Day 4: Uterga



We walked 11.7 miles from Zuribi to Uterga



My alarm went off at 5:30am. My mom and I promised a girl working at our hostel we would go to running of the bulls with her. I was so bitter to be woken up after a predictably horrible night of sleep, but am so thankful Molly got my bum out of bed. We put our red handkerchiefs around our necks and joined thousands of others in downtown Pamplona to save a spot to watch the infamous event. Every morning for the nine days of the festival, six bulls are released into a 800meter double-fenced stretch where civilians can risk their lives to race with the bulls and avoid getting jabbed or trampled. It's shocking this event is legal and I have my reservations about its treatment of animals, but wow it was thrilling to watch. Literally anyone can jump over the fence and run with/away from the bulls. The day-partying begins once the bulls run, but mama and I had miles to hike, so we trekked on.


After sleeping in bunk beds with noisy partiers or snorers, we were desperate for a good night sleep. Exhausted, we ended our day in Urtega, where there was only one hostel. The private rooms were all booked. We were so sad. The woman took pity on us and allowed us to sleep in a room on the top floor with two beds. It reminded me of Harry Potter's staircase bedroom with low slanted ceilings, but we were just so happy to be sleeping away from snoring people. Dinner in Urtega was fabulous. We sat with an awesome bunch of people who we had met and walked with along the way from all over the world. We ate a ridiculous amount and drank a few bottles of wine and slept mostly soundly (we're still nervous about bed bugs and wake up to every slight itch- so far, no more bites have been discovered since that first night).



We were so tired. Everything seemed so difficult because my body was so desperate for sleep. I went to a new level of weirdness in the last few miles of walking and I think my mom questioned if I was really her daughter. Fortunately, there were not any further bummers other than our worsening bed bug bites from that stupid hostel two nights before.

A Trace of Grace

Notes from a trekking mama

Wind, so much power! As we approached the peak of our climb over the mountain, I stood in awe of the 100s, probably thousands of wind turbines, that lined the top of the hills, blowing down power for the city of Pamplona, but also giving a little power to me to push up and over the mountain.

Snack break halfway up the mountain  

Snack break halfway up the mountain