This morning was consistent with many others. We slept until 6 and hit the trail by 6:30. The weather forecast called for rain today. We had our rain gear on standby but as it would turn out, we wouldn’t need it. We didn’t get wet today!
Today’s hike started out with a small climb between two hillsides to walk out of the city. Bizarrely enough, the smell of dry dog food permeated the air. The further we walked the stronger it became. After a quarter mile or so, we ended up on the up wind side of the stench. We were never able to identify where it might be emanating from.
The hiking was great today. The air was cool, the road was dirt so the tread was soft. 3.5 miles in, we came to a cafe, and stopped for breakfast. I saw my first gay couple hiking the Camino. They left the cafe shortly after we arrived. I was a little bummed as I would like the opportunity to talk with them about their experience on the trail, what brought them to the Camino.
After breakfast we hit the road. For the last several days we have hiked through mile after mile of vineyard. Here and there we pass a field planted with wheat or oats, but primarily, its grapes. My friends Keith and Scott would be in heaven. The wine produced in this region is quite good and really inexpensive. We have had 3 euro bottles of wine that are better than $30 bottles of wine in the states.
The miles passed easy, we are getting stronger. Hills that would have left me winded at the start, are completed with little effort. The only remaining issue is my left foot. It tends to get very sore later in the hike. I think this is simply how it will be. It will feel good in the morning, and as the miles pass it will begin to ache and complain.
At one point in the morning, we caught up to a couple of people walking in a zigzag pattern. When I first noticed them, we were hiking up a hill. My initial interpretation left me thinking this made the hills easier as you are taking the elevation gain and reducing it by cutting across the climb. This is the same principal as a switch back on a trail.
As we crested the hill, the individuals continued their zigzag pattern. The only explanation I could rationalize is they walk this pattern to remove the issue of the camber of the road. All roads are sloped to one side or the other, or sometimes both with a crest in the middle of the road. This allows water to run off the road and not pool. Hiking or running for extended periods on at an angle induced by the camber can cause a variety of over use injuries. If you walk a zigzag, it would remove this repetitive motion. I was not able to confirm my theory as the individuals didn’t speak english. Oh well.
Today we pulled into the town of Santo Domingo. The format of the town is the same as what we have become familiar with. We found accommodations and headed to the local laundry mat. Our clothes hadn’t been washed in 3 days and were starting to develop a quite pungent aroma. The rain and sweat lodge of my rain coat makes for a special kind of funk in your clothing. The last two places we have stayed didn’t have a washer and dryer, so we didn’t have an option.
As we walked back to the square to do laundry, I saw the gay couple walking into town. One of them was walking with quite a limp. and using a trekking pole. The other had his ankle wrapped. They are having a rough go of it.
I ran into Maria whom we met in Pamplona. She said she had run into them every day. With any luck I will run into them later today or tomorrow and be able to strike up a conversation. Maria noted they are very reserved. And I can understand that, you are on a religious pilgrimage. Many faiths have strong opinions about being gay. Its easier to stay very reserved and keep to yourself, than risk ridicule.
Laundry and lunch were a breeze. We stopped by the local market to pick up some fruit and water for the room. By 2pm we were back at the hotel. We are becoming very efficient at life on the trail.
Soon after returning to the room an afternoon thunderstorm rolled through. Complete with thunder and lightening, it rained hard for about 20 minutes. The sky soon cleared and the sun came out. The birds returned to chirping. I miss this kind of afternoon shower.
I’m beginning to get hiker hunger. Each day I notice myself slightly leaner than the day before. We simply can’t keep up with the calories we are burning. Weight loss really is quite simple. Move more, eat less. Or, move to the point you can’t eat enough to make up for the deficit. For me, this appears to be at the 12 to 15 mile per day mark. I figure I am burning close to 4000 calories a day. At 18 to 20 miles per day, this will be between 4500-5000 calories a day.
Rest, eat, hike, repeat.
I’m working on a blog post I am hoping to complete in the next couple of days. We have noticed a phenomenon on the Camino that is pretty fascinating. Setting intention, and manifestation are remarkably effortless here. Ask and ye shall receive.
Thanks for reading. Buen Camino.