(Middle of nowhere) to Sansol

I had a great day of walking, though not a lot to report. The landscape is beautiful but starting to look the same. What do I take pictures of anymore? Such a weird mental space to be in — the journey is fascinating and the landscape is beautiful, but is any of it distinct anymore?

I did walk by a small serve-yourself petting farm on the edge of Los Arcos and thought of my son Elliot and his goat. For you, E-Man:

Another pic of Los Arcos. Cute town but I’m trying to blow through.

I stopped at a bar to use the banos, get a small bocadillo, and rest for a second. It was this 15 minutes of stopping that made my feet suddenly hurt. Like really ache.

I found myself hobbling when trying to leave the bar. What the heck?

So I hobbled across the small square to a bench outside the wonderful 12th s church (locked as usual), and pulled off my boots and socks to check it out.

Mother of God.

I have MASSIVE blisters on both feet — one on my right foot and four on my left, including my pinky toe that is almost one complete blister. The pinky toe isn’t as surprising because I had been having problems with just that one all week. I have that strange toe setup where my pinky toe is almost sideways and my fourth toe essentially walks on the side of the pinky (I’ve been told this is common in descendants of the Normans, which I am). I’ve been wrapping my pinky in duct tape every morning to separate it from the fourth… but this morning I had the bright idea of wrapping it in a Compeed bandage instead. Dumb dumb dumb. When I pulled my sock off, that stupid Compeed had come loose and was all balled up between my toes. Dang it!

I can’t explain the other blisters, though. How could I be out here doing this for more than a week, but suddenly get blisters on day 8 or 9 or whatever day this is?

Cockiness, that’s how.

I’ve been slowed down so much by the flooding and mud that I haven’t covered as much distance as I planned. Today was dry and relatively even so I just trucked it and kept up a pace as fast as I could.

I never stopped to rest.

I never stopped to change my inner socks.

I never stopped to take my shoes off and make sure my feet were still dry (because you know, no rain).

So I screwed myself. Tomorrow will be interesting.

I managed to hobble into an amazing albergue in Sansol and met Kitty and Wilma here. We are having a lovely evening chatting about our families and American politics, drinking coffee, white wine, and a really great lemon beer. The albergue is also the town restaurant and it seems all the townspeople are here. It’s an amazing stop (for those pilgrims looking for recommendations).

Welcome to the Middle Ages (Body)

Trekking along at a good clip like today without having to worry about muddy mountains, I became much more conscious of my body. Obviously the entire baseline reason for walking the Camino is to overcome the trauma of the pericarditis and grab my life back from the constant fear of if/when it comes back. The secondary I didn’t think about before starting was finally triumphing over the over-surgeried (is that a word?) left ankle.

But neither of those two issues have been … an issue.

Which means that once the trail flattened out today and I could really focus on walking, I noticed other things going on.

My lower back was really hurting in Pamplona when I was being a tourist, but it doesn’t hurt when I’m wearing my pack. Is my spine/posture out of alignment?

My right knee started feeling unstable walking into Pamplona so I bought a Velcro knee brace. I’m not sure if I’ve been putting it on correctly these last few days because my knee has NEVER HURT BEFORE. Is this the result of favoring my left ankle for 18 years? I notice that every step down, every jump, every first stride starts with my right foot. I think I know the answer: yes, it’s from babying my left ankle since I first broke it in 2000.

Speaking of favoring left over right, I also noticed for the very first time in my life that my right HIP is hurting when I walk. Please, Lord, let this all just be some sort of middle aged achiness caused by the ankle that can be fixed by a chiropractor or something.

So this is getting older. What a way to be introduced to my middle aged body — on the Camino!

Here’s my baby toe. To pop or not to pop, friends? Wilma, Kitty, and I can’t figure out what the best practice is anymore.

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