Monday, November 16, 2009

The Millenium Trail

Last Thursday BG and I decided to make a day of it and head to Bernheim Forest. It was a warm day, even though the trees were mostly bare and the leaves formed a thick brown carpet on the forest floor. The guide at the visitors' center pointed out the longest trail of 13 miles. All the others were pretty short for us long distance veterans-heh, heh, so we declared that's the one we wanted to take. Our helpful guide seemed a bit hesitant. "It is very primitive," she said. "And you need good shoes and water." No problemo. So, we signed our names in case we never returned and set out at about 10:15 am.

By noon we had progressed all of three miles along the trail. I said, "This is what it will be like to climb the Pyrenees," as I dug my trusty walking stick into the soft leafy humus. We traversed many hills and hollows and seemed to cross the creek five or six times. Realizing that at this rate there was no way we could do all 13 miles by the 5:00 closing time, we shifted into Plan B. If we reached the half-way point, we could take the main paved road back to civilization. "Only two miles from there," the guide had said.

We trudged into the half-way point by around 3:00. We thought all was well. Two miles in two hours along a paved road. No problemo! (I'm practicing my Spanish.) BG hauled out her geo-caching GPS system and said "Hmmm.. It says 3.7 miles." Our guide was slightly off in her estimations. We walked silently down the paved road. I got to thinking. "Is that by the roads or as the crow flies?" BG's eyes widened. "As the crow flies," she said quietly. After punching buttons for a few minutes she showed me the road route on the GPS. It said 5 something miles. I don't remember exactly. All I knew was, no way could we get back before closing time. "Well, we'll just do the best we can," said BG.

And so we did. The closing security guard was a bit put out with us, but he gave us a lift. BG marked the spot where we got picked up as 10.7 miles total walking distance. Hey, not bad, considering the terrain. I think we could consider that a fair day of walking for pilgrims in the Pyrenees!

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