- Amazing walk, wonderful day. Tough but so good. This was a perfect example of 'plan for the worst and hope for the best'. I think we came as close to the best as possible. None of the rain or snow or freezing temperatures that were predicted materialized so even though the climb was relentless ( my new favourite word) I just kept thinking " The sun is out. There is no rain. This is tough but this is good". On a difficulty scale this rated a little higher than expected, maybe a seven, but on a misery scale maybe only a one or two. Four of us started out together, Chris Slater, Greg, a young French pilgrim and Dayton and I. We left before 8:00am and headed up the mountain road. Interestingly, on the first hour of the walk out of Urdos, before the cut off for the Somport Tunnel, hundreds of motorcyclists passed us. It made me think that we were on the road into Port Dover on a Friday the thirteenth. (For the non-Ontario readers, every Friday the thirteenth every biker within hundreds of miles descend on the Lake Erie town of Port Dover to meet and greet, show off their bikes and maybe have a beer to two). There is a tunnel that one can take to go eight kms straight through Canfranc-Estación but then one would miss the spectacular climb and the equally spectacular views and what fun would that be?
The higher we climbed the more snow we saw on the ground and the cooler the temperature became but we never got too uncomfortably cold. Any chill was from the exertion and perspiration of the climb. After about three and a half hours we reached the Sol de Comport and the Spanish/French border and enjoyed a well-appreciated tea and cafe con leche at the mountain top cafe. Our Dutch friend had arrived a little while before us. He had taken the Camino path not the road and so had had a much tougher and more treacherous time of it. We had followed advice and stuck to the road. It was enough. Kit was also trying another variation of a cafe courageux but we stuck with a tamer non-alcoholic version.
After our break we walked gently down for a couple of hours into Canfranc-Estación where we had another beverage break before Chris and Greg went on ahead to Villanúa. This is when I have to be careful not to fall into that 'comparison is the thief of joy' trap. It is so easy to start to think, "Oh, they are going on another 8kms farther than us", so we are kind of so wimping out, not doing as well. Actually who cares?Just focus on a the joy of a good day's walk, be happy and satisfied with our decisions and don't get caught up in comparison. This is the same sentiment we talk about in every fitness and yoga class, "Let go of comparison and competition, with others or even with yourself and enjoy this moment". And I am.