Each day we’ve had a different weather profile. Day 1 hot and sunny, day 2 foggy and cool, today windy and cold but very sunny.
From Orrison we continued climbing up to the top of the Col Lepoeder but where the first day was steep switchbacks, this was more gentle. Plus, it was completely socked in with fog so you couldn’t see what you were walking into anyway so there was nothing to psych you out. Joycee kept saying it looked like a scene from Macbeth. Underfoot it was lovely and soft, a deep bed of leaves. But where mountain biking that sometimes implies slippery and greasy, here it was just spongy and forgiving. Getting up to the col was basically easy. And while the descent to Roncesvalles was steep, it was also quick. It felt like it was over in just an hour or so, although it wasn’t really, more like 5 hours? Not sure really. Time begins to run together a bit. In Roncesvalles we had our own room rather than the albergue. I’d read that this one had 180+ beds so I just presumed we wouldn’t get a lick of sleep. It turns out the spaces were divided into cubbies so better than I’d imagined. We had dinner and then went to a Pilgrim’s Mass which was very pretty although I didn’t follow much.
We’ve kind of found a group to walk with, loosely between 6 and 10 people from all over. Vivienne from Brazil by way of Ireland, Tony from Holland, Alejandra from D.C., Lori from Texas and a few others on and off. People are nice and wonderfully kind and loan first aid supplies freely. We were separated from the group for dinner last night but they nonetheless made a rezzy for us at the albergue where we are now.
Today, day 3, was brutal. I found it much harder than yesterday. Partly because it was windy and chilly today. Layers on layers off all day. There was some climbing also, during which my knees started hurting. And finally, at the end was a long, long descent (5k) into Zubiri. Where yesterday was soft and spongy, today was granite strata, with a layer of loose granite on top, with some good roots or other trip obstacles thrown in for good measure. Broken ankle waiting to happen. I was super happy I was actually wearing boots, and that it wasn’t raining because I can hardly imagine that footing with a slick coating of rain on top. Everyone except Joycee was limping when we got here.
Tomorrow we’ll walk to Pamplona but it’s basically flat the whole way.