At 4,934 feet above sea level on a windswept site stands a fifty-foot tall pole with a plain iron cross on top, the Cruz de Ferro. Tradition has it that when you travel to this iron cross, you should lay a rock at its base as a token of love or as a symbol of laying aside your burdens.
The weather report last night promised rain, the first time since we’ve been on our Camino that we’ve had to brave wet weather. This morning we hauled our ponchos out of the very bottoms of our backpacks and braced ourselves for a soaking. Rather than wear boots and suffer wet feet for days, we donned wool socks and Tevas or Oboz.
By the time we reached the Cruz de Ferro about seven miles into our sixteen-mile day, wind-driven rain had pelted us. and we’d had a headwind most of the way. Still, we took several minutes to say some silent words of prayer as we laid our stones at the base of the monument.
Judi had chosen three rocks:
- a black chunk of slag (a by-product of the iron-ore process). It reminded her of going to her home in Escanaba, Michigan. She found the rock by the municipal dock in front of the House of Ludington, formerly a famous hotel and landmark.
- a jagged red piece of rock found at the Iron Mountain Iron Mine in Michigan. It represents to her reconnecting with family and creating new memories.
- a piece of pink granite found on Hunter’s Beach in Acadia. This one represents Judi’s and my intention to do the Camino together.
My rock was also a piece of pink granite from Hunter’s Beach. In addition to it representing our friendship, I dedicated it to my stepfather, Michael Tessman who passed away on October 2nd at the age of 96, while Judi and I were on our Camino.
Not long after we left the site of the Cruz de Ferro, the sun appeared and created a splendid rainbow.
Our day of hiking ended in our crossing a medieval bridge into the little town of Molinaseca. Tomorrow the countdown begins: only ten more days of walking until we reach Santiago.