Santa Catalina de Somozo to Acebo, 27.7km
Into the mountains today! The trek was up and over the two highest points on the Camino Frances. Cruz de Ferro, at 1505 meters, is the first one crossed, quickly followed by Alto Altar at 1515 meters.
The first 5 or 6 kilometers out of Santa Catalina were mostly flat. Outside of El Ganso (home of the Cowboy Bar), the path begins to gain elevation up into Rabanal del Camino. It really gains elevation between Rabanal and Foncebadón.
Just beyond Foncebadón was the Cruz de Ferro, one of the iconic places on the Camino. I will spend more time here on my next Camino. It was interesting to read the prayers and thoughts and stories left on the mound. I was here for 30 minutes but could have easily spent hours there.
The mound at the base of the iron cross is an accumulation of 5 centuries or so of pilgrim prayers, thoughts, and regrets. I called the mound, “The Great Longings of Mankind” – to know forgiveness, to hope that everything will be okay, that new beginnings are always just a breath or step away, the hope of reunion, and to know the human ability to overcome.
I left 3 stones at the Cruz.
Down the trail, Manjarín was a point of interest. The featured image of the day was taken at the Donativo in this little town. The town boasts a population of 1, the 1 is modern-day knight!
It was here that I met a lady that was doing pilgrimage right. She, a fellow Texan, flew to Spain in the third week of May and had been walking since then. Her goal was to finish in Santiago, or even Finisterre by mid-August. Her pilgrimage strategy – if I get tired, I rest. Hungry, eat. See something interesting or beautiful, stop and look.
This is a great strategy but requires a 3-month commitment. Irrational ; )
After Manjarín, it was a climb to the highest point on the Camino Frances and then downhill all the way to Acebo, my off-stage destination for the day.
Today’s walk was my favorite of the entire journey. Parts of it were challenging, especially the steep downhill walk into Acebo on tired legs, but it was beautiful from beginning to end.