Walking West – Slow(down)

Day 24 – Molinaseca to Cacabelos, 15.27 miles

I call this one, “Mountain Sunrise as I Walk Out of Molinaseca on the Highway.”
The mountains of El Bierzo.
The Templar Castle in Ponferrada.
Back in the vineyards!

I limped out of Molinaseca this morning, still aching from the day over the mountains yesterday. To make matters worse, none of the bars or cafes in town were open when I left. That means I would have to grind it out to Ponferrada, an hour and a half away before any sustenance.

The more I walked, the more I began to realize the pain in my left Achilles tendon and calf were not normal soreness. The normal soreness will work itself out as I walk along, this pain wasn’t going anywhere. I made a mental note and slowed down going up the hills.

I hobbled into Ponferrada a little behind schedule and stopped at the first coffee shop in the Old Town. Here I formulated Plan B in case my left leg probs persisted. Plan A was to put in a long day to Villafranca del Bierzo, a little over 20 miles. Plan B was to walk to any of the little towns just past Ponferrada and rest my leg. Plan A and Plan B both included moving through Ponferrada as quickly as possible, I’m not sure what it is about this city…

Beyond Ponferrada the towns are well spaced – Compostilla, Columbrianos, Fuente Nuevas, and Camponaraya – all about 3 kilometers apart. My leg felt okay on this flat path so I continued slow walking through Plan B.

On the 5.4 kilometer stretch to Cacabelos, my leg really started bothering me. I’m certain I strained it on one of the abnormal ascents into Foncebadón or Cruz de Ferro yesterday.

I struggled into Cacabelos and got a bed at the first albergue I came to. It was fully self-contained so I could get in some good rest instead of walking all over town in search of food, drink, or laundry services. Plan C activated.

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