Day 14: Camino del Norte

Mileage: 21.4
Total distance: 272.2

I had my alarm set for 5:45 this morning in hopes to wake up and knock out some miles before the rain in the afternoon, but hit snooze until 6:30. I finally got up and went to claim my free breakfast and coffee, but when I stood up I realized that the pain in my shins was still there and my heart sank. I tried to pretend it was just muscle cramps and that a few minutes of walking around would warm them up enough to not bother me. 

After breakfast I grabbed my things and headed down the trail/road to begin a grueling ten kilometer road walk, but only made it a kilometer before I realized my shins were a few more steps away from shin splints. I had to take another day off. I didn’t want to sit in this town again so I thought I’d hitch into Gijon and take a few days to heal before I started up again, but after an hour of trying I decided to try the bus back in town. 

I felt so incredibly defeated as I walked back. I thought of every possible thing I could do instead of skip sections of this trail, but nothing seemed feasible. I made it to a cafe to wait until a shoe store opened and had a cup of espresso. As I sat I felt more and more sure of the fact that I didn’t want to miss an inch of the Camino. So I made a big decision and entrusted myself to the wind. 

At 11 this surf shop opened up and I walked in to look at longboards. I found one I liked a lot and bought me a damn longboard. And I was off. 

I figured I probably romanticized what it would be like riding a longboard the rest of the way. I would have to walk trails still and carry it and walk up hill and carry it and in the rain have to carry it. I figured I would dabble with regret to an extent, but I was wrong. I had so much fun today riding that board. On steep hills I would sit down and use my feet to steer and cruise for thousands of feet without breaking a sweat. In 5 hours I finished twenty miles and still walked more than half of that because of dirt trails and sandy beach walks. 

At one point today I was sitting on the board rolling downhill and busted out laughing because I recognized I had a huge smile on my face like a dork. So there I am rolling downhill and laughing and I pass two women and they start laughing and salute me as I roll by. Things are feeling good. I want to have fun these last few days on this trail and now having shin splints I knew that it would be hard to do that while healing. So I’m going to ride it out instead. 

I did have a few moments of lowness today. A huge thunderstorm rolled in around three and wind dominated my body blowing me all over the place. I’ve never been in wind that powerful before. It was throwing shit in my face and all sorts of sticks were flying off trees and nailing me. I had to stop when my eyes got too much sand in them and I couldn’t keep them open. All this time I’m holding my longboard. I started singing when the rain got intense and started to worry me a little. I just started singing anything that came into my mind and made up melodies, but remembered songs I used to sing on the AT and felt really comfortable in that situation singing those songs again and remembering that trail and all it did for me in my life. 

The rain eventually wore off and the sun came back out. I stayed unplugged today and kept my ears free of music and podcasts and now feel incredibly grounded and centered. It’s crazy how much music can either bring me clarity or cloud my mind and so far I’ve let it sort of distract me and keep me moving, but I really enjoyed focusing on thoughts today and working through ideas and fears as I hiked/rode. 

I am so thankful for this trail and the experience it has allowed me to have. I have been completely humbled by something I thought was going to be a cake walk. My goal is to continue processing and growing into a more life giving and healthy individual for people I love and now heal my body before I head out into the back country for a month and a half. So now I got two legs and four wheels to carry me to the end. Onward and upward! 

If you want to see some videos of me riding, you can see them on my Instagram feed. 

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