Ascent: 2017 feet
Descent: 1575 feet
Total: 3,592 feet
We started the day with anxieties about the distance. We would be going from 21.4 km yesterday to 29km today. Good thing we didn’t know about the elevation changes. It was to be one of the most difficult days on this camino. So we started early….got up at 5, were on the road by 5:45, stopped for a quick breakfast on our way out of town and didn’t stop walking, except for short breaks until 4:30, when we FINALLY arrived in Almaden de la plata.
There are small blessings which you have to be alert for. This morning the blessing was that initially, it was so dark we didn’t realize we were climbing, and also that the highway wasn’t busy LOL. The temperatures started off pretty cool….didn’t start stripping clothing until around 10 as it started to warm up. Got into the mid 80’s at the hottest part of the day, late afternoon. Temps are moderating….no more 90’s!!!!
The first 16 km was on a highway. We walked in the dark with Mike in the lead, waving his flashlight around when a vehicle approached us and making sure we didn’t fall into a variety of paved and unpaved ditches. A bit slow going until it started to get light as we stepped off the pavement as cars/buses/trucks approached. Our guide book by Gerald Kelly had stated that the road was undulating….Mike said it was more like a roller coaster! Up and down with a mostly long up towards the end when we turned off the highway and entered a natural park.
What a beautiful walk we had. We started off in a forest of what Mike thought might be cork trees. All the trunks had had the bark removed from ground level to various heights. Later, his deduction was confirmed as we came to an area with stacks of cork. Fascinating! The next forest was a pine forest. Those trees had been planted and bermed in lines and the trees were amazingly symmetrical and so green. The last forest was a reforested acorn forest.
29 km was already a difficult proposition but to have the last 2 kilometres a very steep up and then down, into Almaden de la Plata, made it almost impossible, exhausting!!!
We walked on wobbling legs, to the nearest albergue, Albergue Reloj, showered, did laundry, took a couple of ibuprofens each, rubbed arnica cream on each other’s shoulders and collapsed….then hobbled off to the nearest bar/restaurant four a cerveza y limon and dinner.