Today we started with a big climb (for the Camino--about 1200 feet in 6km) and then followed the ridgeline for another 12km, before a long and sometimes steep rolling trail for another 10 km. We'd been warned that the spectacular views disappear with cloudy weather and the route becomes a real challenge--and it was iffy this morning, somewhere between 20 and 50% chance of light rain depending whom to believe.
But we started with a massive breakfast (a cheese omelet sandwich from the local bar that cost 4 Euros and probably weighed a kilo!) and enough food and water (that's a lot of extra weight) for all 28 km, because there are no services along this route.
There used to be which is why it is called the Hospitales route, but that was 1000 years ago. The modern route avoids the highly exposed ridge, but also misses the views...and the ancient Hospitales.
The is one of the legs I had in mind when I brought my hiking pole--the long descents are tough on my arthrtic knee.
The first few miles were fine, sunny with a light mist.Then we started climbing for 4 miles into gale force winds, rain, hail, and fog. The good news? We only had about nine more miles to go.
It was brutal. The only saving grace was that it wasn't freezing cold. It was maybe 55-60, but with the wind and rain it felt colder. The wind kept blowing my hat over my face, so I finally took it off, which meant taking off my glasses, too. So if there had been any views I would have missed them. There weren't, unless you count looking at clouds.
There was no place to stop, and we worried about getting severely chilled if we did.
At the end of the nine miles the trail dropped bit, but still kept us in mist and rain for another ten miles or so. It wasnt until we finally marched into Berducedo, 28 km after we started, that we saw the sun.
We checked into our hostel soaked to the skin. Lunch, a beer, a shower, and dry clothes took away some of the pain. That, and Advil.
One amusing note to the hike is that Estelle kindly washed my hiking socks yesterday, and it was only after we were sloshing in rain that we realized that she hadn't rinsed them completely. My boots were foaming all day long.
Who says we don't know how to have fun?
Tomorrow is another longer day, 24 km, but on a trail that should a lot easier.