A Steep Climb

By Andre S.
Group 3

Today we hiked up to the chapel and monument to Roland. A small group of us had done this hike last night, and as a small group it seemed easier. In the morning, sore from hiking the night before, it felt much longer and steeper. When we reached the top, we spoke/chanted The Song of Roland at the chapel. This was such a unique experience, where else could you say that you read a historic text in the location that it took place! Afterwards some of us continued on an extended hike, and because we had done the hike the night before I knew that there were horses and cows grazing in these fields. Growing up with livestock, this was very exciting to me and many of my classmates were surprised when I started to approach the horses and pet them. I warned my classmates to approach the horses slowly from the front (inside their line of sight) with one hand raised to them. Some of the horses were with their foals, and were quite protective and standoffish, but other than that they were very friendly. This is definitely the coolest experience I have had so far along the Camino. 

A small group of us decided that we wanted to climb to the peak of the nearby mountain. Unfortunately, thick fog rolled in the night before, obscuring everything that wasn’t twenty yards in front of us. Despite this, we decided that it was worth going up to the peak anyways. The path up the mountain was an unpaved single-lane road that was rarely used. Since the mountain was incredibly steep, the majority of the trail was one massive switchback. However, we deviated from the path several times in order to avoid some of the constant backtracking, and whenever we thought something looked interesting. We managed to find three different pillboxes from the Spanish Civil War as well as an SOS/WiFi station. The ascent up the mountain took a little over two hours, but we were very happy to learn that we were walking backwards on one of the Camino trails, and that France was only five hours away by foot if we wanted to go there. Unfortunately, we didn’t have tzhe time to go France. We decided to rest for a few minutes at the peak, then descend down the mountain. Fortunately, the descent ended up taking only an hour or so, but it led us directly back to our small village. The hike was incredibly enjoyable and I hope the Camino itself will be just as fun.