Hiking Survival 101

If you ever decide to visit Normandy, here are some things that are useful to bring:

  1. Short pants
  2. A raincoat
  3. Some pocket money
  4. Your camera

These essentials were all packed into my overnight travel bag as I was preparing for a hiking trip. This past weekend, 38 of us international students were lucky enough to spend three days exploring the beautiful landscape of Northern France.

I am not a professional hiking guide, but, after this weekend I feel confident enough to share my knowledge with anyone who is willing to embark on a similar adventure.

Question: “Why should I bring short pants? It’s the middle of Autumn and I’m cold…”

Answer:

You are going to get WET! The first hike we completed required us to walk ~8km across ocean sand leading to Mont St. Michel. From far away, the scenery of this bare landscape looks dull and uninteresting. However, when hiking across the uncovered ground, you are bound to stumble across small water pools, quick sand, shrimp fishing nets, and hundreds of seashells.

That beaing said, sometimes the only way to continue your journey is to walk knee-deep in ocean water. The best way to do this is while wearing short pants (now do you see why they’re important 😉 ).

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Question: “Do I have to bring a rain coat, even if my weather app says it’s going to be sunny?”

Answer:

When you are by the seaside, the weather is constantly changning. You never know when you could be hit with a drastic change in temperature. That’s exactly what happened to us… When we were hiking back home, sharp rain started pounding down on us. It was almost as if Mother Nature was testing our resourcefulness…

Thankfully, we were all prepared because we had packed our rain jackets. At one point, it was only thirteen degrees and our gang of students was the only thing visible on the barren horizon.

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The following day, we started our second hike in the middle of a forest. The air was humid, we were surrounded by an abundance of autumn acorns, and our hike kept getting paused to take photos.

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Question: “Is pocket money really that important when I’m going hiking?”

Answer:

You never know what kind of unique street food you can find on the sidelines of your hiking excursion. While taking a short break in the port town of Cancale, we were surrounded by vendors who were selling fresh oysters. Apparently, when you visit Cancale, it’s considered tradition to eat their local seafood. The oysters that are eaten in this area of France take up to four years to mature before they can be harvested and served. This region in the North is also the largest distributor of oysters not just for the rest of the country, but for a large part of Europe. That being said, we couldnt say no to some huitres…

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Question: “My camera is so heavy. Are you sure I can’t go without it?”

Answer:

At the end of the day, what matters the most is that you are comfortable. If you are treking over 15 kilometers, perhaps the extra weight might slow you down. Personally however, I would not have been able to be separated from my equipment. I am a headstrong, all or nothing type personlity that wants to take advantage of every moment.  Keeping that in mind, it’s no surprise that I was almost always the last person to be running behind our group due to the amount of times I kept stopping to take a picture. In my opinion, the extra cardio I had to do to catch up with our troop was totally worth it…

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An additional iPhone gallery:

 

 

10/10/18

~with love, from France,

Natalia.

 

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