TREKKING — DAY 10

Santo Domingo to Belorado — 14.5 miles

Loaded with my backpack, 2 pounds of water and a quarter of a cheese sandwich in my pocket, Dick walked me out of Parador Santo Domingo de la Calzada at 05:45 a.m. Like yesterday, it was pitch dark and I had my headlamp in my hand. As soon as I got on the Camino path I saw another trekker ahead of me so I thought I’d be o.k. I passed him and quickly caught up with 4 guys from Australia. The path was gravel and dirt and I couldn’t see the ground but just hoped I wouldn’t trip or fall into a hole. No one else was using a light so I didn’t want to turn mine on and be the sissy of the group!

After a mile of following them uphill they crossed the highway and stopped. The Way was not well marked — there were 3 different ways you could go — straight ahead, all the way to the right or at a diagonal in between. There were groups going in all 3 of those directions. Well, the Aussies chose the diagonal, I followed them and then everyone else turned around and followed them, too. We were now on the correct path but that could have been a big mistake in the dark if everyone had been by themselves.

I chose to stay behind the Aussies for the next 5 miles until they stopped for a bathroom break and coffee. I tried to get coffee there, too but couldn’t get waited on quickly enough so I decided to just keep walking. Most of today’s walk paralleled the highway on one side with green hills on the other side. It went up and down and up and down and there was really no diversion except for the occasional smell of exhaust fumes from big rigs passing by.

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This was the only place to get coffee that I saw for the entire walk.  The other little villages looked like ghost towns.

 

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This is what most of the Camino looked like today.

I ate the cheese sandwich while walking but was exhausted after 10 miles. The Beatles song “Help” started playing in my head again and I was so sick of it that I started thinking about how I felt and here’s how it went: I’m hot, I’m tired and my shirt is wet. I’m hot and tired — are we there yet? My feet hurt, they’re fiery hot, I feel like I’m stepping on a lot of rocks. My legs ache and my hips hurt and did I mention I was wearing a wet t-shirt?  And to add to those ailments, did I tell you that my nose runs constantly — it never stops — like a dripping faucet?  I am not liking today at all.  It is tedious and never-ending.

I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

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I finally walked into Belorado. Dick had texted that he was already there when I suddenly got a message from him that said, “STOP.” I had gone a little too far and he was coming to try and find me. He was tracking me on “Find My Friends” and he knew I was already through the town and on my way out. I stayed where I was and he found me a few minutes later.

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The hotel room wasn’t ready so we sat outside for a coffee and some of that sweet, fresh squeezed orange juice. I peeled off my shoes and socks, let my feet soak up the sun, leaned back in the patio chair and almost fell asleep.

Later in the afternoon we tried to make reservations for the next night but everything, and I mean “everything” in every little mountain town along the Camino was full. We finally found a hotel farther than I wanted to walk the next day and it was a few kilometers off the Camino path, but it was the only thing available for tomorrow night.  We made reservations there because we had no other choice. These are such small towns that busses don’t even go to them.  Dick will have to take a very expensive taxi to meet me tomorrow.

They’re dropping like flies!  People are quitting the Camino and going home.  Each night Dick has told me stories about people he has met during the day and while taking the bus.  There are so many of them who have decided to quit the Camino.  A young girl, 23 years old, had hips so sore that she could hardly walk.  She was returning home to Nebraska.  He has met numerous people with blisters covering their entire heel and the tops of their toes.  One woman from the U.S. had been sitting in Najera for 4 days waiting for her blisters to heal before she continued on.  A teacher from Spain had shin splints so bad that he took the bus with Dick for 3 days.  Today was the first day he would try to continue walking.  On day 3, one 40 year old girl and a woman in her 50’s, who were from Holland, were quitting the Camino because of painful blisters on their feet.

And now let’s get to the people who are taking the bus with Dick each day.  On day 2, from Roncesvalles there were only 2 pilgrims who took the bus to the next town — Dick and another guy who had crashed his bike.  A couple days later, in Pamplona, there were about 15 trekkers boarding the bus.  A few days after that there were 21 trekkers on the bus with Dick.  The number increases each day with the highest being 46 as of yesterday.  And remember, busses travel from town to town several times a day.  Dick is only counting the trekkers who are on his bus.  I am also noticing there are less Pilgrims on the Camino.  There used to be several in front of or behind me at any one time but now I only see one or two at a time.  And, a lot of Pilgrims are simply choosing to take the bus from town to town, instead of walking — and they have no ailments at all.

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We’re sharing a pizza in the central square in Belorado.  First of all, notice Dick’s beard.  He hasn’t shaved since we left home.  But, notice also that there are no other Pilgrims around.  It’s 8 p.m. in Spain — dinner time.  Where is everyone?  Where are all the trekkers?  They are simply disappearing day by day.

Sent from Karen’s iPad

10 thoughts on “TREKKING — DAY 10”

  1. Is Dick going for the full on beard or stylized? He will need to check out beards.org for a full directory of styles 🙂 Enjoyed the pictures today. The area looks nicer than you described. It sounds like there are more people traveling now by bus than are walking. How about an update on what your phone shows as total miles walked so far? I’m so inspired by you doing this!

  2. So, my question for the day is …. with all these people quitting the Camino, what are your plans? I just calculated your distance with Google maps (probably a little understated because it doesn’t count the distance within a town to get to your hotel) but it seems you are about 30% of the way there — 230 km (142 miles). Wow, that is impressive!! The only thing is … if you quit, I’ll sure miss reading your daily blog! But maybe it is something to do in stages and you can come back to it later and pick up where you left off. Or just keep trekking and sending your stories and photos. ¡Buen Camino!

  3. I didn’t know you’re that tough even though we’ve known you for over 30 years. Keep going beautiful Karen!!

  4. well that only shows U’re a true #1 trooper!! so hard to imagine the torture U’re going thru & can still smile @ the end of the day! We’re all pulling for you…chin up I know U can do it!! thks much for posting & pics, love them!!

  5. I admire your will power! That would be a difficult day for me. Next to the highway and boring! When scenery is beautiful walking is more enjoyable. As far as hotel situation, I would probably stay put unit next opening in the hotel along the way. Just a thought of walking anything extra would put me down. Looking forward to your next report!

  6. So proud of you Karen! I’ve written many times but guess they are in cyberspace since only one comment got through. We’re in Maui with G& E, and we all wait with great anticipation to hear about your day. It’s sort of like sitting around a radio to hear the latest soap opera episode. It’s a real highlight for all of us! Love the pics too! Eat!

  7. I
    Hi Karen & Dick
    I was finally able to log onto your trek. WOW. I am so proud of both of you! Love reading your daily blogs and pictures. What memories you will both have! Awesome! Keep On Trekk’in
    (KOT). Proud of you………

  8. Pretty soon you are going to wear out your shoes! I would not have made the first day! The cold and the wind would have done it for me!

    So glad did saw that you were heading out of town. That would have been terrible to over shoot the town.

    Really enjoying your blog.

  9. Karen, you and Dick are making memories. If you were home you probably would not remember these few weeks. I’m very proud of you for walking and Dick for supporting you. I had some doubts if you would be able to do this. Now I’m having doubts about my doubts.

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