Today was forecast to be the last day of rain and it finished with a vengeance. A few minutes out of lovely Ponte de Lima, I was confronted with the trail flowing like a stream, at least a foot deep. As the trail had stone walls on each side, I climbed up through wire (fortunately not barbed) and into the vineyard, stepping with one shoe into the water. I needn’t have worried as I was to spend the rest of the day in water of various depths, as the trails had become streams with the ongoing rain. At one point I cambered over the wall only to find the adjoining field totally flooded as well. So I sloshed along through water up to my ankles and, as the field was overgrown with weeds, I eventually tripped and fell into the water. None of the wet mattered much after that, as I was pretty much soaked all day.
In mid-morning I had a long climb up over a pass into the next valley, with a 500 meter elevation gain. The trail was very rugged with the water running straight down it, so a person had to pick their way carefully. Going down was even trickier with running water making the rocks slippery. All in all, one of the toughest days I’ve spent on the trail but, as usual, it has ended well. As I write this, I am sitting in a cozy, privately-owned albergue as the wood heater dries out shoes and clothes. The couple from Alaska are here and we have the place to ourselves tonight. All’s well that ends well.