12:31pm – Uterga
Mateo and I stop at this cozy but super hip albergue after Monte Perdon [Sierra del Perdon], an absolutely deathly up-hill climb. Misty and foggy; Seatle-like, how the mountain holds in the rain on the Pamplona side. At the top is a man selling juices, coffee and treats. This was prophesied by this delightful elderly lady coming down the mountain as we were ascending. She could tell I was struggling and an English speaker, and said that we weren’t far from the top and that our salvation would be found in a treat-selling van. I’m almost positive that this woman was not real, but an gentlest angel of the Lord’s army of hosts.
This treat-selling man was just as unreal. From Idaho, though I am doubtful that he was from there originally due to a heavy European accent. He drive his little van up to Alto del Perdon to sell coffee, brewed via Bunsen burner, juice boxes, and bocadillos de tortilla española to those who make it up to the summit there. He is saving up/raising money for a 2010 trip to Mount Everest. He’s going with two guys from Montana. He’s hiked Mount McKinnley twice, the Appalachian Train once, and he met his wife on the Camino (she gives massages and foot treatment in a small town at the base of Monte Perdon). He’s short and stocky, like me; his legs are absolute tree-trunks. We wished him luck in the coming year and thanked him for the juice and treats.
We have grown in our number of friends. At first it was just the two of us. The two gals (lesbians) from Austria, but today we took on Timo, a Finnish gentleman on the descent down from Perdon. I believe we hurt his feelings by not sitting and resting with him in the shade at Perdon’s base, but we want to rest in Uterga. We’d like to make Puente La Reina today, which is 7.6km away.