Camino Stage 12: San Juan de Ortega to Burgos 25km.


The weather forecast was for rain in the morning till around 9am, then clearing till 2pm, when more rain and possible thunderstorms were expected. But it wasn’t raining at 8am and I set out hoping to make it to Burgos before the afternoon rain was forecast. This was a mistake.

For a start it was a four layer day. It was still really cold with a strong wind, and San Juan was at 1000m and the climb to the pass was above the tree line 100m higher. I had everything on and covered by my bright red golfing rain gear, beanie and gloves.

For the first hour or so I didn’t see another person as I headed for the first village, Agés, through the forest. I started to wonder if I was the only fool doing this and had I heard that they were reintroducing wolves to the European forests.

The rain started in earnest as I got close to Agés, and I stopped first (only?) cafe for a hot chocolate, only to find five other fools – three of whom I already knew. All the conversation was about buses and taxis, and indeed I saw taxis loaded with peregrinos a short time later. But I decided to go over the pass and then decide on the way down closer to Burgos.

This became a hard day. Below shows how rocky the top of the pass was, and it was continued rain. Where it wasn’t rocky, my boots were sliding in the mud. It wouldn’t have really all that hard in normal circumstances. The elements made it hard.


Once over the top you were really exposed to the wind and rain. By this time I was pretty soaked and cold. My gloves were sodden but it was better to keep them on than to try hold my poles with fingers exposed. Above the tree line on the way down it was just lichen, rocks, hardy wildflowers, and a crucifix on the crest. I took the shot below by turning my back to the wind, getting out my phone, taking one glove off, setting the camera and spinning round.

It rained the whole 25km to Burgos, all in all a hard day and I was exhausted and wet through by the time I reached Burgos and its magnificent cathedral at 3pm. But satisfied in one way. I had always wondered if I could walk when it was raining. After all, on such a long trek you have to expect some. And a hot shower and a nap soon fixed me up.


I am writing this on a rest day in Burgos. I leave for the start of the second part of the Camino, the high Meseta,  tomorrow and the forecast is clear for the rest of the week.

So ended my first two weeks on the Camino and this day took me over the 300km mark



4 responses to “Camino Stage 12: San Juan de Ortega to Burgos 25km.

  1. Wow ! Congratulations Jeff ! Half way! What a fabulous avhievement ! Its all down-hill from burgos. Cris & david

    Sent from my iPhone



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