Dear Christine and Renee.

Day 1 is in the books. Cold, occasional drizzle, 3 hours and 2,000 feet of elevation gain. I’m so glad we made this a short day… I’m beat!

I will let my pictures and captions speak for themselves.

Angry clouds threatened throughout the day. 
Four pilgrims from Japan.
Wonderful countryside! 
Two women pilgrims from Brazil. The struggled mightily but ultimately had to call for transport.
I took over 40 pictures today and it was hell trying to figure out which ones to post. 
t this point I look much happier than I feel!
We heard bells, but knew there was no church. Look who walked around the corner!
The view from the Orisson Refuge.
Britton checking out his bunk.
Two of our roommates, Abbey from Texas and Erica from Ohio.
Our table at dinner.
The gathering. 37 pilgrims.

We are waiting for dinner and I am looking forward to introducing Britton to the other pilgrims. Our room has 6 beds and seems to have been assigned to English speakers. Lou and her partner Gary from New Zealand, Erica and Abbey are teachers from the States, and us.

The room is COLD. The shower (limited to 5 minutes) is tepid but welcome. Let’s hope the food is hot!

Tomorrow is another climb. My fingers are crossed that the weather favors us.

Love to you both, and thank you for sharing your “late night I can’t sleep thoughts, Renee. They brought me to tears and mean so much to me. Love. Dad

From my daughter Renee to Britton on our 1st Day:

“My late night I can’t sleep thoughts:

Ya know it’s funny how so much changes and yet stays so solidly the same. When dad was just my dad, long before he became anyone’s grandpa, I thought his turtle-like tendencies were insane (let’s be real, I still might). Who the heck wants to carry their house on their back for weeks at a time?!?! But he did, and he drug me kicking and screaming along with him as we descended into the woods. No cell phone, no AirPods, nothing but what we could carry for a couple weeks at a time. And as evidenced by my face in all the pictures – I was not amused. And here we are and life has come full circle. Except now it’s my youngest son lugging his worldly possessions along side his grandpa. And while the idea of carrying an emergency roll of toilet paper and wearing the same socks for three days in a row wasn’t my speed, it seems to be his. Perhaps if my destination had been as exotic, the oatmeal became chocolate croissants, and the tang was a nice glass of wine at the end of the day, I would have felt different. But somehow I doubt it. I guess those turtle like tendencies must skip a generation. Because it seems that if you’re patient enough to wait a few decades, you’ll find your perfect backpack buddy. I’m so dang happy for you both that you can be turtles together. Be safe and walk proudly. Love, Mom”

15 thoughts on “Day 1, Hike to the Refuge at Orisson

  1. To be a physically healthy, emotionally and intellectually engaged grandparent is life’s greatest gift – to both the grandchild and the grandparent. Aging is an immense honor (even when the physical body doesn’t cooperate). Fifty years from now, this “child” may repeat this experience with his grandchild … and as the poem says, “return to the beginning and know life again.”

  2. Yowza – Renee’s comments brought a tear to this “turtles” eye. Though to be honest – I never headed into the wild with tent and all I would need for a week in the woods. Huts, Hostels and Albergues were more my style (which truth be told has morphed into Casa Rurals and small hotels)(mea culpa). Your pictures from today will be of interest to me – as it was above the first concrete shelter that we were unable to see more than 30 feet in front of us. Pete – this is in you – muscle memory – nothing to prove, one step after the other. If the rain persists – consider taking the road down to Roncesvalles – longer but not as slippery. Though – you probably won’t get this till you are IN Roncesvalles. Oops. “Walking is the most perfect form of motion for a person who wants to discover the true life.” – Thoreau. … Amen Brother.

    • You are right Liz, I am replying from my bed in Roncesvalles. Today was wet, cold, muddy, and wonderful! I haven’t looked at my pictures yet, but I suspect there a few of them are spectacular. We enjoyed the majority of the day walking with pilgrims who we have already become friends with.

  3. Awwww….this whole post is perfect! The pictures, the emotion in the words, the smile on B’s face and knowing you made it to R!! Yay!

  4. Cheryl Pound says:

    Thanks Pete for sharing your journey. Holding you both close in our thoughts. Will anxiously await your next post.

  5. Charlie Murphy says:

    Pete, thanks for yet again sharing. And Renee, wowsers, thank you for giving me the “dad good tears”.
    Pete and Christine, how many “all too real” life events over the past year have there been? And all handled in love….
    Pete, it seems that like the good attorney you are, you found a loop hole in the “there are no guarantees in life contract” and are taking full advantage of it for the benefit of your most important “clients”, your loved ones.

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