Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day 52: The Case of the Missing Trekking Pole

Dscn3944bOctober 2: Early in the next morning, I filled up the last slot in my credential at a church in Linares. It’s the same credential I’d been using since I purchased it at the church in Le Puy, and it was a bittersweet moment for. It represented so many adventures, but it also represented that my trip was nearing an end. Each day seemed to bring a new reminder that the end was getting near, and for the first time of my long-distance hiking career, I didn’t really want it to end soon. Yesterday I passed into Galicia. The day before that I passed the Cruz de Ferro. And today I filled up my credential and would have to start a new one. With less than a week until I expected to reach Santiago, the new credential would look pretty empty when I finished.

At the next church along the trail, they had another stamp and I stood in a small line of pilgrims to get it stamped. The woman doing the stamping added my name to a list she was keeping, then wrote “O’cebreiro” next to it. I assumed she was keeping track of where everyone started from, and since my credential was completely empty, she assumed I had just started hiking that morning which I found kind of insulting. “Hey!” I wanted to shout, “I hiked over a thousand miles from Le Puy to get here—there’s probably not a single person in this room who’s walked further than I have!”

But I didn’t say anything. It really didn’t matter, and I knew that.

The views coming down from O’cebreiro were spectacular, but clouds had moved in overnight giving the morning an overcast look and a chill in the air. Later in the afternoon, the clouds dropped and turned into a misty kind of fog, but the rain held off until after I arrived in Triacastela for the night.

Triacastela is named for three castles in historic times, none of which survive today. I stopped in at a grocery store to do my shopping, leaving my pack and trekking pole by the door at the entrance as I did my shopping. The store was small enough that I could keep an eye on it while I did my shopping, and nobody else was in the store at the time anyhow to even try to steal my pack.

Afterwards, I checked into an adjacent hostel. I spent a few hours there, on the computer catching up with email and posting blog entries, as other pilgrims arrived—none of whom seemed to speak much English. What happened to all the English-speaking pilgrims on the trail? This hostel, at least, had a lot of French, Italian, and Spanish being swapped about.

Dscn3950bAnd, at some point, I realized that I was missing my trekking pole. It wasn’t with the rest of my stuff. I looked under the bed thinking maybe it rolled under, but no, it wasn’t there. I looked in the lobby, thinking maybe I put it down and forgot about it when I checked in, but no, it wasn’t there either. But if I *had* left it there, someone might have already moved it.

Think, Ryan! Think! Where is the last place you remember seeing it?

Ah, the grocery store! I set it down by the front entrance when I did my shopping! Did I pick it up when I left, though? I couldn’t remember…. Maybe… Maybe not….

I put on my Waldies and walked over there in a light sprinkle, and there was my trekking pole, right where I left it several hours earlier. I was glad nobody had moved it!

I returned back to the hostel for the rest of the evening and watched it rain through the windows. It was good to be indoors. =)

Clouds all morning meant that I never really did see the sun.

A statue of a pilgrim battling though the wind.


Pilgrims take a break at this alburgue/bar.

Clouds seem to be dropping onto us.


As we descended further and got away from the taller mountains,
the clouds didn’t seem to be so thick.
The trail into Tricastela.

Pilgrims at a small restaurant on the edge of Triacastela.

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