Although, I had only known my walking companions for a day, it felt much longer. Since we had met on the seaside trail above San Sebastián, we shared our own little adventure which included a few good laughs on and off the Camino del Norte. This day was enjoyable as we walked, had lunch in Orio, and experienced the first views of Zarautz together. I was glad to have the company of the ladies but I knew that if I wanted to complete the Camino del Norte in a reasonable time, I had to continue walking past the early afternoon.

I left my last post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Orio to Zarautz, just after I said goodbye to the ladies who were off to the beach for a relaxing afternoon and evening. Now, let’s continue along the Camino to the Franciscan monastery, Convento de San Juan Bautista, which was founded by Zarautz native Don Juan de Manzisidor in the early 17th century. The Convento which houses a church, a convent, and a school, was renovated extensively over a period starting in 1959.

Franciscan monastery Zarautz Camino del Norte Spain A Walk in Zarautz, Spain – On and Off the Camino Del Norte

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There’s a reason I don’t usually stop for lunch and drinks while walking the Camino de Santiago and this day was a good example. Sure I enjoyed myself but after spending an hour at the café with my walking companions, eating and sipping Spanish beer, I stood up, and didn’t feel like walking at all. Actually, I felt like taking a nap. My goal for the day was not nearby Zarautz, but Deba, over 25 kilometers away, and I had to get myself motivated and moving.

I left my last post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Munioetazar to Orio, facing the Río Orio and its port area. The river has its headwaters in the foothills of Sierra de Aizkorri and travels about 78 kilometers where it empties into the Bay of Biscay near this spot. It was badly polluted through the years but reportedly, is slowly recovering.

Orio rio Camino del Norte Spain Basque On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Orio to Zarautz

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I learned something on my first two days on the Camino del Norte that would be a common theme for most of my days  — once you descend to sea level, there is usually a climb right ahead. So I had just completed over a 350 meter climb from San Sebastián to the farming community of Munioetazar and began my descent to the town of Orio. This day was also typical of most by the sea for each climb had a series of descents where you made up the lost elevation. Each descent usually had climbs soon followed by a loss of that elevation and more. It was no wonder that I was exhausted by the end of each day!

I found my walking companions on a patio of a café in one of the small communities before Munioetazar, and after a short break of my own, we were on our way. I left my last post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, San Sebastián to Munioetazar, overlooking this beautiful scene with the Basque farmhouse and the Bay of Biscay. A nearby sign stated that we have nine kilometers to Orio. Let’s continue…

Basque house Sea Munioetazar Camino Del Norte Spain On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Munioetazar to Orio Continue Reading…

Every once in a while, I feel the need to do something out of my comfort range. While for some, staying overnight on top of a mountain without a tent or sleeping bag is no big deal, for me, it was something I had experienced only one other time in my life. That was an unplanned, and rather uncomfortable incident, but I survived. However, this time, I was prepared and ready for an amazing night on Panorama Ridge.

I sat on the large rock overlooking Garibaldi Lake well into the morning. I had a group of four campers bundled in their sleeping bags nearby so I no longer felt nervous that I’d be disturbed in the middle of the night by a hiking Grizzly Bear, a giant flesh-eating Marmot, or aliens from a planet without beautiful mountains. I observed the peaceful night until tiredness and a chill set in. Although I thought I had been prepared, the cool breeze persisted through the night and reminded me that I was one layer short of clothing.

I left my last post Under A Supermoon, Garibaldi Park at Sunset, after an unforgettable sunset in Garibaldi Provincial Park, between Squamish and Whistler, Canada. I was excited as the full moon rose over the ridge between Mount Carr and The Sphinx.

full moon Garibaldi Park Panorama Ridge Under A Supermoon, Garibaldi Park at Sunrise

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An early start! That is my advice for those walking the Camino del Norte from San Sebastián during the busy summer. As opposed to the Camino Francés, the albergues are not as frequent or often don’t have many beds. If you enjoy walking into the evening, like I do, you just may find yourself out of luck, or sleeping under a tree.

At 20 kilometers away, the large town of Zarautz is a popular spot to spend your second night (or first) on the Camino del Norte. However, awaiting you is over 300 meters of elevation gain with numerous ups and downs, and a steep descent to Zarautz. It’s certainly a different track compared to the relatively easy walk that those on the Camino Francés experience on their second day from Roncesvalles to Larrasoaña or Pamplona. As for me, I would continue past Zarautz, and learn a lesson on how different the del Norte is from the Camino Francés in terms of difficulty and accommodation availability.

I left my last post, An Evening in San Sebastian, Spain, On and off the Camino del Norte, facing Monte Igueldo from Playa de Ondarreta. I stayed near this spot at the municipal albergue which was fine but a little overcrowded. I didn’t sleep well and had trouble getting my tired body moving in the morning. My walking companions who I had met the previous day waited, but I told them to go ahead and I’ll catch up.

sunset Monte Igueldo San Sebastian spain On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, San Sebastián to Munioetazar

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There is a large, flat rock on the first bump of Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park, north of Vancouver, Canada. It provides a seat to rest and enjoy one of the best panoramic vistas that I have ever seen — mountains including Mount Garibaldi, Mount Price, and Black Tusk, glaciers including Sphinx and Sentinel, and, of course, the turquoise waters of Garibaldi Lake.

I had always thought about watching the sunset from this very rock. Years went by and it was still one of my top hiking experiences to fulfill. Then again, to watch the sunrise over Garibaldi Lake from the same spot must also be an amazing experience. But wait! When I saw the harvest moon rise over Panorama Ridge while I was hiking late in the Black Tusk meadows two years previously, I was awestruck and decided one day, I would watch the full moon rise over Garibaldi Lake. As this past Spring turned into Summer, and with the then approaching July full moon, I had an idea to experience all three on one visit.

With hot weather and clear skies forecasted, my mind was made up and I looked forward to a brand new adventure. My plan was not to pitch a tent or bring a sleeping bag, but to sit on that very rock for the night and watch the sunset over the Tantalus mountains to the West, the full moon rise and slowly make it’s way over Garibaldi Lake, and then the sunrise to the East. It would also be an experience that I wasn’t accustomed to. It could be a little eerie on the ridge alone and I was concerned about the night temperature that high up. On a beautiful Summer afternoon, I packed the best I saw fit and set off for the Black Tusk parking area, just south of Whistler.

After about five hours of hiking, I arrived in late evening to this beautiful vista from Panorama Ridge.

Garibaldi Lake Park Panorama Ridge evening Under A Supermoon, Garibaldi Park at Sunset

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