Day 4 – Arboras to St.-Jean-de-la-Blaquiére, 10.4km, 3hrs, 17 April

I feel better about today. We managed to go back to where we boarded the car of our rescuer yesterday in Arboras and walk back to St.-Jean today. Our gracious hostess at Les Mas des Quatre Saaisons took us back to that spot and also allowed us to stay another night here. All is good, the world is still round.

As you know, we have walked every step from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela and every meter between St.-John-Pied-de-Port and Santiago too. We have also walked every step from Vercelli to Rome as well as two other Caminos in Spain but between this walk and next year, we want to connect Montpellier to St.-John-Pied-de-Port and Vercelli to Montpellier. Missing 10km of that would be too big of an asterisk for me.

The walk today was a relative easy, half-day hike but it did have one 300m climb in the early part. That section, though steep in parts was spread over almost 4km and mostly on wide, pack dirt paths. While the sun was beating down hard, the climb wasn’t too bad for just Melanie & me. The fun part was near the top where just before entering a very narrow section with a some steep, rocky parts, we saw a sign warning us of snakes. Not just any snakes, mind you, these were snakes that reach 2m in length and can approach people very quickly. I figured that is was Melanie’s turn to walk in front.

The descent was actually a bit steeper and harder to navigate, mostly through a narrow, rocky, steep, winding path in thick forest. Every now and then, we would reach a clearing that would give us magnificent views of the valleys south and west as well as the mountains beyond. We also reached one point were a 10m section of the trail was completely under water and the soil underneath looked like gooey mud. There was no edge along side of the trail to keep us from sinking into the muck while passing through. After a quick search around, we decided to create a new path to the right of the mud patch. The brush was thick but a little bashing got us through in about ten minutes. Anyone walking behind us over the next few days will likely be happy with us, unless of course, they have higher waterproof boots and a stronger sense of leaving the environment in the same shape as they found it.

The final stretch into town was a simple walk down a dry slate riverbed, up into the old village for a quick fruit juice and the 700m length of road back to our chambre d’hôtes. It’s been a long time since we stopped walking by 12:30pm but we shall enjoy the afternoon’s rest. I’m also looking forward to dinner as our hostess is a fantastic chef and baker.

For anyone interested, the last day it rained on us, in Montarnaud, our hostess said that we would have 25 days of gloriously sunny weather, starting the following day. At least that was my translation. Melanie thought she said that the weather would be rainy until 25 April. After today, I think I had the better translation and that the woman was right. The sun shone brightly down on us the past couple of days. A little too brightly for my liking but we can’t always have cool, overcast days for walking, can we? Or can we? Can we, please? God?

One note to anyone following us, neither of the GPS routes I had from Wikiloc had the current trail for today’s walk. The Miam Miam Dodo guide book had it right and the signs were easy to follow if you kept your head up and had faith. We didn’t walk any extra today except inside St.-Jean village where we detoured a few meters for a too expensive juice instead of walking to the patisserie.

Peace y’all

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