tent open and kill me! I lay wide awake and shaking, huddled in my sleeping bag, clutching my open jack knife, all night. But that did it. I had finally had enough. So when, the dawn eventually broke an eternity later I took a cautious peek outside, and seeing that the coast was clear, I dove into action: broke camp; threw my gear in my truck; barreled to the nearby town of Bath and rented the first place I looked at which was a half of a duplex on Elm Street. Then I got my stuff out of storage and my kids from friends and we moved in. The place was a dump (but with good-bones ) and my kids dubbed it The Nightmare on Elm Street. But I was so happy to be inside where it was warm and dry, and to have my children with me again that I didn't care. And besides, I love to do extreme make-overs. (This turned out to be very extreme but worth it.) So, on the wings of my new found gratitude and abundance attitude I #1 turned the dump into into a palace, #2 started a new successful business, and #3 transformed my nightmare life into a dream. However, it wasn't until the following June, when I went back to Phippsburg for my birthday celebration, that I discovered exactly what it was that I had heard that terrifying night the November before. My family and I were seated in Spinney's restaurant ordering a lobster dinner and looking out at the sunset over the water. While we were waiting for our meal to come I got talking with some folks at the next table. They were local people I knew slightly. And in the course of conversation I shared the story of my encounter with the Phippsburg Shrieker. As I wrapped it up, I noticed the family exchanging knowing glances and grins. Then, after hemming and hawing a bit the father explained, Ayuh, we git rid of a lot of folks-from-away with thet monst-ah myth. But since you ahn't from too-o-o far away, I'll let you in on the truth. The Shriek-ah is really just a FISH-AH. Ayuh, ayuh, ayuh. Well, we all had a good laugh about that and ever since I have loved fishers, because if it hadn't been for The Phippsburg Shrieker they'd have probably have found my frozen body in that tent come spring.