Hiking the Via Francigena Day 4 & 5: Our Highest Pass

By on June 6, 2022

If I complain about any other climb, let me please remember this day. Oh, the climbing, all day long.

I kept repeating all day, “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” I’m searching for change on this pilgrimage. I don’t know completely what change, but I’m sure it will reveal itself when it’s time.

Climbing up, up, and up

The one thing I know about pilgrimage is whatever you think you’re searching for, most likely, isn’t the thing that will be revealed. I could list the changes I want to make, but I think it’s better to wait for enlightenment.

Honestly, the climbing wasn’t that bad except in a few places. The last 2 miles were the hardest of the day. Climbing is typically more mentally tough than physically. Your calves get a nice stretch all day and gravity isn’t pulling you down like on the downhills.

Our shadows with buttercups

Fortunately the Alps are covered in wildflowers and that kept us quite distracted. When we led hiking groups and the hike us particularly challenging, many often hear me say, “Suck it up, buttercup!” Today I heard them all saying it back to me with every buttercup I passed by.

The biggest challenge we faced today was hunger. Last night we didn’t have much of a dinner because there was only one place open in Bourg Saint-Pierre. We didn’t grab any breakfast or lunch to go. Therefore, to climb this mountain we had the equivalent of gas station muffins and the protein bars we brought from home. We were absolutely famished when we got to the top.

When you’re on pilgrimage you’re always a bit stinky, hungry, and tired. I’m thankful it wasn’t hot while we were climbing. Tomorrow we live to hike again! May there be food options a plenty.

Walked from Orsiéres to Bourg Saint Pierre – 14.71 km. YouTube video from our walk!

  • Lodging at St. Peter’s House – 50 franks (cash only)

Walked from Bourg Saint-Pierre to Grand Saint Bernard Pass – 12.5 km. YouTube video from our walk!

  • Room & Board at the Hospice – 150 franks


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