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A fellow pilgrim says hello!

A fellow pilgrim says hello!

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Jeanie and her sunflowers

Jeanie and her sunflowers

Another early departure found us walking through the morning dark, only deepened by the density of our wooded surroundings. We stopped for a quick bite to eat, and purchased some fresh bread from a market for later sandwiches.

Although Jeanie woke with a few overnight lows that were corrected via glucose tabs or skittles, she was still refreshed after the hours off her feet and off the trail. She had great energy going into the day but was also experiencing a high degree of upper back pain. We trusted with time our bodies would become more accustomed to the walking and the weight. We walked the dirt trail with renewed appreciation for downhill sections, increased shade, and the complete dissipation of yesterday’s wind. The day again brought stunning views of green rolling hills, quaint Spanish towns, and churches in the midst of sunflowers and rich local produce.

Early afternoon found us at our lunch point. We stopped in the small town of Zubiri, where we purchased fresh cheese and turkey meat for lunch. We took it down the hill to the river and shoes were quickly off, blisters checked, and food moving rapidly from hand to body. Perhaps not the most sanitary sequence of events, but on the trail you simply do what must be done.

And what needed to be done next was undeniably a mid-day river exploit. We walking in with contented sighs, toes slipping tediously over moss lined rocks. After a deeply rejuvenating stay, we moved on from Zubiri to reach our final destination of Larrasoaña.

We were getting close when Jeanie started going low. Her Dexcom alarm went off, warning that her glucose levels were heading south. She grabbed an apple to chomp while walking and was doing her best to push through. We crested a small uphill and it was clear things were getting a little more difficult. We decided a quick break would be best and she realized how far out of it she was feeling. She started in on fast acting carbs, some cliff blok chews accompanied by nuts and other food. Then she heard a river running. Curious she thought, as we shouldn’t be by a river any longer. The river she was hearing? Water running out of her water container laying on her lap.

Earlier in the day Jeanie had made the point that it was ok to take pictures of her when she is struggling because it is important for people to recognize what it looks like when someone goes low. With that in mind, I had pulled out the camera when we stopped and started snapping a few pictures. I happened to catch her listening-to-the-river moment, and if the picture below doesn’t say “low” then we don’t know what does. Please note that Jeanie was completely fine during this event, and the picture right after shows her laughing in reaction to what had taken place. That being said, the exhaustion and or confusion that hits when going low can be rapid. Because the Dexcom reading is not real time (there is about a five minute delay), she may have been lower than indicated by the time the alarm went off. Moments before she was walking along and eating an apple, perhaps not realizing how tired she was until it was suggested to stop.

Jeanie reaches for some water to accompany her fast acting carb snack

Jeanie reaches for some water to accompany her fast acting carb snack

Jeanie wondering where the river sounds are coming from, not realizing it is the water in her own bottle. Clearly, it had been a long day!

Jeanie wondering where the river sounds are coming from, not realizing it is the water in her own bottle. Clearly, it had been a long day!

A good laugh was in order when Jeanie realized what had happened, and saw the above picture

A good laugh was in order when Jeanie realized what had happened, and saw the above picture

Jeanie noted how this is just the type of situation where, when alone, she often pushes on–especially when so close to a final destination. While this is a tempting prospect, it is vital to listen to your body! Especially when you are asking that body to take on such a high level of physical exertion for over thirty days straight.

We soon reached Larrasoaña and after our last few nights of hostel living, we opted for a slight upgrade to functioning wifi and much improved room quality. And then of course straight to the market for pre-dinner ice cream. We made it through our 17 mile day and are feeling the happy tired that comes when you are called to a challenge and find your body and mind able to meet it. We have soaked in more beauty than we could have anticipated and we are excited for what lies ahead!

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