Day 3: The Big Cramp
The Big Cramp
Day 3: Saugues to Le Sauvage
Statistics: 40,367 steps,15.1 miles/ 24,3 km, cloudy day, elevation climbed: 1,970 feet, 40-55 degrees, 20-30 pilgrims en route.
It’s Easter! And Saugues is a very quiet town. At 8:45 am the town is still sleeping since the church service is at 11:00 am.
For breakfast we ate the typical fare… lots of bread, jams and cheese!
As we passed through the town square I decide to get some cash at the local bank ATM. Disaster!!!! Like hungry pilgrims for breakfast it swallows my card!
Oh well, nothing can be done on Easter.
We head to Le Sauvage. It’s colder than yesterday, much colder! it’s probably 30 – 40 degrees. I didn’t plan for it to be this cold. My left leg has an awful calf cramp. I stretch both calves, then walk. This continues til we reach the outskirts of Saugues.
9:30 am Only 40 or so minutes into the walk. The right leg with Parkinson’s is fine, but the left calf has a lock-down cramp that grinds me to a standstill; a painful standstill. I lay on my back and Clive does some soccer stretches. The pilgrims stream by in groups of 3 – 5. All inquisitive.
It can be debilitating to have a disease like Parkinson’s then have another health issue that compounds the difficulty. This is the number 1 challenge for Parkinson’s patients. it’s so easy to quit. It’s a slippery slope. Once you give in, it’s twice as hard to reach your goal. Be smart but persist!
10:00 am A pilgrim stops and offers a natural treatment which I take in the form of 3 little pills under my tongue. I think it’s a plant extract from licorice, but I am not sure. Couple more groups passed by. Almost the last person is Christian From Leipzig of the former East Germany. Christian offers some magnesium powder that is fast acting anti cramp. I take my first Parkinson’s medicine.
10:30am It’s not looking great! We start to consider taking a ride when the cramp all of sudden fades. We hustle to make up some time. Almost immediately the right leg stops working. A second dose of medicine and we continue to walk.
We make some good time and around 1:00 pm we pass through a 20-house town. Midway, there’s a house that has picnic tables and sells sandwiches and drinks. We stop and eat some bread, cheese and chocolate. This day is all about eating.
Then some fun… A little puppy comes out to play. It bites everyone’s ankles, socks and pants. As we embark at 1:30 pm i take my third round of medication.
The rest of the afternoon is about staying warm and walking on paths alongside open fields with long vistas,
3:00 pm I take my 4th round of medications, the path enters a forest with an occasional babbling brook. Eventually it enters an evergreen forest planted for forestry purposes. After a couple kilometers the path leaves the forest and has a dramatic long vista to a distant large house. We check our maps and the distant house is our lodging for the night. The meanders taking some wide arcs before reaching the Gite (pilgrim hostel)
We check in and meet Brigette from Munich Germany. She’s resting in the dormitory room with 6 beds. We talk to Brigette for a while. She’s walking the Podiensis then the Del Norte to Santiago. She’s curious about the Del Norte so we talk story for a while before dinner,
I take my final medication before to walk well and dampen any tremors. It’s a communal dinner with two long tables seating about 15 per table. It’s a four course meal table. It’s a four course meal starting with a Pea soup. Then the main course is a potatoes au gratin and a beef stew meat, which is delicious. The third course is a cheese and yogurt course which I elect to have yogurt. The last course is a rice pudding is so yummy after a long day of walking.
During dinner I sit next to Christian from Lipzig, Germany and Kieran from Luxembourg. Both speak excellent English. The meal is wonderful and the company is great.
I retire for the night.