I John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Day 29 — 17.08 Miles — Foncebadon to Ponferrada, May 26. We finally reached Cruz de Ferro today at approximately 8:00 am. We continued to climb after leaving Foncebadon in the morning. The air was cool when we started but started to warm quickly. The unimposing cross appeared in the distance at a curve in the trail. I have been waiting for this day since 2011. The cross is surrounded by a mound of rocks placed at its base by an untold number of pilgrims. The metal cross is mounted on what looks like an untreated telephone poll. The cross is believed to have been erected in the 11th century. The Camino tradition is to bring a rock or other memento from home and place it at the base of the cross. The items from home may have a letter, words or message to a loved one on them. The item could represent a journey in one’s life.
As it was only 8:00 am when we arrived, there were few people at the base. Backpacks were removed and placed along a fence. The mood was quiet and respectful as each person walked up to the base of the cross alone. It was a difficult walk up to the cross and an emotional walk down. No one stayed long at the top of the rock pile. I left a small rock from Idaho. Tyee Mountain 7-17-11 and a name were written on the rock. Cross # 35 was left with the rock. Tears were quietly running down my cheeks as I walked away from the cross. Ron left a rosary with a laminated picture. His eyes were moist at the base also.
In addition to our personal items left at the base, a small hand made wooden cross was placed at the base also. The cross and many others like it was made by a man from Illinois. He was a friend of Pastor M from my church.
We put our back packs on and continued to walk. We were quiet for some time as we each thought about the cross and what we had left at its base. The walk continued through the Leon Mountains. Along the walk, we found Yukiko eating lunch while sitting on a rock. We had not seen her for about two weeks. The climb took us to 4,983 feet on rocky paths. Going down from that height was on a rocky uneven path again. By the time the next town appeared, we had walked nine miles.
Before the walk was finished today, cross #36 was left on a memorial for Michael Cura. The inscription was reflective of a pilgrim walking the Camino. “The boat is safer anchored at the port but that’s not the aim of boats.”
We head to Villafranca del Bierzo tomorrow. Buen Camino. Sharon and Ron