July 20th
Note: Yesterday’s Day 18 might not have been emailed to everyone. If you missed it, here’s the link
A short post for my zero day. I spent the day at Paul and Chantal’s house in Cier de Luchon. It was decadent! They don’t have the big American breakfasts here, but they made one just for me. Yep, all this is for me! Eggs, toast, milk, juice, bacon, sausage, four kinds of cheese, bread, Nutella, etc. 

As thru-hikers, Paul and Chantal know the best thing to do is feed a thru-hiker. I wasn’t hungry the whole time I was here. If I had lost any weight the last three weeks, I’ve gained it all back, ha! I got through a pint of Ben & Jerry’s chocolate ice cream in between meals. Lunch in France is big since they eat a small breakfast. It was like having two dinners! We had steak for lunch and lamb for dinner with salads and sides. It really was wonderful. 

I got a bunch done that I’ve let pile up over the last few weeks. It was great to have good wifi and a computer. I’m even getting the hang of typing on a French keyboard where some of the letters are in different places. I was pretty proud of that adjustment. I got to catch up on lots of correspondence and do some Skyping. 

Only gear repair needed was a missing pole tip from the rocks. Of course Paul had a whole bag of replacements and we didn’t even have to go to the gear shop. We mailed off my microspikes I’ll no longer need and my pack is a significant 10oz lighter! Loving that. 

I also did a bit of grocery shopping, caught up on the blog, and loaded more podcasts and Netflix shows. All set for the second half! Most importantly, there was very little walking. I feel like I’m getting older because my knees are feeling this trail. Nothing bad, but noticeable soreness in the mornings and overnight kind of feeling. The hikes I’ll be doing out here have a ton of elevation change, so that’s to be expected. The last few days had more rocky terrain, so the movement was quite isolated and jarring rather than the natural fluidity of a stride on a clear path. 

We anxiously waited to see Why Not’s check-in with her inReach to see if they chose to stay high this leg. There was rain/fog today (a good day for my zero) and they weren’t sure which route they’d take with possible storms. They stayed high! We saw they were at a refuge that could be reached by landline, so Paul called and we surprised them with a phone call. They actually had some hail. Tomorrow will clear up as the day continues and it looks great after that, so we are all in the clear for awhile. Why Not and Jim will finish what I just completed and should be staying with Paul in a few days. I warned them they won’t leave hungry!

Tomorrow, it’s back to the HRP. It was a perfect break! THANK YOU Paul and Chantal!!!

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