Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 187 Volcanos, lovely

How quickly the terrain changes with a bit of elevation difference.  Within days of walking, gone the lush jungles, arrive the clearcut pastures with picturesque Jersey cows grazing on broad verdant slopes.  It looks like Wisconsin.  Days more of walking and the scenery changes to tall picture-perfect volcanic cones dripping with waterfalls, cascades, and cataracts.  Active, too, emiting gases and glowing at night.  These have largely remained hidden in the puffy white clouds, yet from time to time, the bitten-off peaks appear.  The swirling clouds that shroud can be playful boas encircling the throats and shoulders of the mountains as I walk by.  I spent a day walking through rather fresh cinder, in areas plowed through as deep as a house.  Dusty grey powder and nothing but a fashion faux-pas to wear black pants as I do, freshly laundered, too.

The short daily distances I've got mapped out to reach the Santuario de Lajas exactly on the day before Easter have gotten to me - what do I do with the rest of the day?  Because it's not my comfortable pace, I gave myself a day off in the cute mountain village of Penipe where Franciscan nuns runs a shelter for evacuees from the local volcano, Tungurahua.  Despite the nightly glow, there are no evacuees at the moment, so I had the place to myself and three nuns attended me with diligence.  One of the nuns, a sweet babbler named Salvadora, insisted that I stay a week, and I compromised by staying two nights.  From a local indigenous group, she holds many secrets of the herbal world in her head and produced a tasty and effective infusion of several herbs to cure all complaints of the stomach: chamomile, lemon verbena, lemon balm, dandilion leaves, and corn silk, snipped fresh from the ear.  With the day of rest, I can now resume my comfortable pace of a marathon a day.

Funny thing, a good number of people have been offering me chocolate Easter eggs for the road =)


Sheila Phelan Wright said...

such beautiful prose. I'll have to post on my blog. Glad the sisters are treating you well, but not surprised. Glad the herbal mixture worked for you and your stomach.
Must be a strain to walk slowly and shorter distances and still be running circles around the likes of your friends at home. Keep up the safe journey. Enjoy the chocolate bunnies - just a touch of Americana and the west.

John Zorn said...

I like your way of walking but I could never keep up your kilometrage. I certainly dont mean more is better, but tho' I'm not much older than you, I suffered with a 35 kms day into Segovia on the Camino de Madrid.

I started long walks in '91 when the Camino de Santiago had so few on it. Now it is a circus.

But there are many caminos in Spain which we walk -and out of it- and yours are top class.

Keep on walking...

Anonymous said...

Please publish something. Your writing is getting to the point that it just might be considered selfish to keep it to yourself. Not very Christian of you! Warm California lovin coming your way. And happy Persian New Year. Be safe.