Climbing the clouds that first day was unlike anything I have ever done in my life or probably will ever do again. For a girl from south Texas, walking up that one hill with the sheep on it, scouring the country side for a yellow arrow and finally having the wind clear away the fog for the first time, was breathtaking. I’ve been hiking before, but never seen anything like this. It was literally as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes. I could see clearly for the first time all morning (in 4 hours) and the path before me was finally clear. Crisp blue lines of sky met the green and gray of the mountain as far as the eye could see. The air was clean and fresh and the only living things for miles were the sheep and the pilgrims who were making their way slowly through the crags. We paused on one such hillside to eat a quick lunch. My feet, painfully, unused to such tight laces and to walking for such a long time non-stop, rejoiced to feel the sunshine, soft grass and clean cool air. No blisters yet, today was going to be a good one.
Our lunch was meager and fast, bread, salami, oranges and cheese. We re-hydrated and then picked back up where we left off. I didn’t know it then, but there is something comforting about stopping for a while, but knowing that the path is always there, waiting for you to return.
We walked the rest of that day, stopping periodically to hydrate at the twists and turns of the road or to eat a quick snack before