Caminito 2019

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Caminito 2019

 

 

10 days of walking in the English countryside + concert, 5 days in Paris + concert, and a 7 day caminito from France into Spain 

 

oxfordshire  

Lovely afternoon walk through Upper and Lower Slaughter in Oxfordsire

Lovely afternoon walk through Upper and Lower Slaughter in Oxfordsire

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Oxford Botanical Gardens

Oxford Botanical Gardens

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Paris 

view from sacre coeur

view from sacre coeur

montparnasse cemetery

montparnasse cemetery

Montmartre

Montmartre

Caminito: Bedous, France -> col du Somport -> puente la reina, Spain (7 day hike, 96 miles) 

day 1, leaving Bedous

day 1, leaving Bedous

day 2, leaving Borce

day 2, leaving Borce

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crossing into Spain. Ignoring the vehicular option.

crossing into Spain. Ignoring the vehicular option.

Day 3, leaving Villanúa

Day 3, leaving Villanúa

Santa cilia de Jaca

Santa cilia de Jaca

day 4, passing through Arrés. 95 degrees and few trees!

day 4, passing through Arrés. 95 degrees and few trees!

Artieda

Artieda

day 5, morning

day 5, morning

looking back at Artieda where I’d spent the night. Much more pleasant at 7 am than climbing that hill at the end of a 30 km day in scorching sun.

looking back at Artieda where I’d spent the night. Much more pleasant at 7 am than climbing that hill at the end of a 30 km day in scorching sun.

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approaching Undués de Lerda

approaching Undués de Lerda

View from the enormous hostel where I spent the night alone

View from the enormous hostel where I spent the night alone

day 6, passing into Navarra

day 6, passing into Navarra

 

 

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Day 7

Day 7

 

 

church at Eunate

church at Eunate

day 7, made it to my destination: puente la reina, a stop on the Camino francés which I walked five years ago.

day 7, made it to my destination: puente la reina, a stop on the Camino francés which I walked five years ago.

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Iceland, Day 1

After a four and a half hour flight arriving before 7am, Day 1 was slightly rough, but the weather worked in our favor. There was a mix of sun and clouds and the temperature was not too cold. 

we first stopped about an hour from the airport to take a look at the ocean. It looked a lot like Maine in some ways, but with basalt sand and shorter seaweed. The crabs were different too. 

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A couple of hours later, we arrived at Grabrok crater, one of three nearby craters that were the result of a fissure eruption 3400 years ago. It is a popular tourist destination, with a clear and easy trail leading to and around the rim.  

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It was nice, but we were more interested in the other crater next door, so we wandered around until we found a makeshift trail that way  

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Along the way continuing to our hotel, we stopped at one of the zillion waterfalls. Not yet sure if there are conservation rules about traipsing through the countryside, but for now we’re not overthinking it. 

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scared some sheep across a bridge 

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I like basalt a lot. Here is some basalt wrapped up like a little present for me  

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after driving through lava and mountains, we entered fjord territory. We were tired and couldn’t really stop, but the views were pretty. 

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 And then we arrived at lovely Siglufjördur, former hub of the herring industry.  

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my favorite kind of hotel room is simple, white, clean, with big views. 

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Good night

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Catalonia, Girona

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Catalonia, Girona

After a week of hiking, I spent a morning and evening wandering around Girona before heading to Barcelona for a week. A pretty and comfortable town.

The referendum on independence is coming up in October.

The referendum on independence is coming up in October.

View from the city walls

View from the city walls

City walls (reconstructed)

City walls (reconstructed)

City walls

City walls

City walls

City walls

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Girona cathedral

Girona cathedral

A passage leading to the old Jewish quarter

A passage leading to the old Jewish quarter

Onyar River

Onyar River

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Catalonia, out of the mountains

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Catalonia, out of the mountains

Day 6, walking. First day on my own.

Leaving Baga

Leaving Baga

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First clear view of the famous Massis de Pedraforca

First clear view of the famous Massis de Pedraforca

Back yard of the refuge looking out at the backside of Pedraforca

Back yard of the refuge looking out at the backside of Pedraforca

Beautiful dog guarding the refuge

Beautiful dog guarding the refuge

End of day selfie

End of day selfie

Day 7, walking. Started out rainy but the sun broke through. Walked all day out of the mountains and a fellow hiker drove me to Girona.  

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Everyone spoke of Pedraforca in glowing terms but it looked like Disneyland to me, especially when viewed from the ski town of Saldes.

Saldes

Saldes

From the path out of the mountains

From the path out of the mountains

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Catalonia, into the mountains

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Catalonia, into the mountains

Day 2 of walking. We were not particularly early risers, but we had gotten directions to another refuge and it was only about 12k away (or 19k?). Should've taken 4 hours max (or 6?). Anyway, it took us 11 hours. But along the way we stopped to watch a shepherd with his flock, got chased by if not aggressive, then definitely assertive, horses, watched a cow giving birth, got circled by birds of prey (eagles, I think), and some of us tried to eat every berry and potential vegetable we could dig up. And we saw all this:

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These horses were very assertive! 

These horses were very assertive! 

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These rocks look impenetrable but they're not, as we found out the next day.  

These rocks look impenetrable but they're not, as we found out the next day.  

As usual, heading into camp just around sunset.  

As usual, heading into camp just around sunset.  

Morning view from the refuge

Morning view from the refuge

 

Day 3 of walking. Left early (9:30am) for an easy walk after extensive directions and advice from our enthusiastic refuge host. 5-6 hours, he said. Turned out to be 11 hours, but another exquisite day. 

 

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Circle of life

Circle of life

Hiking up and up through those impenetrable rocks we saw the day before. 

Hiking up and up through those impenetrable rocks we saw the day before. 

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A real life Jiminy Cricket

A real life Jiminy Cricket

Lunch time

Lunch time

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Sometimes the path was like this

Sometimes the path was like this

Peynes Altes, 2,267 meters / 7,467 feet

Peynes Altes, 2,267 meters / 7,467 feet

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Beautiful hillsides, the sound of cowbells. Notice the sun going down.  

Beautiful hillsides, the sound of cowbells. Notice the sun going down.  

A Spanish hiker told me - in English - to look for a wooden fence with a little door. Is this a little door? Is it??? 

A Spanish hiker told me - in English - to look for a wooden fence with a little door. Is this a little door? Is it??? 

The path was easy to follow until this spot. We were supposed to not turn at the place that had a wooden fence with little door. We were losing light and decided to follow what we thought was our path into the forest. We had almost run out of water and had very little food when my friend heard a snort. Wild boars ran across our path - two babies and a mama! We were on the right path but during a moment of doubt started to strategize about how best to spend a night on the mountain with no access roads. The only way to get where we were going was by foot. Anyway we made it to the refuge just before the sun went down. 

The most stoic and authoritative dog I've ever met.  

The most stoic and authoritative dog I've ever met.  

Day 4 of walking. Relatively easy day walking 20-25k to the nearest town.  

Started out with rocks

Started out with rocks

Then into the trees

Then into the trees

Mountain views  

Mountain views  

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Back to the trees

Back to the trees

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And made it to Bagá, a little village of 2000. The hostel had a pool. Despite the best intentions to continue walking, we mostly rested.

Bagá 

Bagá 

Bagá 

Bagá 

 

WE HAD AN AMAZING DINNER with all local food and wine, mostly from the forest.  

From the local forest: beans, rabbit, deer, TRUFFLE cake with gelato.  

From the local forest: beans, rabbit, deer, TRUFFLE cake with gelato.  

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Catalonia, beginning

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Catalonia, beginning

From Barcelona to Puigcerda

I was planning my quasi-annual pilgrimage in Spain and decided to invite a friend who also needed to clear his head. I won't go into how we ended up starting our walk in Puigcerda, a town we had never heard of and never really learned how to pronounce, but let's just say it was a compromise that turned about to be the perfect choice. 

i took a lot of pictures of this lone hot air balloon as if it were the most interesting thing in Puigcerda, but I found out later there's also a famous lake in the middle of town that people come from as far away as France to see, but somehow we missed it. I also found out later (just now actually) that Puigcerda is literally one mile from the border with France. It was a popular vacation town in a beautiful region in Catalonia. 

Hot air balloon in Puigcerda

Hot air balloon in Puigcerda

 

Day 1 of walking. The first part was not very pretty but it was nice to get moving. After an involuntary nap outside the tourism office in Alp, we took a much prettier forest path to La Molina.

pisto forestal

pisto forestal

Sun setting towards the end of our day

Sun setting towards the end of our day

In the town, we asked directions from a very nice retired couple who offered to drive us to the refuge (though it was close and we totally would've made it ourselves). When I said we were from New York, he said "el centro del mundo.....para la gente que viven allí."  For him, the center of the universe is not New York, but Paris.  

 

 

This is the view from the  bathroom  at the refuge.

This is the view from the bathroom at the refuge.

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Punta Arenas, Chile

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Punta Arenas, Chile

Then I finally smelled the sea, and it was time to come home. 

Punta Arenas  

Punta Arenas  

Punta Arenas is the capital of Magallanes and the southernmost city of its size in the world.  

Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas

It sits on the Strait of Magellan, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  

Strait of Magellan

Strait of Magellan

Strait of Magellan  

Strait of Magellan  

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More Torres del Paine

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More Torres del Paine

Almirante nieto

Almirante nieto

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Los Cuernos

Los Cuernos

El salto grande

El salto grande

Lago Pehoe

Lago Pehoe

Lago Pehoe

Lago Pehoe

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Lago Pehoe

Lago Pehoe

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Chaura

Chaura

Lago Grey

Lago Grey

And then there was the glacier.  

Glacier Grey

Glacier Grey

Lago Grey

Lago Grey

Lago Grey

Lago Grey

Glacier Grey

Glacier Grey

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Torres del Paine, Chile

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Torres del Paine, Chile

Torres del Paine, a national park in the province of Última Esperanza and the region Magallanes y Antártica Chilena, is 927 square miles of pristine mountains, glaciers, lakes, wind and silence.  

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Because southern Chile is an archipelago, there is limited road access to the north. The first thing I noticed when I exited the airport in Punta Arenas was the backdrop of silence. Up in TdP (180 miles north of Punta Arenas)  where there are far fewer people and vehicles, at times all you can hear is the wind, various birds, a bee, and the distant rushing of glacial rivers. 

 

My first day I did a beautiful hike to the Mirador Las Torres. 

The way up

The way up

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Las Torres

Las Torres

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The way down

I like to think the trees look all gnarled because the austral winds rip them from the mountainside, but it may have more to do with the forest fires they had in the park in 2011.  

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Puerto Natales, Chile

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Puerto Natales, Chile

Puerto Natales is a lovely small port city in Patagonia that also serves as a kind of base camp for hikers heading to Torres del Paine national park. I spent the night there to get some logistical information about the park. Natales also proved to be the perfect place to accidentally leave your iPhone for several days. Turned out to be a great gift to be completely unplugged for my time in TdP, and for better or for worse, the phone was there when I got back to Natales.

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Santiago, Chile

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Santiago, Chile

The most beautiful thing about Santiago is that it's completely surrounded  mountains. Also, there are plenty of trees, a relaxed atmosphere, and the people are very friendly. 

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

Obligatory fresh fish market photo

Obligatory fresh fish market photo

Fellow travelers at the hostel

Fellow travelers at the hostel

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

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