Grinding It Out

August 16, 2013

My left leg isn’t getting any better. i think it’s shin splints because it hurts almost all day. I should probably take a few days off but Kathryn is meeting me in Burgos on Sunday and I’d like to walk the entire way. So far I’ve walked almost 175 km (over 109 miles). I really underestimated how difficult this would be. Even though I’ve backpacked a number of weeklong trips, I’ve never walked 8 days straight averaging almost 14 miles a day. Even if the terrain is flat, it’s still a challenge.

Over course you meet people who are cranking out ridiculous distances. I met one guy who had done 58 km in one day and was averaging over 40 km/day. He was also carrying a big backpack and wasn’t moving very fast when I saw him.

Last night was my first night in a donativo, which are staffed by volunteer hospitaleros and where you make a voluntary contribution for lodging and meals. The accommodations are very simple, including sleeping mats on the floor and a communal meal. Cooking and cleanup duties are shared as well.

The albergue where I stayed was attached to the church in Granon. When you arrive, you are welcomed warmly by the hosts and they offer you a cold drink and (for me) an ice pack. After dinner, we enter the church’s choir loft through a secret passage and hold a prayer service with candles. It’s a moving experience and each pilgrim gets to offer a prayer for a special intention. I’m planning to repeat the experience tonight in Losantos.

I’m really looking forward to a rest day in Burgos. Only two more days until then.

Notes from today:

Left Granon at 0745, arrived Losantos at 1430
Total time 6-3/4 hours
Total distance 20.5 km
Average speed 3.0 km/hr (note that I’m slowing down)

Once again, photos are in random order. The WordPress app makes it hard to move photos around.