Clothing ~ Waterproof Rain Jacket
Mountain Hardwear™ Stimulus™ Jacket – 199 grams
I wore the Mountain Hardwear™ Stimulus™ Jacket throughout my 2009 walk across France and Spain. This jacket is one of the reasons I love my “ultralight hobby” because I first read about it in an airline in-flight magazine. (Never stop looking for solutions.)
It’s a true “minimalist” jacket that still has everything I really need. Totally waterproof! MH really pushed the envelope here, with innovative design, materials, and construction. It doesn’t have every popular feature available (but heavier) on other jackets, like underarm vents, but I didn’t miss them. Another means of saving weight is the absence of a hood. I always where my Tilley Air-flow hat, rain or shine, and I don’t like the way hoods restrict your view, so this is a real plus for me. The Stim does have an extended tail that really helps keep the water out. (more…)
Longwalk 2009 ~ Lyon to le Puy-en-Velay
Warming up for the oldest walk in western Europe.
I set off in late April, easing into the rhythm of the trail, and reached Le Puy in eight days. During that first week, I saw virtually no other walkers, aside from a few French day hikers on the weekend. I walked through one long day of rain, and only strayed from the path a few times. (That’s why it’s called a shakedown). Quite a bit of the trail follows an ancient Roman road, parts of which are still paved in stone.
Several guidebooks describe the eastern approaches to le Puy-en-Velay. I chose the excellent, though sometimes hard to find Chamina guide #207. It presents two routes – the one from Lyon (le chemin de Lyon au Puy-en-Velay in 9 stages (étapes)), which meets the other from Cluny, (le chemin de Cluny au Puy-en-Velay in 14 stages) coming down from the north. (more…)
Longwalk 2009 ~ Overview
“Don’t Stop Me Now”
Okay, okay, it’s more than a passing fancy, more than a hobby… when the stars align just so, what else can you do? Something gets into you when you walk so far. By late 2008 I was yearning once more for the Camino… But I’d been studying French… so I decided to put it all together on the most famous trail in France, the original pilgrimage road from Le Puy-en-Velay to St-Jacques-Compostele. For a shakedown, I decided to start in Lyon. This is the route of the French section I walked in 2009. The last part, from Montreal-de-Gers to the Spanish border at St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, is the same trail I walked in 2005 on the Voie de Vezelay (more…)