Day41 Besancon to Foucherons – up and into the woods

Rest days are a blessing and a curse. Our bodies and minds really appreciated the rest day, but starting up again sure is hard. You’d think with toned muscles and a nice rest that you’d be invigorated and ready to go, but the opposite is true – it is for us anyway.

Morning update Day41

The morning started our chilly and the streets of Besancon were all but deserted when we headed out early this morning. We were there shortly after the doors opened at the earliest rising bakery – pun intended.

But today all we wanted was some bread for our lunch. We had a steep start right off the bat, so we didn’t want to load up with food. There was a grocery in the town ahead that we’d be passing just about lunch time and we had been forewarned by our next host that we needed to bring dinner and breakfast with us.

Leaving Besancon my hip and feet were complaining right from the start and the thought of a climb was not exciting me. I think Allison was also hesitant. But as we walked along the River prior to the climb I couldn’t resist the beauty of the morning. It was cool and crisp. The Doub River was flowing swiftly and the sound was like heaven to me. Looking up, the Citadel towered above us. It seemed insurmountable, but we knew that’s exactly where we had to go.

We turned the corner away from the river and the climb came at us like a steam train. I honestly don’t recall my pack feeling as heavy as it did this morning. My hip groaned and my knee complained. A second later I looked up and Allison was a good 50m ahead and above me.

But as I warmed up and my body gave into the reality that play-time was over I started to feel better. Soon, in a clearing I was astounded to see that we were looking down at the Citadel. It looked so small and “ordinary” from that vantage point.

The Citadel from above

The rest of our day was like this. Steep climbs followed by long slow descents, slowly gaining altitude.

I am making this sound like a final day on Everest. In reality we’ve climbed steeper and more difficult climbs and more will come in the next weeks, but today was just unusually difficult for some reason.

Woodland photo op

About 2/3 the way in we stopped for a break. As we were sitting there Gilbert stopped to talk to us. He is just recently retired and loves to walk in the quiet of nature. Now here is someone who would love long distance hiking. He did say that the Camino Français is too crowded for him. So of course we had to tell him about the VF. He was amazed that this trail went right through his town. We said our goodbye and Gilbert continued on his way. Just before we were going to pack up, Gilbert comes jogging back to say he has a friend who might be willing to provide us lodging for the night. He called and left a message on their home answering machine basically saying an American couple would be calling them later.

Gilbert’s story – amazing generosity.

The trail had been primarily woods through the day. It was lovely. The shade and beauty of the forest is hard to beat. It made the remaining climbs more bearable.

Wooded path.

We ended up staying with our original plan as we had a reservation and we were both just worn out. It is so difficult to get back into the groove. We marched up to the building to find a sign on the door saying to call a phone number upon arrival. So we did and not 5 minutes later a gentleman showed up and gave us the grand tour.

He spoke only French but spoke so slowly and deliberately for us that we grasped just about every word. He wasn’t satisfied however and had his grandson called over to make sure we were ok. When he found out that we’d tried to stop at the grocery the town away but that it was closed he immediately decided that he would drive us into the next town to get supplies. This was overwhelming.

We went crazy in the store buying supplies for a shrimp stir fry – something completely unlike what we’d been eating and something we’d never be able to carry in our packs. It was great.

Dessert chocolate

The place we are staying in has quite a history. Inscribed in the wall is the date 1643. It was a smokehouse among other things and today is a gite and museum all in one. The alberge holds 16 folks and it feels odd to be the only ones here.

P.S. After we’d gotten settled at our lodging I received an email from Gilbert offering to come pick us up and offering us lodging for the night at his house. What an amazing experience this has been. Wow.

Published by

Mark Dowty

"An Intentional Life"

12 thoughts on “Day41 Besancon to Foucherons – up and into the woods”

  1. I love the thought of pushing through the pains and discomfort to climb, walk, go, and do what must be done. Such great imagery for the Christian life and our refutation of selfishness for the sake of Christ. If I only knew a pastor, I’d tell him to put this blog post story in his sermon for this Sunday…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Certainly makes you feel mankind has not totally lost their humanity! So encouraging to know there are good people all over the world!👏🏻👏🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻


    1. Thank you. It is work, but also a joy. We’ve always kept written journals. This is our first attempt at an electronic blog. When the wifi is good it’s a breeze. When it’s not….well let’s just say “I go to bed later than i should!”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your sister did a 12 1/2 miler today and her knees are killing her!! Walking longer distances is a weird thing…if you get distracted, it really changes the walk and how far you will go.

    I love your perspective on perspective–having the citadel steeply ahead of you and then looking down at it from a higher perspective. I can think of all kinds of connections to our spiritual journey. I had to finish a difficult thing today that I started last night. It was daunting last night but I completed it this morning after a lot of praying. That citadel is below me know and I remain higher with the help of God.

    Onward and Upward! Yours in miles today and mine in experiences today!

    Praying for a good night’s rest for you both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We remember you well. It was a pretty place to talk. I’m glad you are still following our adventure. How are you doing and has the weather improved in the UK. It has finally dried here. Such a relief from the mud! 🙂


  4. Hi Mark & Allison – I am following with interest your journey from Besancon.Thank you for the detailed account – great stuff – especially the spreadsheet with accommodations and ups/downs of the trail.You have done very well to actually get on the VF in these trying times.
    Buon Camino


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s