Day 7 – To Puente de la Reina

Pamplona to Puente de la Reina – 24Km, 34,053 steps

Today I said goodbye to Pamplona and headed for the Alto de Perdon pass outside of town, with its many wind turbines. I left town as the sun came up at 7:35 and joined a river of pilgrims going out of town.

Here’s the elevation and distance I covered today

Pamplona has excellent signage marking the route of the Camino through town, which made it easy to navigate, even at dawn. It was Sunday, so there was zero traffic and few other pedestrians, which made it very pleasant.

These marker discs went all the way out to the edge of town
A Camino sign next to a Stop Light was also kind of novel

Basically, the day was broken into the first half, climbing up to the ridge with all the wind turbines, and the second half, descending from that ridge into rolling farm fields.

Zoom the image to see my destination: the wind turbines on the ridge

After a few hours of walking, including a dog attack, I turned back to see hot air balloons rising over the city:

Dawn is always popular for hot air balloon rides

Dog Attack!? Say what? Well, there I was, walking along, minding my own business, in a park-like area and a young fellow appeared off to my right. He might have been a pilgrim or perhaps was a homeless person with a backpack and tent. And a German Shepherd, not on a leash. The dog didn’t like my looks and charged me. I stood still and the dog’s snarling mouth came within a few inches of my hands and legs. The guy dragged the dog away eventually but I was pretty pissed off. If I’d been bitten, what were the chances the mangy beast had his shots? Or they guy would have helped me? It was an annoying way to start the day.

On that subject, I grew up with a dog, and like dogs generally, but it seems that dog owners have gotten less and less responsible as time has marched on. Leash laws are there to be ignored, apparently. And I have seen at least half a dozen dogs so far, walking the Camino with their owners. From little tiny lap dogs to a St. Bernard. This is a hard hike for humans; I just can’t think it’s much fun for the dogs.

Pine forests have given way to rolling farm fields
… including acres of dried up sunflowers, waiting for seed harvesting…
… with an occasional bower for pilgrims to pass through

Four hours passed and the wind turbines on the hill became larger and larger. So close, and yet still so far away.

A lot of “uphill” yet to come

I finally reached the top and took a well-deserved half hour break. There was a pretty good breeze up there, which was nice. I did my daily sock change drill, putting on a fresh pair and hanging the others on my pack to dry.

It was nice, cloudy, cool day

Everyone wants to have their photo taken with the famous ridgetop pilgrim artwork, even me.

And, of course, what goes up must come down, so there is a nasty descent over really rocky terrain for quite a while. The view, though, was spectacular.

Not a nice surface to walk on!

My path took me though several small towns and farming communities. You can always tell you’re in farm country when those massive hay bale stacks appear.

It’s impressive when the bales are bigger than the barn
And I saw my first olive trees and grape vines under cultivation

I’m looking forward to dinner tonight and to pressing on to Lorca tomorrow, in what will seem like a relaxing short walk of only 14 kms.

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