Carry to the Med

November 16, 2007

A few years before my extended hike on the Appalachian Trail I happened upon a different hiking trail in southern France. Called the GR-10 (I know, romantic) this footpath stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea covering the length of the Pyrenees Mountains. Leading up to my hike I had been staying with a family in a small town near Toulouse. One night I met a British gentleman who told me about his dream to hike for a week each year and eventually finish walking the GR-10. He was about halfway through. I spent the rest of the night picking his brain about the specifics of life on that trail and by the next morning had hatched a plan. I would make my way south until I found the trail, take a left and walk towards the Mediterranean. Here are some of the things I either carried or wish I had carried on this foray into the French Wilderness:


  • Heavy wrinkled corduroy pants that weighed me down and kept me warm on cool fall mornings
  • A belief that I had enough stamina and good luck to navigate and last until I touched my toes into blue water
  • The essentials of backpack, tent and sleeping bag–my holy trinity of backwoods essentials
  • A trust in the spontaneity of life that put me on the trail

Wish I had carried

  • More socks for those poor toes that suffered the fire-burn of neglect
  • Another disposable camera–one does not cut it when every day is glorious
  • Gifts for the kind souls that forgave my butchering of the French language and helped me along my way
  • Everyone I knew to share in the reality of being wide awake within a dream

More Scribblings here.


14 Responses to “Carry to the Med”

  1. awareness Says:

    Thank goodness we carry good memories so that the next trip we will remember to pack the extra socks, cameras, gifts and the people we love.

    I enjoyed this. I love reading about your hiking trips.

  2. I enjoyed reading about your travels. Sounds like a lot of fun. I would have to train for months just to imagine such a trip.

  3. Betty C. Says:

    I didn’t know you had travelled to France at all! The GR-10 is quite famous around here. My husband has done some hiking on it. It sounds a little rough for my tastes, though.

  4. Matthew Says:

    Hi awareness, yes I learned a lot from that trip and that hike informaed my next long distance adventure.

    MBW-My days of college partying caught up with me on that hike. Sometimes I would resort to baby steps so that I could feel like I was making some progress uphill. I also lost some weight during the two week trip.

    Betty-I spent about a month and a half in France–mostly in the southern regions. I would love to get back on the GR-10 and this time hike all the way through. My French would need to improve though…

  5. Taffiny Says:

    love the last line 🙂

  6. paisley Says:

    how very exciting.. i have never even thought in terms of doing such a thing myself.. but it is adventuresome to read about it as well….

  7. Tumblewords Says:

    I cannot imagine such a trek. Not now. Maybe at one time…
    The stories you write here are so much fun to read – to travel in comfort is a fine thing!

  8. patois Says:

    What a wonderful adventure! I love your lists.

  9. Betty C. Says:

    Don’t sell yourself short! A lot of Brits who don’t speak any French are LIVING here!

  10. HolleeAnn Says:

    “Everyone I knew to share in the reality of being wide awake within a dream”

    LOVE loooooooove this line!!

  11. UL Says:

    Yes, the disposable camera, I tend to carry them most of the time, but there are occassions I’ve forgotten or wished I had more than one, adevnturous post. Thank you.

  12. Wow. What a fantastic tale, loved every part of it, especially the lists.
    Lists are a daily fundamental.

    The photo, however, was what stole my attention away entirely.

    Thanks for sharing all of it, you may very well have inspired more travelers on to that clandestine trail… in a ripple effect of Wanderlust.

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore (the lion)

  13. clary Says:

    Hiking is not something I do since living in flat lands doesn’t inspire it, but a view like that will propel me to it like a magnet. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  14. It sounds like you carried some wonderful and vivid memories back with you! And that photo is stunning!

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