Posted by: Lynn Campbell | June 25, 2009

A note from Lynn in Val D’Isere

June 25: I thought I would write a little about our trip since Richard has been so amazing about keeping the blog updated with our status and some of the funny encounters we have come across.

I’d like to first talk about the GR5:
When I first started on this expedition, I don’t think I was quite sure about what I was getting myself in for! I knew it was going to be hard work hiking up, down and across mountains and valleys but once the reality of it set in, I realised just how hard it was going to be. The first 6 days saw me in tears at some point during each day, entirely due to the fact this walk was physically and mentally exhausting…

I have had to push myself harder than I ever have in my life and even though I have ran marathons, I was not mentally prepared for hiking more than a half marathon a day, mainly up and down a mountain.  After the sixth day, Richard joked I should write a book about the trip entitled ‘Hiking the alps in 40 days of tears’!

On day 3 I was not sure I would be able to do finish this hike, but being very strong minded I told myself I was going to keep pushing and to put all the pain aside and that I would break ‘the wall’.  I knew all too well about ‘the wall’ from my running. After my breakthrough,  I stopped thinking about my sore feet – anytime the thought of my feet occurs to me, I tell my feet to be quiet and have found a lot more inner strength since starting this trip.  My feet still hurt but I don’t allow the thought of how much they hurt until we are safely in our tent/refuge/hotel.

We are now finished Stage 2 of the GR5 and I feel great. I have hiked up and across so many mountains now that I pushed myself from the core. I can walk for more than 8 hours before I feel tired and surprisingly have seen myself running down moutains and back up again after 7 hours of walking!  Hiking through snow on a mountain, which scared the hell out of me in the first few days of the hike, now sees me storming through the snow like a hot knife through butter. I feel like have I kicked ‘the wall’ down so hard that I can do this expedition and I will do it well.

I have shocked myself at how hard I can push myself when I’m tired, knowing my limits and how much more I can push them. I’m feeling very fit at the moment and I can’t wait to see what Stage 3 will bring us.

A few things I did not expect:
When Richard and I started this trip I expected that we would be mainly in the mountains, like in Canada and not be stopping in little mountains villages, which is unheard of in Canada. So after a 7 hour hike across the mountains and then being able to walk down to a town, it felt very surreal to me.

One day I would like to talk about in particular is this day we hiked from our bivouac by a lake in the mountains to Chapelle d’abondance. We were both very fatigued as we walked down to the town and we decided to check into the first hotel we saw.  After showers and a change of clothes we were sitting on a patio having drinks. I laughed at how weird it all felt, I had been pushing myself to get to the top of the mountain, to remain calm – watch the placement of every step, watch out for tricky rocks and roots and now here I was looking a menu deciding what I would like to drink, the choice felt very insignificant to me. Had the day all really happened?

I have enjoyed the variety of all the villages and towns we have walked through and still find it a little amusing the looks we receive when we first walk in all muddy and stinky!    We have stayed in a lot of mountain refuges which have all turned out to be a unique experience and to my surprise the meals they prepare for us have been exceptional except from the cheese fondue and a basket of bread!! It was hard to eat that much cheese and bread – no matter how hungry one can be.  Every night is a bit like staying at Skoki Lodge or Lake O’hara, where we stay in a great old building and somebody feeds us nice, fresh food.

Richard talked about coming back from his walks in 2000 and 2001 with a different view on life, and maybe a more simple view on what is important.  I’m starting to get the feeling on this walk about how much joy little things can bring.  A warm shower, fresh vegetables or even taking a break for some water give intense happiness that is not regularly experienced in our Calgary lives.

I’ll write more later, as we need to go and get some lunch and it is almost siesta time!!!!!


  1. hi lynn & richard

    pleased to hear you are both doing so well.
    thats the first 250k done only 500k more to go!
    good luck for the next stage of your walk

    thinking of you always



  2. keep going u two you are doing amazing sheila and davey

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