Hands down, it was the longest day of my life. We got up and ready and by that time most everyone in our hostel was packed and gone. Not the greatest start, but we definitely weren’t the last to leave, so that made us feel better.
We started at the “official” start- an arch just 20 meters from our hostel. After a quick photo session, we made our way down the hill, through town, and then up one of the steepest hills ever, or so I thought…
I don’t think I could recount every part of the day for you, but I will give you the highlights! I instantly regretted not training, though most of you that I talked to before I left knew this was going to happen. We didn’t know which route was the alternate, and also easier, so we ended up doing the normal, super difficult route. There were many times I didn’t think I was able to complete the days journey, because I was so ill prepared. Yes, on one hand it’s training for walking long distances, but also training for the incline and decline. Additionally, I was not listening to my body and what my body needed. I didn’t eat much the day before and I definitely felt the effects of that all day long. However, at one point I had eaten something and about ten minutes later we were walking down a slight decline, and I got giddy. Like, giggly giddy. Everything was fantastic and life was joyful, it was nice because it is especially easy to be focused on the negative of day one.
The views were spectacular, you could see mountains everywhere you look, unless the fog was in the way. The downside to that, was that everytime we thought we reached the top, there was another mountain to climb just around the corner. Just to give you an idea of what we went through yesterday, according to Micah’s stats, we climbed 366 floors, walked 16 miles, burned 4,696 calories, made 40,000 steps, all over the course of 13 hours (which includes several half hour breaks). Needless to say, we were exhausted yesterday. We were some of the last (but not he very last!) pilgrims to the hostel, but we got there in time for dinner and a shower before bed. I am so proud of myself for making it through the first day, because I hit a low point where I thought I would not finish. It felt so good to complete it, as it was probably one of the hardest physical things I’ve ever done.
Today was so much easier! It was mostly downhill, we kept pace with other pilgrims. Not much time went by without us seeing others on the path, which was very reassuring for us as we went so slow yesterday. But we got a sort of routine going and were in the zone a few times with much fewer stops. There was some incline today but it wasn’t nearly as bad as yesterday, only 108 floors today!
I didn’t take any pictures today, but it was still pretty. There were lots of mountain views but it was mostly shaded, so that was nice for avoiding sunlight. However, I seem to be able to attract the sun anyway because a couple of my burns got worse despite putting sunblock on multiple times. We made a few more friends at the hostel last night and during the walk today so that was nice. When we got to Zubiri, our end point today, we were with a girl from Canada and she knew some people at a hostel just inside the town so we joined them. This hostel is very nice, only 10 beds so hopefully less snoring, it includes breakfast, and we splurged on laundry- so they did it for us and we finally have clean AND dry clothes for the first time in days! Oh the simple joys in life. There is also a creek right next to the hostel, so we went for a dip while our laundry was being done, and I’m pretty sure he water has healing powers because my sunburn doesn’t look as bad after swimming. Who knows, maybe it looked worse before than it actually was. My spirits are high now, we are going to find some dinner and relax before bed.
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment, and ask questions! 😊