So…. I have been busy walking and riding but as a result I am so tired, I am doing very little else. Hopefully I will soon toughen up and take it all in my stride (literally). Since my last post I have completed walks of
Friday 15th – 6.8km
Saturday 16th – 12km
Monday 18th – 18km
Wednesday 20th – 20.8km
All my walks involve very steep descents and climbs because of the lay of the land. The minute I leave the house I have to tackle the steepest track in the area and every walk ends with me having to climb back up that track, so even when I think I have coped with the walk really well, I still arrive at the door puffing and panting. It must be the best practise for the camino.
Yesterday (Wednesday 20th) I tackled my longest and by far the hardest walk yet with my good friend Lyn, who is a keen hiker and in the past has often encouraged me to walk with her, although I have never previously felt the inclination to use my own legs when I can let my horse do the work. At the outset and at the end of our 20km trek we faced the challenge of huge descents into valleys with the inevitable climb on the other side, and in between these climbs a massive black cloud drifted overhead and proceeded to empty its contents on us for about two hours. Of course I had broken all the rules – none of my gear was waterproof and all was made of cotton, so soaked up all the rain and held on to it. But nevertheless, my temporary 15 euro trainers are doing a sterling job and I returned home with tired, but dry, feet! Poor Roly was not at all happy to get a soaking, but as the sun came out for the last half hour, he was dry by the time we got home.
Even in these conditions we could not help but admire the dramatic views, over a huge expanse of coastline, as far away as the Rock of Gibraltar, a distance from Competa of virtually 200km. We came across many wild boar tracks and saw some huge paw prints that puzzled us, although we decided in the end that they must have belonged to a giant dog.
There are also ibex (wild goats) roaming in the mountains and a few times when riding I have come across a group of horses that have been released in the natural park to fend for themselves. On one occasion I was quite intimidated by a stallion defending his mares that chased us off in a very aggressive manner.
As we came to the crossroads where the track either takes you to the tiny village of Salares, or back towards Canillas de Albaida, through Fogarate, we passed a goatherd carrying an umbrella with a large flock of goats straggling behind across the mountainside, a charming scene that we see regularly in this area.
We finally returned to the village after more than four hours of walking, feeling very tired, but pleased that I had broken the 20km barrier. My next goal will be to walk 25km, which will be the average daily distance we cover on the camino.
I also took my horse, Liana, out for fairly long rides on Sunday (15km) and Thursday (14km), so I have travelled a fair distance in the last week.