Belorado to San Juan de Ortega (Camino de Santiago)

The moon was in its new phase so the early morning departure through the dark streets of Belorado was challenging. It took a few confused moments as we scoured the sidewalks, street signs and buildings for yellow arrows or shells that marked the Camino. We eventually arrived at the main track of the Way and entered the countryside once again. After hours of hiking past several villages, we found an open café for coffee and a pastry, something for an empty stomach. The trail then climbed steady into an oak forest with distant views of snow covered peaks and hillsides of wind generators that rose above the fog that lay thick in the valley. Once on the ridge the trail climbed up and over, then down, then up again over three small high points before the long descent and the end of the days walk. The ridge was never ending and my feet were tired but it was a beautiful day and my energy was good. I took a short rest at a tall wooden cross at the top on one of the high points (Cruz de Madera) and another at the monument to Los Caidos (the fallen of the Spanish Civil War of 1936). We arrived at the small basic alberque in San Juan de Ortega (population 20) after fifteen miles of walking. Journal: “Inside the church at Juan de Orgega I sat down and took some time alone, to think and regroup. It was pleasant sitting in the coolness of the stone interior. I am requiring more alone time away from my hiking companions. During the days I pull ahead and center into myself. It is getting easier; the walking and the thinking.”