August 28, 2022
Dear Family & Friends:
I have now walked 32 miles on the Camino de Santiago. Here is a brief report.
St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles-August 27, 2022
No long distance walk should ever begin with a 17 mile, 10 hour hike up a mountain. That’s exactly how my walk began. First, I miscalculated the distance between SJPP and Roncesvalles. I thought it was 15 miles. The actual distance is 19 miles, and 17 of those miles are uphill. So, I wasn’t mentally prepared for the distance. Also, I thought Orrison is halfway between SJPP and Roncesvalles. When I reached Orrison in just 3 hours, I was pleased because I thought my walk was halfway complete for the first day. In fact, Orrison is only about 4 miles from SJPP. I started in SJPP at 6:30 am and arrived in Roncesvalles at 4:30 pm. When I arrived, I was mentally and physically exhausted.
Despite these errors and surprises, the walk was enjoyable, proceeding through some beautiful countryside. I captured some great drone footage, including footage from Col de Lepoeder, the second highest peak on the Camino de Santiago (4,692 feet).
In Roncesvalles, I stayed at La Posada, where Martin Sheen stayed for the filming of The Way. Roncesvalles is a small village with a population of about 21. Other than the restaurants and hotels, the main structures are the monastery and abbey church.
Roncesvalles to Zubiri-August 28, 2022
I departed the hotel at 8:30 am. The 13.3 mile walk took me a little over 7 hours. There was some uphill, but not sustained uphill. The whole way I felt like I was in the groove. It was a relatively easy day, and a fun day. The walk started in a heavily forested area, thick with beach and oak growing in odd shapes and postures.This forest is called “The Oakwood of Witches” because it is the sight where Witches’ Covens were held in the 16th Century. In the period of repression that followed, nine witches from this region were burned at the stake.
One of my favorite villages along the way was Burguete, known as Hemingway’s village in the Pyrenees where he would come and stay at the Hostel Burguete to fish for trout with friends. I am staying at a delightful hostel in Zubiri called Gau Txori.
Tomorrow, I leave for Pamplona. I may stay two days in Pamplona.