Day 5: Licques

Number of kilometres today:  21.17

Number of steps today: 27,846

Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 98.48

Total steps sine Canterbury: 140,233

Number of times lost (cumulative): 0.5

Number of dogs fended off:  1 

21.17kms 30,180 steps, 5.5 hours, 3 breaks, 0 times lost

5/9 Liques 19.66kms 27,846 steps, 5 hours, 2 breaks, 0 lost, helped 1

Yes I had my first dog chase after me for a couple of hundred metres today when I passed by her farm house.  She was persistent and unperturbed by my growling and pointing Rodney, my right walking pole, at her. I kept walking away slowly facing her.  The last time I turned my back on a barking dog in Italy it lunged at me and bit a hole in my pants.

So today I followed the guidebook instructions to walk from Guines to Licques.  When the directions told me to take the long straight path into the woods and there were two paths that looked long and straight and I doubted which one to take, I checked in with Pocket Earth.  Not long later I used it to help a man who was navigating using a traditional map and wasn't quite sure when he told me the path he was following I remembered the sign I saw five minutes earlier and pointed him in the right direction, map unnecessary. Although the guidebook directions weren't always clear, I decided to use it as a guide and go with my gut and I made it just fine without getting lost but not always knowing where I was either.

Today I was grateful to spend a large part of the day walking through the woods which provided me with shade and relief from this unrelentless sun.  When I was planning this trip, I checked out the weather averages for Calais at this time of year and was expecting low 20's at best.  I think it has been consistently mid to high 20's.  I have been sunburned three days in a row, regretting my decision to ditch the small sunscreen I bought to make my bag lighter.  I looked for some in Wissant but couldn't find any.  However, this morning, I found a small supermarket in Guines and bought a too big bottle of SPF50 because I am prepared to carry that weight not to burn on my burn anymore.

My days are falling into a new rhythm.  I dress and pack The Devil.  Walk into town to buy supplies for the day; a sandwich or baguette for lunch and some fruit for snacks, and this morning a pain au chocolat for breakfast. I visit the local church and light a candle for my Mum for her spirit is very much with me on this journey, one that she would never have been able to undertake physically.  And then I walk taking two or three breaks until I arrive at my destination, find accommodation and then shower to watch the heat and the dirt away.  Pack, walk, clean, eat and sleep.

Tonight I am staying at a caravan and camping ground but I am in my little chalet or as we would call it in Australia, a cabin. I was prepared to spend another night in the tent.  I had even conserved my battery on my phone and iPad in anticipation of doing this but my tent was wet and most of my clothes  still damp from the condensation so I opted to sleep in a bed and hang everything out to dry.  It's likely I will camp again at some point whether it be by choice or because I can't find accommodation.  Although I don't love it, I don't have any fear of being uncomfortable and will do it again willingly. As it turns out, tonight I have a bed and a cold shower, yesterday I had the ground and a hot shower, that almost seemed like the better option.

For those who are wondering, my knee had a good day, I even walked without the knee support with little knee cap pain. I think my muscles and tendons might be getting used to the load and the strain.  However, the blister on my left fourth toe is screaming with every step I take.  Yesterday I tried using a gel blister pad but it bunched up and made it worse.  Today, I taped it with a gauze tap and strapping tape over the top which kept it protected but didn't stop it getting deeper.  Tomorrow, well we will see what that brings.

I will be using my map on Pocket Earth tomorrow and finding my own way to Wisques.  The guidebook would take me up to Tournehem Sur La Hem and then down to Wisques the following day.  It is off-road and probably very picturesque.  However,  I need to save some time because of my visa constraints and as Tournehem Sur La Hem is not an official town documented by Sigeric I am going to find my own path directly too Wisques.  I've had a look at the map but am undecided.  I will decide as I walk tomorrow.

Today's lesson:

Lesson # 7:  The more baggage you carry, the harder the journey unless you make peace with your burden.