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