[Somewhere between Roncesvalles and Zubiri]
Route: Roncesvalles to Zubiri
E and I joked that we might need a safety word for when the walking became no longer fun, so we would know to stop for the day. We threw around “Trail of Tears” or “Bataan Death March,” but the problem with safety words/phrases on a hike like this is that there are only so many towns you can stay the night in. We hit Trail of Tears mode about four hours into our hike and the last 6.5 km were certainly the Bataan Death March. Here’s a current list of aches and pains:
1. My feet. I wrote a whole post about my bunions in a previous post on my other blog, so I won’t elaborate here. Let’s just say that bunions + 15ish lbs pack + paved road do not mix. I welcome every opportunity to slog through the mud, just because it’s softer, and for those of you who know how I feel about mud, this is saying something.
2. My knees. Dear sweet mother of pearl, why is scrambling downhill for kilometers on end so painful?! If yesterday’s climb up the mountain was hard, today’s hike down into the valley was harder.
3. My hamstrings. I knew from looking at cadavers that there are three hamstring muscles and where their general insertion/origin points are. Now I can point to each and every single one of these on my own body because I feel each one acutely. That is, I could point to them if I could bend over.
4. My hip flexors. Supposedly hips can rotate in three different directions (internal, external, hinging forward). Mine currently only rotate in one.
So far my upper half feels good, although my entire body is tender to the touch for the second day in a row (today is better than yesterday, but I continue to be shocked at how painful it is just to bathe). Additionally, the weather was perfect today as we walked through a much different countryside. E and I didn’t talk very much today and I wonder if we will feel more like conversing as our bodies become accustomed to all the walking, or if we will retreat further into ourselves as we fall under the Pilgrim’s spell (at the very least, we have both developed the Pilgrim’s waddle). However, during our longest conversation, I did learn something new: Peanut butter is really only a thing in America because the government subsidizes peanut growers. Apparently, without these subsidies, peanuts are rather costly to grow and you won’t find peanut butter, or bags of peanuts for snacks, in any other part of the world. Perhaps for this reason alone, I am happy to be an American.
Staying in sunny Zubiri tonight. Onward again tomorrow.