I had lots of ideas of what this Camino would be like. Some were spot on, but I was also to be thwarted with discouragement.
Walking, Hiking, Trekking all over the world
I had not been looking forward to this last challenge of the trek. And it lived up to its reputation, with myriad switchbacks and trails that were so narrow that faster hikers could not easily pass me.
The next thing we knew, we were climbing straight up. This was, by far, the steepest climb of the whole trip, with tiny hand- and toeholds. The trail was sketchy at best…
Becca and I were getting hiking weary. The steep daily ups and downs were taking their toll on our knees and feet.
We started out walking uphill on the road out of Milishevc. Then we had to climb a steep hill with no real trail—just using our GPS to get us up to the main trail. Even then, the trail was non-existent in places, and we had to rely on GPS and the occasional Peaks of the Balkans trail markers.
This was the longest stage so far….We enjoyed long easy walks up and down along ridges and over some low passes from one valley to another.
Today, as we had expected, was easier overall. There was an easy uphill until about the halfway point. Then we had lovely rolling hills and ridges to traverse for the rest of the day. There were no real hurdles.
It was not without some trepidation that we started out on our Peaks of the Balkans circuit … We knew that our choice to go over the Prolipsit and Borit passes would test our strength—almost 20 kilometers with an elevation gain of 1422 meters.
We decided to start our journey in the small town of Valbona, then hike counter-clockwise (anti-clockwise for my British friends) around the trail circuit ending in Theth.
This training culminated last week as we did a three-day test trek in the Zagoria Valley near Permet in Southern Albania
There were only about four cars on this Sunday-morning boat and a man leaned out of a window of one of them to ask if I need a lift. Oh, those friendly Scots!
I had time to take one hike on the Isle of Barra in the southern Hebrides and it was another of one of those occasions when I could not believe the place in which I had found myself.
In the summer, the West Highland Way is a virtual highway of trekkers. I might encounter as many as 100 people on a nice summer day. Today I would meet five other walkers. Of course, I had to be prepared for the cold, but dressing in several layers was the remedy.
I am lingering in the Douro River Valley here in Portugal. Sometimes, when I walk through the countryside, I feel like I am in a scene from Under the Tuscan Sun.
It is 177 miles from the south to north coasts of Wales. I had no delusions that I would do the entire walk, so I started reading about sections and decided to start in the middle of the path at the lovely village of Welshpool.
But then, the sheep came to a wide place in the road and as they spread out, the dog went to work. The farmer only occasionally had to give him direction; the dog zig-zagged behind the tractor making sure there were no slackers.
I spent the entire day walking through the exhibits showing the living quarters, spinning machinery, children’s living conditions, the non-profit company store, and today’s working spinning mill making the New Lanark Wool Yarn.
You find hentilagets where sheep have rubbed up against walls or fences, but the best pieces for spinning are on the ground. I found that most hentilagets are rubbish. They have been weathered too much and are slightly felted,
Wwe asked directions for the path that would take us down through the canyon to the Vilcanota River that runs through the Sacred Valley. It is a little-known walking trail and indeed, we did not encounter anyone, except on farmer and his dog…
I enjoyed visiting Centro Textil Llank’ay the most. The women were very welcoming and since we were the only customers, we had a nice visit with them. One talented young woman was knitting a very fine chullo (hat) and manipulating three colors of yarn which she ran around the back of her neck.