I’m stuck in Happy Baby. It’s a yoga pose and the only position than feels remotely comfortable right now.
It was a brutal day from Orrison to Roncesvalles. Brutal with a capital B. Yesterday the forecast called for 34 degrees. It would be a scorcher hiking over the mountains without a tree in sight until the Spanish border. But that didn’t happen.
We awoke to a storm blowing in. The Pyrenees are notoriously unpredictable and today we felt Mother Nature’s wrath. She said ‘Ok kids. Lets make this interesting’ The Mainers in the group confirmed that what we were all battling for the first five hours, uphill and straight at us, was what sailors fear the world over. Gail force winds. You could lean forward, hold your arms out and the wind would hold you up. Or knock you down, as in my case.
We got a few reprieves in a gully or behind a hill. But it was not to last. It took me nearly 6 1/2 hours to get to the downhill into Roncesvalles. Every step took twice the effort. Sometimes the poles kept me upright. Other times the wind would catch them.
A few pix:
And I have a tip for you. Specific instructions for how to pee outside in gale-force winds. Or more accurately, how not to. You can message me for the 1-2-3’s. A poor turn of phrase 😬
But at least it wasn’t 34. The wind kept us all cool.
When I got down to Roncesvalles I was limping. It was all I could do to make myself keep walking to La Posada and a private room with a bed and a shower. The thought of an Albergue tonight would have made me cry.
I was sitting in the lobby waiting for the previous guest to finish their check in. When in comes a woman I had seen on the trail several different times today. She scowled at me.
‘How did you beat me here?’ She asked.
I could barely form words
‘I don’t understand.’ I told her.
She snorted. ‘Well you are very slow. There is no way you beat me.’
I cared about beating another Pilgrim not at all. I got here when I got here. And I told her so.
‘I think you cheated and took a taxi.’ She declared to everyone in the lobby. Looking at each of them to confirm her clearly accurate assessment of my Camino goings on. She would make an excellent informer for a fascist regime in any country. Throwing around unfounded accusations with convincing abandon.
‘Perhaps you stopped somewhere to rest and I passed you.’
But she threw this aside. ‘This is not possible.’ She countered. I was obviously faking my halting gait and the involuntary moan that escaped my lips when I rose from the bench as the receptionist called me forward.
Just then, another woman arrived and the accusing Peregrina accosted her.
‘You were on my bus this morning. To the top of the mountain!’
The other woman confirmed she was.
‘I wasn’t going to walk all that way.’
So it seems the woman who accused me of taking a taxi simply to beat her, specifically, to Roncesvalles, had herself not fought the winds I had all day and had been dropped off via a bus at the top of the mountain! I swear. People. Just people.
I just stared at her with my best Darth Vader stare over my mask. There were no words.
So I made it to my room, after climbing stairs that I cursed for each and every riser. And after collapsing on the bed have found that my favorite yoga pose, Happy Baby, is the only one that will relieve the pressure on my back and neck. And now I am stuck in it. But looking up at my feet and legs, I have discovered that my previously comatose serious calf muscles have decided to make a return to their rightful place. They’re probably responsible for me passing that lady on the trail. They’re stealthy like that. And now, if I can just get myself out of Happy Baby I might be able to scare up some Ibuprofen and a shower. Cause my body knows the truth. No matter what anyone says, this girl walked the whole fucking way today😉 Like a Boss.