J’Nell and I left Puente la Reina and crossed its eponymous bridge around 7:30 am with the sun beginning to rise. I’d checked the weather the night before mainly to see how hot it would be, and smiled at the 83 planted on the day with a big sun. Another fine walk ahead on the Camino.
A quarter of a mile into our trip that morning it began to rain.
Two days prior we got a light sprinkle for about half an hour, but we had the cover of the forest to keep us dry. We’d also put plastic ponchos over our packs as extra precaution and all was good. Since the day’s forecast seemed favorable and the rain (at that point) was light, we figured we’d be fine doing the same.
With every step the rain came down harder, the wind blew colder, and the lightning & thunder scared the shit out of us. The flashes and booms went on for a good couple hours, with only a few seconds in between them. You can’t help but worry, even if the odds are in your favor.
Maybe it was a good thing, as the fear of being charred took my mind off the big climb over rocky, muddy roads. We arrived at the next town (Mañeru) and luckily found a covered area by the fountain. There was a group of 20-somethings chatting there, and we all shared the dry spot for a spell and contemplated whether to wait or charge through the rain.
The decision was to keep on moving, but we smartly put the ponchos over ourselves as well as our packs. And that’s when it began to pour. It was wet and cold, and a tough hike to the beautiful hilltop town of Cirauqui.
We sheltered under the church’s covered pathway for ten minutes before moving onward toward our day’s destination of Estella (where we’d made a reservation at an Albergue). Thankfully the plastic ponchos kept us dry up to our thighs, but our feet were soaked through. It’s great to have waterproof shoes, but they don’t help much when the water comes in from the top in buckets.
Leaving town we got to step over original stones from the 2,000 year-old Roman Road that goes through the area. Its really cool in principle, and two millennia ago it was an apex of technology for Caesar and his soldiers. But for pilgrims in 2019 in the rain and mud, the busted up stones were a struggle to traverse.
We passed through Lorca next (another nice hilltop town and it made me think of the Spainsh poet), and it finally stopped raining. We still had about 4.5 miles to Estella, and the sun (it was now getting hot) would thankfully dry us along the way. There would be one more stop, the gorgeous 13th Century Church in Villatuerta (our policy has been if the doors are open we go inside), and we then we forged on (getting drier with each step) to Estella.
70 miles down, 430 to go.