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Day A24 - Forward to the past
April 25, 2013                            SÍte to Agde                                    16 miles
Sete 3
Sete 2
The top two pictures are of SÍte. Those below are of Agde and the route to Agde.
The road picture is from Google maps.
The weird-looking rubber things are my hiking stick boots, all worn out except the one shown for reference.
A boot seems to last about 500 miles 
To Agde from Sete (Google maps)
Agde reticence

I was reminded at dinner last night that eating out is lonely when you eat tout seul (alone).

SÍte is a tourist center but also has a business side based on its port. It's mostly a nearly-round, 2-mile diameter, 600 ft high island surrounded by the sea, two lakes and a canal. Boats can reach SÍte from any direction, and a number of them are fishing trawlers that unload almost into the kitchens of a great many quayside restaurants. It's crowded even in off-season with people and boats - and jam-packed with cars seeking parking. It has an interesting history and is quite cosmopolitan.  

My friend and supporter Robert M has been a regular visitor to the SÍte area since his youth - often as a sailor. Now an international sailing judge, he works at venues around the world including Tampa Bay.

I looked around SÍte last night, and got focused on my bothersome blister and its possible impact on my hike to Agde tomorrow. So I decided to leave SÍte earlier than usual this morning. Those plans didn't change after I found that just a little more blister protection seemed to help. I had neglected to treat a small heel area, which I couldn't see because of the paper tape that overlapped everything. Cutting back the paper showed me my error and let me rectify it. Now I could walk with only mild pain and without limping. A limp says one is favoring one foot (or leg), and invites postural problems.

There were 16 miles to Agde (pronounced "agd"), my finishing point, starting with a walk right round SÍte, which itself took ninety minutes. I walked the circumference because only brave people choose to climb the very steep hill, a mile-long grade exceeding ten percent. But that's just what my friends, Gene and Joe-Elena, did when they visited here. I took a picture of the summit for them - from sea level.

The walk to Agde is mostly "seaside", but there is a choice of the beach itself, an adjacent parking strip, or the main road which is sometimes a beachfront road anyway. In places, the main road runs inland next to the railroad track where it may be narrow and without shoulders so best avoided - see the picture above. At the end of the road and beyond the last in the sequence of lakes, the land area expands from coastal strip to "mainland". That's where Marseillan Plage and then Agde are.

Agde's famous round-basin lock has three gates. One provides access to the Canal du Midi (to the west), another to the Canal du Midi to the east which connects to the Canal du RhŰne this side of SÍte, and the third to a a spur canal which runs to the Hťrault river and thence to the sea.

Agde, of historic interest, is the city for Cap d'Agde, a modern well-known tourist resort for water and other sports and pastimes. One of the pastimes is naturism. Since leaving home, just a few friends have written to me - perhaps 10 of the 32 receiving these hiking reports. But, quite mysteriously as I reached Agde, 89 out of the 32 wrote to ask for more information about the naturist resort. Two asked for detailed directions. Ten asked for photographs. One asked what clothes to bring.

Contrary to rumor, I did not visit the naturist resort at all. Wikipedia says it's a mile-long resort, with every amenity - so you can stay nude without interruption for as long as you vacation there. Forty thousand people are at the resort on any one day through the summer. This is so many people, all with nowhere to put a purse or a tube of sun lotion, that I hope they have a good lost-and-found department. My, err, assiduous research revealed that there is bus service (Ligne 4) to the resort at 7 and 37 minutes past the hour, and intense competition at Hťrault Transport to be assigned to drive these buses.

So . . . setting out from SÍte at 7 am with my friendly, now-lighter backpack, and my now quite-unfriendly hiking shoes, with one half-healed blister . . . with a hiking pole that is about to fall apart . . . in good but cloudy weather . . . I reached my destination of Agde - the end of Part A of the hike - at 2.30 pm . . .

Having had good times, and frustrating times but never bad times . . . and having taught myself that, with any luck, we can still rely on determination to carry us through . . . especially when we have friends and supporters who send cheery messages, agree with our nonsense, divine the weather, offer thoughts on problems but know when to back away . . .  and somehow are here for us even when they're far away . . . you know who you are and I will not name you now . . .

And recognizing that this sort of hiking is much, much, much harder while doing it than thinking about it later . . . I am resolved to think about it later as if it were now . . . before reaching for my boots again.

If you wish, click on to Part B of the hike now. Part B follows Part A in geographical sequence.

As you'll remember, I did Part B three years earlier than Part A.
If you like time machines, now is an opportunity to go forward to the past.

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Strider on the beach
Round-basin lock gate
Lockkeepers cottage
Bus to the naturist resort
My hiking stick boots
Author rests
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© 2013 Daryl May