Gonzalez to Boente 37 km.
Robert MacFarlane along with Stanley Donwood and Dan Richards wrote a beautiful little book called Holloway. A holloway is “a sunken path, a deep & shady lane. A route that centuries of foot-fall, hoof-hit, wheel-roll, & rain-run have harrowed into the land.” They trace and illustrate a number of English Holloways and in the course uncover a deep, somewhat hidden history. Today was a day for winding footpaths. Not quite the very deep, tree-hidden landforms MacFarlane and company articulate, but without doubt, these paths have centuries of foot-fall & rain-run, and they are well below the grade of the field. Last night it rained hard, the only pleasant sound to come from an overcrowded Albergue with some serious snorers (along with people who simply don’t understand that slamming the bathroom door at 3:00 am or talking on the phone at 2:00 am is douchy). That rain did wash down the paths, perhaps deepening them a bit further, but the cloudy weather slowly grew bright, and though clouds drifted all day, it was a magnificent day to walk Galicia. The deep paths were usually lined by oaks, some old, twisted, and covered both with deep moss and heavy vines. The edges were a riot of wild flowers, mostly purple and white, though of course there was plenty of yellow from the gorse that crowded parts of the woods. Crossed white pine plantations again, but also eucalyptus, a crop favored by wealthy absentee landlords but bemoaned by farmers who have been caring for this soil for millennia.
Apart from some magnificent ancient churches, the main architectural features were the many hórreo–rectangular stone, brick, and wood grain storage structures set on stone piers about three feet above the ground. Very distinctive. Pushed a bit near the end of the day. Tomorrow will be another long one, then a short hop into Santiago for the finish line.
T. Hugh Crawford