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Day 22:  No meandering for me today

Tricks I’ve learned to avoid stopping (Candace)

Cudillero to Cadavedo

Distance: 20.7 miles (33.3 kilometers)

Total Ascent:  340 meters

Difficulty:  3

Calories Burned: 4,088   

I’ve been wanting to see what it’s like to start my day before dawn, and today was the day.  I packed my backpack last night, and told Andrew that I’d be waking up early.  He wasn’t quite so eager, so I decided to hike on my own.  And at 5:15, without need for my alarm, I was up and ready to go!

My friend, Lisa (Germany), told me that she started most of her days on her last Camino between 5 and 6 am.  She told me how calming it was to be the only person on the path, how beautiful to see the sun rise, and how it felt as if the hours hiked before sunrise didn’t count towards her day.  (After hiking nearly 19 miles yesterday, it seemed a brilliant idea to negate a few miles.)

When I started hiking, it was pitch black outside.  We had stayed in a hotel near a harbor, so I could hear the waves and the wind blowing through the eucalyptus trees, but I couldn’t see a thing.  It was fabulous.

I closed my eyes to set my intention for today (to live a day of service), and when I opened them, I was standing directly across the street from a small chapel, lit up from the inside.  This is something I would have never noticed if I had passed it during daylight, and I knew that I was meant to see it. 

But today wasn’t an easy day.  I hiked 20+ miles, completely on my own.  Not only was Andrew two hours behind me, but I didn’t see another pilgrim for the entire day.  And at first, that was quite liberating. 

But then it began to rain.  So I took off my pack, extracted my rain gear, pulled the rain cover over my bag, and set off again (this is something that Andrew and I have previously done as a team).  When the rain stopped and started over and over throughout the day, I decided that I wasn’t going to stop again.  I took off my rain gear and put in back into my pack, but learned a way to do it without stopping (this required a tank top to be fastened to my zipper to use for leverage).  As the rain persisted throughout the day, I perfected my rain gear dance. 

And then I took it a step further.  I ordered my food in my pack so that my breakfast fruit was on top, followed by my lunch meats.  So today, I didn’t even have to stop to eat. I have become a hiking machine!

I am proud to say that I hiked an entire 20 miles today without stopping more than once.

I am also proud to have woken up early. And I was pleasantly refreshed by the time I hit the half way mark.  It was only 10am, after all.

But with all of the rain and up-hills and down-hills today, my energy fled quickly, and I stumbled into our destination point on fumes and missing Andrew (although he did arrive 30 minutes later).  I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to test the dawn patrol, but I would much prefer having my partner in crime with me the next time I take on the endeavor.  And now I get to show him my new tricks!

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