Day 1: St Jean Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles

So I’m realizing it’s hard to find the time to post. I’m definitely getting away to write – in a few different forms: in my journal (from the amazing Tracy of Writer’s Work!), on my phone in my google sheets app using my Bluetooth keyboard, and on the trail when I’m alone using voice to text. That last one makes a lot of mistakes but I’m treating it as bad handwriting I’ll have to discern later. I’m also sadly aware that posting pictures is tough on the blog. I didn’t realize that a lot of the pictures refused to go through on the last two blogs. Sorry! You’ll have to wait for the album of pictures later. For those that are more visual learners, I’ll try to keep my Instagram up to date with at least one post per day. I just finally uploaded (after about 3 long 15 minute sessions on WiFi) a really cool video of a large herd of mountain sheep grazing in the Pyrenees Mountains. When we came upon them this afternoon, they reminded me of a tent I loved a burning man – it was lined with mechanical bells that dinged sporadically around the tent, the sounds corresponding with strands of LED lights. The sheep today weren’t equipped with the light show, but the sounds were equally mesmerizing and thought-provoking.

So the hike today. Yeah it was tough, mostly because of the steep climb up, but it was a long one too! Today was:

STAGE 1

St. Jean Pied-De -Port (Pays Basque) – Roncesvalles (Navarre)

784.9 km (487.7 miles) to Santiago de Compostela

Total distance: 25.1 km (15.6 ml)

A strenuous uphill walk is rewarded with stunning views in all directions (provided we are spared the hill fog). The first part, as far as Huntto, is through steeply wooded countryside that gives way to open hill and moorland, interspersed with some woodland (mostly beech) on the Spanish side. While the uphill section will stretch the cardiovascular muscles, injury is more likely on the steep downhill stage into Roncesvalles when mind and muscles will be tired – stay very focused.

It was definitely a mental test for the first third, but once I reached the cafe/auberge at Orisson, I realized I had made great time. Today was definitely an “Irish” day for me. I met a guy from Ireland who I walked with for the tough first third then we separated for a little alone time, from Orisson to nearly the end, I walked with an Irish girl who I had met at my hostel the night before, and then tonight at dinner I was sat with nine Irish guys together on the pilgrimage to honor the memory of one man’s son who has passed unexpectedly at far too young. After dinner I went to the pilgrims mass at the cathedral, which also spent some time speaking about the Irish man’s son who has passed away. It was altogether an awesome day with physical and emotional challenges but peaceful and reflective moments as well.

I just realized I have a long walk planned for tomorrow (27 km), so now I need to get some rest and see how my body feels in the morning! 10pm lights off. Night night.

Thank you to Dawn and Tacho for sponsoring this day.

4 thoughts on “Day 1: St Jean Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles

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