We are going to walk the GR70 trail in August. This trail in France is 274km long and follows Robert Louis Stevenson`s journey. His experience, `Travels with a donkey in the Cevennes` was published in 1879.
We will walk every day for 13 days. We have never done anything like that before. The longest trail we walked, was from Wallsend to Carlisle along the Hadrian`s Wall which took 4 and a half days. Of course we walked every single day for two weeks before, but these were day walks and we always had a luxury to choose an easier walk, or had a lazier start after a demanding day. This time however we will have to walk the given distance between the accommodations every day. So we tried to research and prepare as much as possible. We have made plans for each day and because some of the places are very small with limited accommodation we pre-booked accommodation for each night.
Things that we are taking:
We decided to get a new 35+10L backpack for Jacint while I was planning to take my 22L backpack. And we relatively quickly settled on the following list of items per person:
1 pair of hiking boots (we are wearing them for the journey as well)
1 pair of hiking sandals (it will be nice to take the hiking boots off at the end of each day and we decided to take sandals instead of flip flops, as sandals can be used for walking if an unexpected blister appears or something happens to the boots)
2-3 hiking top (Long and short sleeves);
2 hiking trousers (we are wearing a pair and taking a spare);
3-4 underwear and 3 pairs of socks;
fleece (in case the evenings are cold);
lightweight sport shorts;
waterproof jacket (never know);
small travel towel (in case it is not provided at some of the accommodations);
small travel toiletries plus we are buying sun cream at the airport;
plastic cups for wine in the evenings;
Jacint said that I should not even think about bringing my travel hair dryer (but I was not planning to take it).
We are also taking a small first aid kit and ibuprofen.
We are keeping our stuff in a dry bag in the rucksack so even if there is a sudden downpour our clothes and the camera should stay dry.
We will take 2 litres of water per person every day.
Fortunately we decided to try to pack the bags to see how it all fits in. My 22l day bag was soon really full (and I didn`t put many of the listed items in, not to mention the food and the water we will need to take every day). Jacint looked worried when he saw my full bag as we are not planning to get a donkey to carry our things and he thought that probably he would have to take all the items which didn`t fit into my bag. So we decided to get a slightly bigger (30L) back pack for myself.
There are other items that we need to take and that is where things get a bit tricky. As it will be a research trip for a future book we need to take the camera with memory cards, extra batteries and charger. Gps watch and its charger to record the trail and I will need a note book and pen to write during the day. We also take the trail map and a copy of `Travels with a donkey in the Cevennes` by Robert Louis Stevenson since we are following his footsteps. That is all fine, but when we researched the trails in Cyprus and in the Algarve we took a laptop with us and in the evenings when we returned to the apartment we typed the first draft of the walks and downloaded the pictures and gps coordinates from the day. It was clear that we should not carry a laptop with us this time. We temporarily played with an idea of taking a tablet instead. But to be honest didn`t want to spend a lot of money and it seemed that tablets are not the best to type texts unless we get a keyboard as well….We thought about voice recording and found some apps that promised to transform the recorded voice to text but when we tried them, they didn`t work 100% accurately. So we settled to the traditional paper-pen method and decided to download and digitalize everything when we return from the trip. We just have to make sure that we take big memory cards.
However a few weeks ago, I read about a bluetooth foldable keyboard which can be used for phones as well as tablets. It looked great so I quickly ordered one and now I can digitalize my notes in a word document on my phone.
We will get food on the way and some places offer breakfast or dinner but the most important thing in the morning is COFFEE. For me nothing happens before I had my first coffee. Therefore we have to make sure that coffee is available in the mornings. Hopefully we will be able to get some in most places but Jacint (rightly) worries that I won`t walk kilometres to get my first coffee so he is bringing some instant coffee and if nothing else is available we will have that in the morning.
I hope that we managed to minimize the list of items that we are taking. So tickets and accommodations are booked, we know what we will pack, but are we ready to walk between 16 and 30 kms every day for 13 days? Very soon we `ll find out.