by Kip Tobin
I awake at 7 am, mostly from unwieldy nervousness. Before I have time to pause and consider what is to come, I strap on my 20 pound backpack, leave the pilgrim’s shelter in Sarría and ascend a firm incline for about 45 minutes into a Tolkien dream sequence.
Once inside, the misty mountain top has no visible exit; white pulpy air hangs still upon all scenery within a 100-foot diameter.
The path levels out, my head soaking in frosty sweat; I feel like am in the heart of a chilly other world, alone.