No entry today to save battery. We are well and much encouraged after today’s long walk of 21+mi. Wild camping in a field next to a stream
Tomorrow Laon. Will fill you in tomorrow.
Well, actually we tapped into a power source at a nearby house construction site and now have some juice. How fortunate is that?
Wow, what a day! We started out slowly, taking almost 1-1/2hrs to pack up and leave the campsite. That wasn’t the plan since we had a long 21+ mile day ahead. We did consume a rice pudding cup and a hard-boiled egg in that time so breakfast was taken care of anyway.
Well most of you know that we felt pretty down the last two days. The lack of sleep and miles of unending hay fields and mud were taking their toll on our motivation. I sent a note to the VF Facebook sight with those feelings and asking for expectations ahead. They were all very encouraging. It really helped.
Anyway I started my hike by completely starting over with respect to my backpack adjustments. I’d been tweaking them each day to try to achieve better comfort without success. So I loosened everything and started over.
That seemed to help a lot. I still had neck and shoulder pain today, but it was sporadic and much reduced in duration. Allison however had a tougher morning. Things just weren’t right in her joints and feet. We stopped for several adjustments, a process that would have driven me nuts years ago (ref our 2014 Camino video “1,000,000 Steps Together” on YouTube). Before lunch, Allison was getting frustrated with the whole thing. I think it must have been just like my feelings yesterday.
Everything changed after lunch. We had a coffee at a tabac shop and then stopped for lunch shortly afterwards. The two breaks in a row did wonders and the last miles flew by.
However before lunch we had quite an adventure. The path I’d downloaded on GPS took us into the village of Jussy and then down along the Canal de St Quentin. We would be following alongside this canal for a large portion of the day. Well the “path” was thick, uncut grass and that didn’t feel right. We’d seen images of others alongside these canals, and they were on a open cinder path. But often these paths change in character so on we walked.
Well, the path did change. The grass got higher and filled in with nettles. Ugh. Then the path got very narrow (4” wide) and then the 4” path got precariously close to the canal edge. We seriously nearly tumbled-in more that once. Something was definitely not right. Finally, the brush became impassable. We’d done something wrong.
Looking at my GPS I could see and hear a nearby road so we went all “jungle safari” and slashed a path through a steep bank of vines and nettles on all fours. It took us an hour but we hacked our way up to a hay field where the road was in sight. Though we were scarred by numerous nettle stings and briar scrapes, we laughed upon reaching the road at the craziness of the whole detour.
Once we actually found an alternative real canal path, the canal walk was much more enjoyable. The accessibility of the path had a lot to do with that. I was relieved there were no more jungle type scrambling. The canal included several old locks and boat tie ups. We even saw one long boat which looked to be someone’s home at one time or maybe even currently.
Our path took us by a Lidl where we stocked up on supplies for the next 24 hours. We even found the much-wished-for bug spray!!! Take that mosquitoes. While at Lidl, we attempted to arrange our accommodations for the night. It was tough with the language barrier. The only lodging was full. However we did accept their offer to camp in a nearby pasture.
It was the perfect end to a crazy day.
The story for the day ended with our hosts showing us to our spot down the road. It’s…a lovely grassy spot…really nice of them to accommodate us.