Note: Le WiFi es muy lento, así que no habrá fotos en este blog. Trágico, pero así es.
- Trajectory: Roncesvalles à Zubiri
- Distance: 21.9 kilometers / 13.6 miles
- Cheek Snow/Wind Burn Level: Magenta and Pain, which will also be the name of my zine when I grow up
Famous Last Words
“I’m never hiking in winter again!” Thus was my mantra for the latter part of 2017. And yet, here I am, traipsing through snow and sliding on ice. Funny, that. I had one epic downhill slide, but I saw it coming and was able to gracefully flail a good 15 feet before planting my feet in slush.
I’m not saying I’m a convert, but kickstepping through snow and walking in consistently wet boots is a hell of a lot easier when you know there’s going to be a bed, a shower, and cured meat at the end of every day.
Cold is also more tolerable when you step into it rather than wake up in it. I was definitely chilly upon leaving the albergue in Roncesvalles this morning. Around 9:30, I passed a house with a thermometer that said it was 11 degrees F, or – more dramatically – Negative Eleven Celcius. That’s fucking brick. That said, I didn’t feel painfully frigid: The Shower/Bed/Warmth Corollary.
So I amend my previous statement: I will winter hike everywhere, provided I can live in the lap of relative luxury after sunset. After all, I’m a pilgrim; not a martyr.
Town-Hopping à la Español
My day was comprised of bouncing from teeny tiny town to teeny tiny town, each about 6 kilometers apart, before reaching Zubiri, my final destination, around 1:30. I had initially planned on continuing to the next town, Larrasoaña, but all of the accommodations are currently closed for the season. Similarly, all of the teeny tiny towns were closed, thus foiling multiple plans to get coffee and food during the day. Thankfully, I had two Bounty bars and a shit ton of peanuts, so I didn’t have to hike on an empty stomach.
Why Walking is Fun
I’ve managed to walk these first two days without seeing another soul on the Camino during the day. I took a break in Burgete because all of my body parts were in pain, and I had a long moment of WHY am I doing this muscle-tearing, ache-inducing activity? I spent the better part of the walk listening to a “Happy Folk” Spotify playlist and pondering that question.
I don’t know if I have a reason yet, though I can at least attest to the fact that I feel more productive when I’m walking than when I’m binge watching “Sex and the City” for the millionth time (it’s still funny). But today was varied and enjoyable: A sunrise road walk led to the first town, and then the rest of the day alternated between dirt and farm roads, old stone paths, and actual trails in the woods. These different pathways were first etched out hundreds of years ago, and there is something humblingabout being one of millions and millions of people doing a given thing. Bizarrely, it’s the same feeling I have in a city.
I’m too fatigued for conclusions, but I feel like that’s fine; after all, this journey has barely started.