There we were, Papa Bear, Mamma and D2, the three of us, sitting on the balcony just before Christmas last year, enjoying a yummy meal of ribs. As it often does the chat between me and D2 made its way to our what our next adventure would be.
“Papa Bear,” chirped D2, “if Mumma and I did a trek in France, we could find a nice little French village for you and you could eat baguettes and drink wine while we trek.”
“I’m going to do the trek,” Papa Bear answered.
“What, the last kilometre?”
“No, the whole lot.”
The silence was deafening as we digested this. Never before had Father Bear expressed any interest in hoisting a pack on his back, picking up the walking sticks and putting one step after another for hundreds of sometimes painful kilometres! I guess he just got sick of hearing us talk about it over the years and thought he’d see what it was all about!
So then there were three! Our lead up to a trek consists of three stages. Stage one, the most exciting stage is where we check out flights, drag out backpacks and boots, check to see if the quick dry clothes still fit, make lists! All fuelled by lots of coffees and chai lattes.
This was all new to Papa Bear and D2 scrolled through online trekking sites with him and took him off to Perth to buy the last bits and pieces.
Stage two is when you start training with high expectations of starting the trek trim taut and terrifically fit! Papa Bear started off wonderfully well, getting up at 4:30am most mornings and striding out a few thousand steps on the Fitbit before breakfast. I was less committed, but I was making an effort!
Then life sort of gets in the way, my short term work contract went longer than I expected, Papa Bear headed off to a 6 week work contract overseas and the training sort of spluttered to a halt
So begins the third stage, with only a few weeks to go, I begin to panic and go into training overdrive which ends up with lots of back pain and visits to the physio for massage and dry needling.
And then start saying things like “Oh well, I’ll get fit on the trek.” Or “We’ll just do whatever we can, we can always take the bus or train!”
For better or for worse, here we are in Orléans, France, ready to tackle a walk through the Loire Valley, part of the la via Turonensis, the Camino which starts in Paris, goes through Orléans, Tours and Bordeaux, and ends in St Jean Pied de Port. St Jean is in the Pyrenees and is the starting point of the Camino Frances which D2 and I have done previously. We are ambitiously hoping to walk about 350kms but who knows!! Anyway, there’s always trains and buses! I hope you join us.