Gernika-Lomo

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That’s right, more than 1000 hours effective walking time! If you work a 35 hour week, that’s almost 7 moths of work….
The walk from Meaga to Deba was probably the hardest day so far. It wasn’t very long but by the end of the day, I was absolutely nackered. It started nice and easy, but before long I was pushing the Mule up long steep hills and then trying to hold it back on the decents. It was during one of these hills (up naturally) that I passed 1000 hours effective walking time. Its hard to comprehend how long that is. It is a long time!
I was also passed by a couple who warned me that it would be crazy to try the last section before Deba with the cart, it was much to narrow and steep. I thanked them for the information and made plans to follow the road into Deba instead of the Camino.

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Not much farther along I found some local cider for sale along the path and decided to celebrate by buying a bottle. It was only 1.50, so I tossed 2 in the payment box, uncorked and took a long swig. Which I promptly spat out! It was terrible, a strong yeast taste and no other flavours. I put it back and kept walking.
Towards the afternoon, I started looking for somewhere to camp and found some signs to a campground on a headland above Deba. But when I got there it was closed for the season.
After consulting Google maps, I thoght I could try a path down the side of the hill that connected with an access road that would eventually lead to Deba without me having to double back. It was a concrete path and looked promising.
I started down and before long I was sliding along behind the Mule with no traction. Basically skating along on my boots as the Mule pulled me down. There were only a few short sections that were that steep but I remember thinking that I was glad I wasn’t heading up instead…

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Then I came to the end of the road…
A rockslide had destroyed about 20 meters of the track. I scrambled over and could see that the track continued on the other side. I slashed my way through all the blackberry bushes and decided to carry the Mule and my stuff over the obstacle bit by bit. That is one of the reasons the Mule was made to be able to take apart and fold up. Said and done. 30 hot minutes later most of my stuff was on the other side when I realized that I should check that it really was possible to continue along the track before I carried the last bit of stuff over.
Turned out that the track became a dense thicket of blackberry bushes just a little bit ahead and there was no way through….
I hate blackberry bushes, I think they are responsible for about 90% of the punctures I have suffered and they don’t even taste that good. Bland…
I carried everything back and set off back up the track. Just before the steepest section there was a track that lead back down, I suspected it was the Camino, the one that I had been warned about. I now had a choice, backtrack up the steep section, then back along the road I had come, or try my luck on the “way”.
Not beeing the type of person who likes to backtrack, I went for the Camino, I mean how bad could it be?
Oh, so stupid…..
An hour later found me halfway down a steep, singletrack switchback that had me more or less carrying the Mule most of the time. There was no way in the world that I would be able to turn back, it would be to hard, so I kept going. About this time a couple swept past me. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t even say hi, let alone check how I was doing.

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Thankfully a real hero came along shortly afterwards. He helped me down the last bit and someway up the other side before we realized that we were going the wrong way.
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Back down and I finally found the access road I was looking for. I don’t know his name but can’t thank him enough. Thanks again!
Then it was easy going, comparatively. At one stage I was lying on my back on the road, panting as hard as I ever have in my life. And I was only half way up the hill…
Eventually made it and started down the winding coast road to Deba. There were beautiful lookouts along the way and at one of then I met a couple from France that asked me to write in their logbook, something they reserve for “interesting” people.

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Finally made it to Deba and had a rest day, I deserved it!
Since then it’s been up and down with beatiful scenery. Have tried to follow the Camino where I can, but have had to use the roads where the “way” has been too rough for the Mule.

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I don’t have far to go before I reach Bilbao, just two very easy days. Then it’s back to Stockholm to attend my nieces’ wedding. It will be a nice break and hopefully give my foot time to heal a bit better, can’t say that it has gotten much rest duringย  the last week.
Will also try to do some hard thinking about the continued route and maybe look at some ways of putting the Mule (really my equipment) on a diet, I mean, why should I be the only one loosing weight!
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