Today, we’ll start with the Q & A Section
From Sue B.: “What do the route markers look like or are you following a specific map? Okay, you probably use GPS. I’m old fashioned.”
A: What a coincidence. I was going to address this very issue sometime soon, so today is as good as any day.
The Chemin from Le Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is very well marked. The route is mostly what they call the GR-65 or Grande Randonnée (walk) 65. There are three basic markings:
- A white stripe over a red stripe that shows you are on the route
- A red slash with a white slash over it that shows it is the WRONG way. Laurie says this is her favorite mark.
- A white stripe over a red stripe over a white right angle that looks like a flag. This flag points out a turn coming up. Examples of a left and right turn below.
There are additional signs, some with distances to towns that mark the trail. During the day we will call out “blanc et rouge” (red and white) to indicate we’re on the right trail.
However, I also loaded GPX data onto my phone onto an app called Gaia GPS which I highly recommend. That gives me a GPS route that I can see during the day to see if we are on track and also see alternate routes. The GPX tracks come with the Cicerone Guide Camino de Santiago – Via Podiensis by Dave Whitson.
Each night we review the maps in Whitson’s book along with the maps in a local guide, Miam Miam Dodo. The name of that guide is basically “Yum Yum Nighty Night” in French baby talk. But during the day we rely on the trail markings, and occasionally the GPS.
It’s worth noting we haven’t got lost (well, maybe an unintended variant for maybe 25 yards) on this trail as it is so well marked. We can’t make the same claim for other hikes we’ve done—especially The Way of Saint Francis in Italy.
Note that the Cicerone Guide by Dave Whitson is available for preorder. Cicerone was generous enough to give us an advance copy for review. The guide is excellent and the GPX tracks have been very helpful.
Notes from the Trail: Yesterday a thunderstorm overtook us—fortunately, we had opted for a short day and watched it safely from our comfortable gîte. But this morning we found a tree had blown down and was blocking the path. See it early in the Relive video. We wish our friend Trev had been there with his trail maintenance saw. Weather was hot and humid. Made us glad to split a 60 kilometer section done over two days into three.
First, pictures of a Twelfth Century Church