My experiences with thru-hiking

I Can Be A Delight

Posted in Hiking GR5, 1500 miles across Europe by onefootatatime on August 28, 2009


Aug 01 2009

Aug 01 2009

The people here are tickled pink when I tell them my name. Ravi, besides being an Indian name, is also a French word for “delight”. I feel like I belong now. (Yeah, right.)

I left early this morning and got to the next refuge called Refuge de Peclet Polset. I have no idea what these names mean, and they’re getting even harder to pronounce. As I pass by the refuge, I hear someone shout out to me, and I see the French mountain man sitting on the steps at the refuge drinking a Coke. I keep thinking I should ask him his name, but I keep forgetting. I walk up and chat with him for a while. He said he camped at Les Prioux (where Stephanie and Emmanuelle stayed) and got up early to get on the trail. He had to endure a cold night in his little tent. While we were chatting, we bumped into a guy from Nepal who worked at the refuge. I told him I was from India, from Goa, and he was surprised to see an Indian on the trail. He told us he worked as a guide in the Himalayas and spends three months of the year working at the refuge in France to learn French, because a lot of his customers in Nepal come from France.

I got back on the trail and headed for Col Chaviere, which is the highest point on the GR5. It was a crazy climb with a lot of scrambling and I got there before the French mountain man. I seem to be hiking faster uphill. I waited at the top to see if he was doing okay, because it was steep and the chance of falling was high. I’m glad it wasn’t raining. Once I saw he was doing okay, I kept going, because there was not a lot of space up at the col.

Finally made it to Modane and had to walk it to Fourneaux to get to the campsite. After doing my usual chores, I went into town to pick up stuff and look for an ATM, and bumped into the French mountain man. He looked exhausted, and once again, he was sitting and drinking a Coke. He couldn’t find the campsite and I gave him directions to it as I went around hunting for an ATM. I finally just pulled my money out of another bank. Screw it, whatever the extra charges are.

Later at night, the French mountain man bought me dinner at the restaurant in the campsite, and I found out his name was Yves. He enjoys telling the two ladies sitting next to us about my walk across Europe. They wish me “Bon Courage”, a phrase I hear often now. After the meal, Yves confesses that he doesn’t like wine and hates cheese. Strange for a Frenchman, he tells me.


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