Meeting the Elements: the Mount Everest trail for the average Sue

by | Nov 3, 2019 | The expansion | 0 comments

Arzacq-Arraziguet, France

 Meeting the Elements: the Mount Everest trail for the average Sue

Context: I am on my return journey from Spain to Germany currently walking the pilgrimage path Chemin du Puy en Velay in France. I have walked around 1,700 km so far.

It is November; and the depth of fall has clearly arrived. It should come to no surprise that wind, heavy rains, and cool temperatures await me as I start on my walk every morning.

The paths which primarily lead through forests and open fields have turned into a muddy mess and I need to navigate numerous tiny streams happily meandering where I am meant to walk.

Trees and branches hinder my way, and when it rains which it does ever more frequently, my clothes are drenched within minutes despite rain covers. What in October was a pleasant walking experience, turns into an encounter with the elements.

Rain in and of itself is not so bad when you walk long distance. At least I don’t mind. I mean, I am not made of paper. So what if my pants are soaking wet and the wind is wildly shuffling my hair. As long as I know I have a warm spot at the end of the day night I feel safe.


In some ways walking in November in France is like doing a Mount Everest track for the average Sue. You learn to work with the elements, upgrade your ability to cope with the unforeseen …. and raise  your perseverance, patience and endurance barometer.


And, please….don’t get me wrong. Mount Everest is a totally different beast. I totally get that. Having lived in a high plateau mountain resort for ten years I have come into contact with mountaineering. Climbing Mount Everest does require a lot of additional technical skills not required on a path in France that mostly meanders through hilly country side.

But still some great learning  elements (pun intended) are there ….and it can get quite exciting especially if you tend to identify as a couch potato, are not a mega athlete or adventurer. Even for me who has done a fair amount of athletic activities like hiking, climbing, back-country skiing and bike touring in south east Asia, Central and North America conditions like this make me feel mega alive without the dangers that would exist in the back-country especially when traveling alone.

P.s. The comparison with Mount Everest may be a bit extreme, but, hey, it made you read this blog…  😁😀😇