Preparing for Le Puy route of the Camino de Santiago

Walking Le Puy route of the Camino de Santiago

I’m finally going to take another long distant walking trip this fall. This time, I’m going to be walking Le Puy route of the Camino de Santiago in southern France. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time, but just haven’t been able to start. Now, after years of visualizing, I’m going with 2 female friends of mine for a 3 week French adventure. We’ll spend some time before and after the walk eating our hearts out in France and San Sebastian Spain.

 

Jaime testing out new backpack for Le Puy Route of the Camino de Santiago.

My new backpack for walking Le Puy Route of the Camino de Santiago

 

Le Puy route

Our plans are to walk a self-guided 10-11 day trip in France starting in Lectoure and ending in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This section of the Camino is referred to as part of the Le Puy Route or the Way of St. James. Le Puy route of the Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage that follows trails through rural south west France and along the Grand Randonnée 65.

My Le Puy route of the Camino de Santiago

We will be stoping at the end of each day in a different village or town where we will have basic accommodations and plenty of food and water. Our stops my change, but my plan at the moment is the following:

Schedule for walking Le Puy Route of the Camino de Santiago

DAY 1  Lectoure to La Romieu 19.8 km

DAY 2  La Romieu to Larressingle 19.1 km

DAY 3  Larressingle to Eauze 28.8 km

DAY 4  Eauze to Nogaro 20 km     

DAY 5  Nogaro to Aire-sur-l’Adour 27.5 km

DAY 6  Aire-sur-l’Adour to Maslacq 54km REST DAY /BUS   

DAY 7  Maslacq to Navarrenx 23 km

DAY 8  Navarrenx to Aroue 20.1. km

DAY 9  Aroue to Ostabat 24.9 km

DAY 10  Ostabat to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port 22.7 km

 

Training

To prepare for this kind of walk, I’ve needed to up my game in exercise and in walking. Getting my body ready for these long distances means walking long distances whenever I can. Fortunately, here in Mexico there are plenty of beautiful long distant rural walks to take. Also, every Saturday a group hike takes place in a different location in the area with anywhere from 5 to 20 hikers. It takes about 2-3 hours and can give me a good 7-8 km walk at a time. The last two Saturdays, I went the extra kilometer and walked back to town from the starting point of the hike adding another 16 km to my day.

Poco a poco (little by little) is what we say here in Mexico.

A little about Money

Those of you who know me, know that I don’t buy much. I don’t spend money often (besides on plane tickets – and even then I get great deals) because, well, after 4 years of full time nomad travel I’ve got no where to put ‘stuff’. Occasionally, I buy some new clothes when things wear out, but not very often. We’ve simplified our lives so much that having more is not always a good thing in our case.

I have spent so much of my life believing that I could not afford the actual real-life that I’ve been living for the last 10 years. Of course, I’ve worked hard to save money and to simplify my lifestyle, but mostly I have adjusted how I feel about money and how it comes to me.

Years ago, I realized it was important to focus on what I wanted FIRST and THEN allow the money to find it’s way to me. I know this sounds silly to a lot of people, but it’s how it has worked for me for the last 25 years of my life. And it’s exactly what happened with this trip. Yes, I did set a budget aside for this adventure and in the end I’m confident that I will not regret my decision and the costs that will occur.

Getting prepared to walk Le Puy route of the Camino de Santiago took a hefty investment in new gear and equipment. I hadn’t updated my hiking gear and clothes in almost 20 years. And even back then, I didn’t want to spend much money so I bought lower quality items that have long since worn out. This time around, and since I am now more emotionally and physically invested in long distance walking, I am buying what suits my needs first and not worrying ‘too’ much about the costs. I’m hoping there will be plenty more of these walks in my future.

 

Purchases so far

Here’s the first of a few things I’ve bought myself after 20 years of basically no backpacking upgrades. I will share more later.

Hiking Boots

My preparations began with buying new hiking boots last summer – giving myself plenty of time to break them in. I choose Keen Targhee II Mid waterproof boots after having another hiking companion recommend them. They are amazing! These boots are everything I was looking for in a hiking shoe. Extremely lightweight, breathable, waterproof, and comfortable. I think they have a great grip for tough terrain and were very easy to break in. I’ve been walking in them regularly for the last 6 months including long 20km days through rural Mexico and they are my favorite hiking boot I’ve ever owned.

 

 

 

Backpack

I did a TON of research on this one. I read a hundred blogs and watched every video I could on finding the perfect backpack for my specific needs. Finally, I found the perfect pack for me. I picked the Osprey Sirrus 36 liters Backpack. It is just the right size for long distance walks where camping is not part of the plan. I won’t have to carry camping gear, tent, camp stove, water, water filters, pots, food, etc. Instead, we will be staying each night in a dorm, convent, hotel, guest house, or something similar. There is plenty of water and food along the way and no need to carry more than a few light snacks.

I also bought an Osprey 1.5 liter water bladder that conveniently fits inside the pack.

This backpack has a ton of nice features. First of all, it’s VERY lightweight (as you can see, this is an ongoing theme with everything since I’m carrying this stuff on my back for many long days). It has a cooling system so your back does not get too hot. It has 2 hip pockets to carry your phone or snacks. Even though it is top loading, it also has a side zipper pocket for easy access inside the main compartment. It has all the features I was looking for in a pack. And it’s avocado green!!!

Osprey Sirrus 36 liter backpack

 

Trekking Poles

I also invested in some trekking poles since it’s something I can use anywhere on a long distant walk. Not only do they help prevent you from falling and losing balance, but they keep your hands from fatigue when they are normally at your sides.

I choose Trekology Trek -Z collapsible poles so that I can easy fold them down into my carry-on backpack. Once I did research on the cork handles, I decided that would work best for me because they will help absorb palm sweating. Also, super lightweight and compact.

 

 

 

I’m slowly getting more and more prepared and more and more excited!

Buen Camino!

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Jaime Byrd
Director / Cinematographer / Editor