The trek to Molinaseca was probably one of the most physically challenging things I’ve ever faced in my entire life. It sleeted, snowed, and rained as we slowly made our way over the mountain. The wind was unforgiving and hit us at speeds of over 30 mph. The roads were steep and treacherous. Small streams of rain water and decades of traveling wore crevices into the path. You had to constantly readjust footing as to not fall down the hills. This was apparently the worst spring Spain had seen in over 200 years. Most pilgrims find themselves sweating, hoping to stride into Molinaseca for a nice swim. The entire day I was thinking this would happen to me wouldn’t it?
Today was our arrival to the Cruz de Ferro. It is a large cross at the foothills of the mountain where people leave heavy burden stones. These stones represent pain pilgrims had been carrying metaphorically and physically. Some have writing on them, others have small mementos or pictures of loved ones. For me the day was about remembering all those I’ve lost, my grandmother, good friends, and more. It is a beautiful place; eerie as well. It is a place in time that stands still as it’s visitors transgress into new stages of life. I will have to go again someday.
After four or five hours of hiking, my small group made it to a tiny town on a mountain side. We had thought we were almost there, but man were we wrong. After we ordered our third breakfast treat, we learned we had 13 km left. Thirteen?! I was truly intimidated. Those hills wear you out fast. We were even teased by the weather as the clouds cleared up as if only for our tiny visit. We packed up and started to make our way. These new paths would be more fierce than the others. Imagine hiking down wet slippery stone and large, almost unavoidable puddles of muck and rain. Although the terrain was rough there was something truly unique and beautiful about the trail. Purple and yellow flowered bushed lit the way, and the way the towns were silhouetted by the clouds was unforgettable.
We finally made it into Molinaseca as exhausted and sore blobs of skin and bone. I had made most of trip without a single blister. This would set the tone for the rest of the trek…