I must admit that Stage 1 research may have caused some stress. There was so much written from so many different sources that said this was the most difficult section. I was sure that I wanted to take Route Napoléon (said to have been traveled by Napoléon but not verified as true) because of its stunning scenery and possible significant history depicted in the readings. It is a more challenging route because of the continuous climbing, the unpredictable weather and the lack of albergues/shelter. Once committed to the route, you just have to keep going and hope for the best. I did not know what to expect. I also was uncertain during my months of training whether I would be adequately prepared.
I was so happy to arrive to Roncesvalles without any problems. All went well, and I even arrived early to miss the downpour! The vistas were unlike any others. The adrenaline of the excitement and the thrill of achievement were well worth it. I was also delighted to experience real mountain shepherds who let me help them! I made lifelong friends along the way on day one and uplifting forever memories.