Stage 1: St. Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles
Official: 25.2 km // Phone Step Count: 27.43 km
It’s remarkable to see how quick everything comes back. Like riding a bike the routine rotates naturally into a smooth cycle. Memories flood back into time and space. In many ways I feel like I am walking through a dream. Have I really been here before? Have I really walked these paths?
I’ve stared daily at pictures taken three years ago. I’ve reread my journals and blogs. I’ve spoken about it in class, on retreats, and with friends. In many ways the spirit of the Camino has walked with me through the years, but now following that little golden arrow again it all seems supernatural and surreal. When I pass a certain shop, eat a particular meal, hear the clanking of a walking stick, or sit in prayer at a Church, time and space cease and I feel myself living in the moment and, at the same time, walking through a dream of the past.
As we took the dramatic climb over the Pyrenees, my legs and feet were much sturdier than the nightmarish climb of the past. Getting an early start, I climbed with steadfast conviction matching phase with my walking stick and legs. Propelled forward, up one mountain and then over the next in a seemingly endless roll of peaks we moved upward past the tree-line and above the clouds and fog.
There is a great mystery to fog. It dances with the morning sun. Flowing, bowing, waving, weaving through the trees blanketing the green grass with rich white. Moving in response to the evaporating wind, pausing if only for a moment to reveal the beauty beyond its vail. The sun shining horizon gives way to a beauty that only a mountain possesses. A grace filled glimpse at heaven. Atop the final peaks we pause for a snack overlooked by a mother and child.
Following after the golden yellow arrows, the trail takes a sharp curve leading down a dramatic decline. With rocks and stones rolling, along with my ankles, I crawled slow and steady at a snails pace until we reached our ancient albergue in Roncesvalles.