Day 5. Hospitales

June 8, 2015
Campiello to Berducedo
Distance: 29 kilometers
Steps: 40,047
Stairs equivalent: 200 flights
Agony level: 7

The six sisters


Today fell into the WOW! WOW! WOW! category. The climb was seriously hard and worth every step. There were two routes to choose from, the high road or the low road, I chose the high road. This route, named “Hospitales”,  has a double  meaning. First, there are the ruins of three 13th century hospitals (hostels) for pilgrims. Second, the modern semi-joke is that this route could very well put you in the hospital because in bad weather it’s easy to get disoriented and then comes trouble.
Hospitales has a bit of everything and a lot of some things. The wind can suddenly whistle up the mountain and pummel everything in its path, including this pilgrim. When it clocked around behind meI felt like I was floating. From the side, it was wicked, constantly pushing me sideways into the mountain.

There are large fields of scree that can suddenly send a pilgrim sliding. There are also large open areas the size of football fields.  Around their edges the mountain falls away.

The football fields were especially challenging because there was little sign of a trail. Instead, there were posts in the ground every 5-10 meters with yellow arrows painted on them. Twice, the fog closed in and I had to wait in the howling wind beside a trail marker until the fog cleared enough for me to see, and reach, the next one.

I eventually climbed above the fog and enjoyed a bit of sun. The occasional cloud blew by and added to the joy I found on the mountain. Being high in a cloud forest is magical.

Coming down Hospitales was a vertical adventure through scree. With walking sticks for balance and control the trip down felt a little bit like skiing.

Here are a few more photos of my most challenging and rewarding day in three caminos.

The horses run free over the mountain.


The red tiled roofs have given way to slate. Love it.

Added my name to the collection.