May 1, 2007

5/1/07 Ayegui Spain

What a beautiful day - rain!

Well, with the rain, it was a good opportunity to try out my home-made rain skirt. Got a few giggles out of everyone but everyone thought it was a good idea. We'll see.

Met Betty headed out the door of the refugio. When I told her I was from Kansas City, she was shocked by coincidence. Turns out she had been job hunting in the KC area recently. Small world.

We hit it off right away. Betty and I were so absorbed in our conversation that we missed the turn off for the Camino. A passing pilgrim said the road was an alternate route in times of bad weather, so we followed him. One look over our shoulders told us that there were plenty of the same opinion.

At the first pueblo, I made one of my many route mistakes of the day. I thought that the road would begin on the other side of town, but all we found was the Camino awash. So, what the heck, could it be that bad.

The answer is yes. If you weren't sliding all over the place, the mud as trying to pull off your shoes. Lots of water to wade through too. At the next pueblo, we got back on the road.

Guess we were being tested Santigo because as the day went on, the rain came down harder and it was getting windy too. We stopped for a bathroom break at a gas station. My hands felt numb and frozen. But nothing but to keep going, with thoughts of a warm refugio on our minds.

Betty and I continued to walk together bolstering up our spirits in this miserable weather. This was her first experience of long distance hiking. I thought she was doing well, having walked for five days already. But her mind and body were trying to tell her differently.

With our moods, you can imagine our disappointment when the first refugio turned us away because they were full. Several kilometers on the other side of town, we were told by other pilgrims that the albergue was closed too. I wasn't sure how much farther Betty could go.

But, decided to go up to the refugio anyway to see if they would open later. No one was at the desk, ut the door was unlocked. And sure enough, the hospitalero came around the corner and said for sure he was open and had plenty of room. Good luck for us.

It was so nice to be inside, out of the rain. But took stock of my gear and found everything was wet. Good thing everything was in bags, but I really need to do something in case we get more rain like today.

Ended up wearing my Chaco sandals with some neoprene socks. That worked pretty well, but all the road walk was tough on my arches. The rain skirt was great, but needs more leg room for jumping across streams. Used the umbrella most of the day, until it got windy.

Betty trying to get warm in her sleeping bag

Had a wonderful dinner with new friends: Ellio (Canada), Heidi (Norway), Eva (Sweden), Susan (France) and Betty. Later we spent some time outdoors to watch a sunset. Yes, the sun finally came out.