Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 10: An Uneventful (But Hot!) Day

Dscn9876bAugust 21: I woke up early once again to beat the afternoon heat. The trail led into the small town of Limogne-en-Quercy which I almost immediately declared one of my favorites even before I hit the city center because I passed a store on the edge of town that, inside, looked like an actual grocery store. Not a small shop, but a genuine grocery store that even had shopping carts available. I grabbed a basket and went shopping, stocking up on essentials like cereal and picking up splurge items like a cold bottle of milk that I’d have to consume more-or-less immediately. Now knowing how difficult it was to find cereal directly on the trail, I got a few boxes of it. It’s a lot of weight to carry, but still less than the week or more of food I carried at times on my other thru-hikes.

In town, I stopped at a bench in the shade to consume as much of my ill-gotten gains as I could, then shuffled off in the stifling heat back out the other side of town where I discovered another genuine, honest-to-goodness grocery store. Since I had just had my fill, I skipped the second one.

By 1:00, I found a shady place in some trees and stopped for lunch. I didn’t know exactly how hot it was, but I knew that once again temperatures were expected to be in the high 90s. When I checked weather forecasts, the highs for each day tended to hit by around 1:00, then the temperatures stayed more-or-less level until about 6:00 before they started coming down again. I was a little surprised at how consistent the temperature stayed between one and six o’clock (and consistently hot at that!), so I started setting a schedule for myself that would have me take extended lunch breaks starting at around 1:00. A five hour break seemed a little too long, though, so I’d get hiking again by 4:00 or 5:00. It was better to hike in those hours, even if the temperature wasn’t actually lower, because by then the sun was getting lower in the sky so any shade that trees produced become longer and easier to walk in. A lot of roads have trees bordering them, and shade prospects were much better at 5:00 than 2:00 in the afternoon, even if the temperatures were the same.

Dscn9883bAfter snacking on some granola bars, an apple, and other goodies, I started reading Abraham Lincoln, the Vampire Hunter on my Kindle. Oh, Lord, why did I waste my time with that? I had checked it out from the Seattle Public Library so at least I didn’t pay anything for it, but those are hours of my life I will never get back.

Two hours into my lunch break, I had to move. The shade I was laying in had shifted and I was losing what little was left. I moved to the other side of the trees and continued my break. Flies seemed quite bad this afternoon, which I attributed to the cows grazing not far away. Annoying little buggers, but at least they weren’t biting.

At 5:00, I finally packed up all my gear again and continued my hike. During the day, not one, single hiker had passed me. I wondered what happened to everyone. I seem to walk a lot faster than most hikers, but when one takes a four hour lunch break, you expect at least a few hikers to pass you during the intermission. Not today, though. Today I saw two hikers pass from the opposite direction, and they were the only hikers I’d seen all day. Not a single person traveling in my direction. I know they existed, but I was clueless where they all went to.

At the end of the day, I set up camp just short of Mas de Vers, on a hillside with a nice breeze. All-in-all, a pretty uneventful day.



The scallop shell is the symbol of the Camino, and you’ll
see a lot of hikers who’ve attached them to their packs.
I guess this hiker lost theirs.


There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about a lot of these photos,
which is why I’m not including captions on a lot of them. Just
views of the trail…




The obligatory “self portrait.” I don’t remember why I was
shaking around my trekking pole in the air, expect that
maybe I thought it added some drama to the photo. =)


Oh, grocery store, how I loved thee…


Church in Limogne-en-Quercy.


Many of the roads were bordered with trees, so I tried to time
some of my hiking in the hottest part of the day with longer shadows.
There are just empty, clear fields on both sides of this road, and
at midday, there wouldn’t be many shadows.


I’m not exactly sure what this little structure is used for.
It kind of looks like a home for a midget, but if you look in
the “door,” you’ll find the floor is probably ten feet down
from ground level. Storage of some sort?


The trail passed through the town of Bach, where the famous composer
was born and bred.*

Some things to keep you from getting
bored along the trail. =)

* = If you believe that, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. =)


Michael Merino said...

Maybe that stone structure with a 10 foot drop is a well?

Anonymous said...

my guess is that the stone structure is probably an ice house. Cut ice was stored there between layers of sawdust and it would stay frozed well into the heat of summer. it's the same concept in the states.