Walking Home

reveries of an amateur long-distance hiker

May 18

May 18th, 2016

May 18


After a week of living the life of a tourist–Santiago to A Coruna to Muxia–I once again strapped on my backpack–now solo–and resumed my trek around the world. Today it was from one “end of the world” to the next. 30 km from Muxia to Finisterre, the longstanding end of the ancient Camino, a trip not to St. James, but to the edge of the earth. My legs were clearly fresh as I walked the full 30km non-stop. Not that I was planning to do that, it is just that now, being off the Camino proper, villages with cafes are scarce. I would have been happy to eat a bocadillo and drink a pint at the midpoint, but no opportunity presented. Instead I was treated with a beautiful walk up and down a series of ridges, regularly glimpsing the ocean to the west, but more often surrounded by stalks of just-blooming foxglove and purple/blue columbine. My feet were light and the trail well-made. I encountered many peregrinos making their way from Finisterre to Muxia (the more traditional route), and encountered a few going my direction, but surprisingly, I had much of the trail to myself, a great opportunity for much needed quiet contemplation. Everyone has to hike the Camino they can–starting where they are able, marshaling the support they might need or at least can afford–but the last 100 km from the east heading into Santiago are a zoo. It is not trekking, just dodging people as if you are at an urban street festival. It is a shame that people who make that trek never get a sense of the beauty and pace of the long Camino. Today, I got a memory of that beauty and pace, making the descent into Finisterre (a place jammed with peregrinos) much more pleasant. The sun held long enough to sit for an hour or so in the square in order to write this.

T. Hugh Crawford