The last couple of days has seen some big ups and some serious downs. It turns out I wasn’t yet feeling 100% the morning we set out for Cruz de Ferro. It was a major struggle to keep it together that morning.
We set out at 6 a.m. by the light of the full moon. We trekked 5.6k to Foncebadón where we had some breakfast before continuing our trek up to Cruz de Ferro an additional 2.2k. In all it was a climb of 343 meters. The arrival was as magical as many have described, but my emotion came from accomplishment more than spiritual or religious. Along the way we have seen some beautiful crosses. We have been lucky enough to see them lighted by some spectacular sunrises. The sheer number of people there and the pictures and ‘excuse me’ took from the spiritual moment. Yet, I choked back tears realizing this moment I read about and saw in so many movies had arrived for me. I was here. I could release this dream and call it an experience, a memory.
We walked on in a sheer high. Our joy was apparent from space! The declines that followed seemed easy and we began to wonder why we gave in and shipped our pack ahead when we had done so much worse than this.
We soon came upon the self-proclaimed last of the Templar’s low-tech refuge. He offers all pilgrims a warm drink and also sells other items to help support the refuge. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to be there when we arrived although it seemed like the refuge was in operation.
It was after this that I realized what was meant by a tough descent. It was 900 meters over rocks and unsteady grounds. The grade was rough. We hobbled our way to Molinaseca, a town I was very interested in visiting, only to stay at the Albergue too tired to move.
The following day, the left knee that screamed all the way down the day before, was pissed! Our mostly flat walk to Camponaraya was still a very long a painful day.
On Monday, September 19th we took advantage of all alternate routes and short cuts that avoided any unnecessary climbs and descents. This meant we overnight end in Pereje, a small town on the old Roman road VI.
Since the climb to O’Cebreiro is unavoidable, we shipped our bags ahead once more and tackled the almost 21k to La Laguna de Castilla. While tough, the views were rewarding. Up doesn’t seem to affect my knee. We shall see tomorrow when we head down after O’Cebreiro with our packs.
As of tonight, we have 157.3 k to Santiago.