I didn’t blog yesterday. I needed an evening to relax. Yesterday’s hike was 18 miles after a 20 miler the day before. We were all experiencing fatigue. Overuse injuries are becoming more prominent and requiring constant attention.
Molli struggled with a tibia issue most of the day yesterday. She changed up her gait which helped for a short time but the pain returned. Having roughly 5 miles to go, she thought jogging might help change things up. She gave her pack to Tony and jogged down the road about 20 yards. The change seemed to help. She came back and after a brief exchange she decided she would jog into the next town and secure accommodations. She felt bad leaving Tony with her pack, but was grateful for the break in the routine.
After Molli broke into her run, Tony and I chatted the remainder of the way. The seed of my next grand adventure just may have been planted. Many many things have to fall into place for it to work out, but I think it could be a great experience. I know my husband is going to look at me as if I have three eyes when I tell him about it. After nearly 17 years together, there is one thing he can say with an infinite amount of certainty, I’m not boring.
She ran ahead and secured accommodations. Hontaña is a very small town. The town consists of two Albergues, one of which has a hostel attached. The only meals and food in town are at each of the Albergues. There were no other services available. A true oasis. The albergue we stayed in had a funky fresh vibe. There were statues and murals in the big walled in courtyard. This area provided a welcome break from the howling wind we had dealt with all day.
Another issue making itself known is our calorie deficit. Weight is pealing off our faces and bodies. You can see each day we are getting thinner. We are by no means malnourished, but we are definitely not eating enough to maintain the bodies our western diets typically sustain. It has become clear why the Spanish maintain their leanness through their early 40s. If they are even slightly active, their diet doesn’t provide enough calories to become obese.
After we arrived in Hontaña, Molli and I each enjoyed a sizable beer, along with a few snacks. We were all pretty fatigued. After the beer, I took my own siesta. I closed my eyes and two hours passed.
The three of us wandered down to the courtyard. It was a packed house. There were 40 people drinking beer and wine, some were sunbathing. The energy was festive.
We have noticed an increase in the number of people on the Camino. Burgos seems to be a popular starting point for those with less time to hike the Camino. We have also noticed many people only walk a few kilometers each day, but we see them in the evening in each town we stay in. We witnessed what makes this possible yesterday. We were resting in a small village for lunch, when a tour bus pulled up. Out poured 30 pilgrims, only 6 or so kilometers from Hontaña. This is their way. Mid-morning each day, a bus picks them up from their hostel or albergue and drives them to a predetermined distance from the town they are to stay in and drops them off. I have heard of slack packing, but this is a bit beyond even that. To each their own I suppose.
The night was restful and we decided to sleep in to give our bodies some additional time to recover. Additional sleep didn’t work out as I awoke at 5:15. We didn’t hit the trail until 7am.
We had a new addition to our group this morning. A guy from the states named Lawrence just happened to be leaving the same time we were. He was an interesting guy; a professor and associate dean at a university. He walked with us most of the day. He’s burning up some vacation time from his current job, as he is about to be in a transition. He’s leaving his current university, and is using the walk to figure out what’s next.
Along our route today we came across a very interesting place that had a commune/free spirit vibe to it. It consisted of a cafe, a large out-door seating area, a camping area inclusive of a teepee you could stay in. A good number of Hammocks also adorned the yard. Ducks, geese, chickens, and donkeys roamed freely and in harmony. Several dogs of a variety of breeds meandered among the variety of fowl without giving chase or showing aggression. It was a fascinating place. It would be a place to stay the night.
We had a shorter mileage day in that we walked just shy of 16 miles. The weather was finally warm and wind reasonably calm! It was a nice treat
We are all in the injury management phase. In long endurance treks like these, it isn’t a question “if” you will get injured, it is merely a matter of “when” and how you will manage these injuries. Overuse injuries are a very real concern, and you have to become more attune to what your body is telling you. Sometimes you can push hard and cover mileage quickly or larger mileage days. In other cases, you need extra rest and a slower day of walking. The goal is to refrain from becoming injured to the point of having to quit, or injuring yourself to the point of a permanent damage. It is a balancing act. Preventative stretching, ice baths, and massage become a requirement.
Our town for the night is Carrion de los Condes. We found a place to stay within minutes of walking into town. Over the last couple days, we have noticed more people out rustling up business. Individuals standing along the path handing out flyers for their restaurants or hostels. In these towns competition seems to be greater.
Our daily routine in town is much the same everyday. Food, laundry, shower, rest. Today I am including ice baths for my feet. A painfully therapeutic treat.
Something we have become l but is still very foreign to us is the lack of availability of ice. In the US, you can find ice at any convenience store or super market. In Spain, we have been to several towns and villages that do not have ice for sale. You simply are unable to buy it. Additionally if you ask for ice for a beverage, they are rather frugal with it and give you two or three pieces. Very different indeed.
I am still looking for that glass of ice tea.