Walking the GR52 - Background

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Looking down the Vallée des Merveilles from Baisse de Valasque.

The GR52 formed the final stage of a walk along most of the GR5, also known as the E2, from Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands to the Mediterranean in the spring and summer of 2004.

I had been contemplating doing this 2,500 km walk for many years. Two books are ultimately responsible for me undertaking the walk. The first, purchased in the early 1980’s made me aware of the possibilities of walking in Europe. This book, On Foot Through Europe by Craig Evans (Quill, New York 1982, ISBN 0-688-01156-X) gave a brief description of the ins and outs of walking in Europe and a description of the E1 to E6 long distance paths.

The second, Walking Europe from Top to Bottom by Susanna Margolis and Ginger Harmon (Sierra Club Books, San Fransisco, 1986, ISBN 0-87156-752-0). I bought second hand from Amazon.com in 2001 so it is still available. It describes the journey of two American women along the GR5. It is not very useful in the day to day planning of the walk but provides an interesting travelogue of the route and helps set the scene for what is a wonderful and sometimes daunting journey.

Later, on a family holiday to France I did a couple of short day walks in the northern Vosges and felt very comfortable in the surroundings. When I returned to Australia I started to research the GR5, trawling the Internet, and buying the guides and doing rough translations of them.

I became aware that there was a better finish to the walk; still to the shores of the Mediterranean, but a wilder end to the mountains and a more abrupt re-entry into full blown civilisation.

For me the GR52 was a truely wonderful experience and provided a superb finale to over 100 days of walking.

All images and text in this web site are copyright (2004) J. M. Fowler.