14.8.08

Chafo 3 - Madness Begets Madness


They say Madness begets Madness.
This morning I arose at the comely hour of 3.30am and began walking the El Guapo well before Dawn even had the chance to whip off her jumbo undies and get her crack out. This trek was beginning to get to me, because I thought nothing of this strange behaviour at the time. Energetically I felt an inkling that today would yield a better walk – my legs were well stretched, the chafing almost completely gone and my body reasonably rested. Everything seemed to be in order. But as I began to walk further and further away from the deserted Puerte La Reina laneways and amber town lights, I moseyed further and further into darkness. It hit me that it was still a good couple of hours before the sun was going to come up. My organisational bankruptcy had once again tucked its teeth into the core of my arse – If I didn’t pack a sleeping bag then there was buckley’s chance that I’d had the foresight to pack a working torch. Light began to fade, darkness seeped in, and before I knew it I was trundling through pitch black fields with only the silhouettes of the distant hills and trees to give me any credible bearings whatsoever.

It’s funny what your mind does to itself when it’s alone in a strange foreign land, in the middle of pitch darkness in a nondescript forest. The music from my Ipod did its’ best to quell a brooding wave of fear and isolation climbing up within me, slowly gripping its way around my imagination and rationalism. I began to shit myself. Jesus. What if I got lost? What if I couldn’t see the Camino signs and ended up walking the wrong goddam trail in the middle of the desert, or down the murky pits of a Spanish cliff? Then suddenly, something startled my vision from the far reaches in the depths of the adjacent field. Strange lights. Flashing. Two of them, close together. Spine tingles rose within me. Fear gripped my heart and choked it like a deranged strangler. It poisioned my brain with outrageous thoughts. At that exact moment, all alone in the middle of a Spanish forest, I swore to St James that I was about to be preyed upon, abducted and probed by belligerent aliens from another dimension…waiting with baited martian breath for a torchless pilgrim to provide an easy target for an inter-species probing.
If it wasn’t bunionitis and red raw chafing it was fucking aliens.

Again, I pulled my logical mindset together. I breathe in deeply. ‘There are no aliens, fool’. There will be no probing. I regrouped. My mind at ease. It felt good. Positive. Back on track. And then I plunged my runner into a three foot puddle of brown water. Understandably, this really pissed me off and with temper now overriding fear, I was in the right mind to smash something in the face. With a saturated foot my spirits fell again…until another glimmer of hope - a distant thought from left field. God It would be amazing if it were true! After five minutes of blind rummaging, buried within my toothpaste stained toiletry manbag was a tiny four year old torch the size of a double A battery, planted and sitting idle for years on hand to rescue me from a future scenario of interstellar sex crime and incidental cliff diving. I was delivered from all evil. The potency of light emanating from this sorry torch was akin to an Ikea desklamp at the MCG, but it provided just enough to allow me to put one foot in front of the other and avoid any further foot saturation. The day just got better, and dawn and her crack were still nowhere to be seen.

With five solid hours of walking behind me, I’d reached the same distance as yesterday, only this morning I completed it by 9am. And the legs, well, they felt pretty good. Sore, splinty, but solid. Maybe they were getting used to this onslaught. Pleased with efforts I decided I’d treat my body to some more walking. In the town ‘Estella’ a number of locals appeared to be suiting up in customary bull running attire, for what I wasn’t sure. Sure enough, some time later a race commenced…mad bolting through the streets! Fury and fear in the whites of their eyes! And behind the hoard of brave, red and white adorned men, stomping furiously around the corner, there came burning into town a hoard….of COWS!. Forget a bullhorn to the clacker – nothing strikes more fear into the heart of a man than a swift udder to the face. Estella’s ambling of the cows leaves Pamplona’s weak lumbering event looking like a walk in the Spanish park.

Trundling by a nearby winery, I was touched by the thoughtfulness of a drinking fountain which provided one tap for water, and another tap for fresh red wine. Someone wino had drained it early, so I was bereft of free piss on this day. But this was the least of my worries. The sun began to seriously burn. I’d been walking for hours and my body clock was shot. It should be dinner time but it was only noon. Plus, after walking up a steep incline, I must have lost at least a litre and a half of my bodily fluid drooling behind the fence of a deluxe holiday park which contained the most bright blue watered swimming pool I’d ever seen. Looking back it could well have been a mirage.

A few more k down the track I bumped into a group of folks – Charlie the Perthian, Jonas the Saffir, Christy from San Diego and Alex from Brighton. They were a good mob and I offered my services to complete their team of five. Finding it instantly easier to keep up with a group pace, I burned deep thigh up the next hill and breathed an epic sigh of relief at the sight of the Albergue at the top. An incredible vista greeted our efforts and we crashed in spectacular style. Another day down, another 34k for the ailing joints. A night on this piss, good food and good wine. Plus the nice change of good conversation with some excellent people. After a potentially perilous commencement, this day turned out alright…
Would the good times last? Could I slay my El Guapo and send him on his ass?
Chafo: The Epic…continues with part 4…
Don’t you go changing’

1 comment:

Lucas said...

Hey Cam, the glass tube of death is dead to me now, I somehow feel you will be pleased to hear. Also, I think rather than setting off on any 800km walks myself, I will continue to live vicariously through your blog. Much easier and less chafing...at least I hope.