I’d already been traveling for 22 hrs the day before I found myself 10 hours into hiking the French Pyrenees from SJPP en route to Roncevalles (27 km/15 miles). To make matters worse the wind started whipping around & the fog was limiting visibilty to no more than 1ft. My trek buddy & fellow pilgrimn”Gibbs” were tired and about to be stranded.
It was a beautiful but brutal trek – climbing and climbing with little reprieve. I noticed my knee starting to bother me and though I took breaks and slowed my pace, it only got worse.
We needed to find shelter because we weren’t going to make it the last 6 km into Spain.
As we walked, we discussed what gear we had to make an outside shelter for the two of us to make it through the night.
Then we came upon a shack at the top of the mountain. We tried the door and it opened. There was another pilgrim named Anna who found shelter there and we asked if we could crash. She agreed so we went about pooling our resources for food, bedding, survival skills. I made a fire, Gibbs had the food prep, Ana collected wood and donated blankets.
We slept well overall. But I was in excrutiating pain through most of my body but my knee was seriously inflammed. It felt like the tendon was going to snap. When I stood on it at first, I almost collapsed. I thought “please don’t let this be tendonitis!”
We packed our gear and got ready for the final 6 km. I hobbled along but as the path began going down hill, I was barely moving from the pressure on my knee. Gibbs took my pack to relieve me of 6 kg of weight which helped. Both tried to keep me in good spirits.
But the constant walking and pain management broke me near the end and I distanced myself from the group as I burst into tears. When they finally caught up I got very angry and started yelling at them. It wasn’t their fault.
When we reached Roncevalles, I was relieved and let myself feel the full extent of the pain. They all came over and comforted me. I apologized for acting out. They said, “what did you think you could get rid of us that easily? You’re stuckbwith us”. I laughed and then cried — this time from being touched deeply by their friendship.
Alan another pilgrim, offered me a combo of pracetemol & ibuprofen and Gibbs gave me a lidocaine stick to rub over my knee. I had a capsesin patch that I stuck over top. That helped alot. Then, I got a beer.
I have no doubt I’ll expand on this when I’m less exhausted but suffice it to say that there is something here about realizing that the people I am traveling with (who have found me along the way) are parts of myself and something more about acceptance.
Buen camino – from aneternaltraveler 😉