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Snow and mist in Navarra

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#1
A friend has sent me photos of Roncesvalles, and parts of the landscape outside Pamplona - thick snow, mist and wet roads with them in padded jackets, woolen hats, scarves and gloves. Brrrrrrrr...
 

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viajero

Active Member
#3
Thanks for posting the pictures. I leave tomorrow night and plan to arrive in Roncesvalles Friday evening for a Saturday morning start. Brrrr....
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#5
Ouch!! Congelación - fría! These look even worse than Patrick's photos.
Thanks Javier!
 

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Dale

Active Member
#6
All right I sitting here in eastern Canada up to my arm pits in the stuff. I'm contacting the Spanish embassy I demand that they melt all of that before I arrive in early April !! :twisted:
 

viajero

Active Member
#7
Minkey said it might be best to dodge the Pyranees if the snow is there. I had read that the Camino from St. Jean to Roncesvalles can be quite treacherous in bad weather. That is why I had decided to start at this time of year from Roncesvalles instead. How would the Roncesvalles to Larrasoano stage be in this kind of weather. Any thoughts?
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#8
viajero said:
How would the Roncesvalles to Larrasoano stage be in this kind of weather.
Man, it was strenuous enough during a hot/dry July...I'd hate to imaging going through the woods with the slippery, rocky, muddy slopes (uphill and downhill) in winter weather. Be careful if you do... :arrow:
 

fiona

New Member
#9
wow- looks like the leg from Roncesvalles to Pamplona will at best be slushy, and at worst a stream-bed, next week. Something to consider next Friday when I fly into Pamplona! Still, I don't have to decide whether I shall walk southwest or bus northeast until next Saturday morning.
 

viajero

Active Member
#10
I leave tonight and arrive in Pamplona tomorrow (Friday ) afternoon. I had planned to take the 6pm bus to Roncesvalles and walk from there. Due to the snow and rain predicitons, I"m wondering if I should just start from Pamplona. I had my heart set on Roncesvalles. I thought possibly, when I arrived in Pamplona I could try to get some information on how the camino is between Roncesvalles and Pamplona. I'm thinking maybe I could call the albergue in Larrasoana to see what people reported. Any thoughts or suggestions on who I should check with. If I could get some information tomorrow when I arrive, I could decide then if I should go on to Roncesvalles or start out from Pamplona. As this is my first Camino, I'm having trouble imagining how the snow and rain affect the camino is this area. Is there a bus from Pamplona to Larrasoana--maybe I could start there. I had this plan in my head for months but now that I am leaving, TODAY, I'm nervous about whether or not I should change it...even nervous about if I'll be able to find information once I'm there in Pamplona. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

lckgj

Active Member
#12
Hi Viajero
The weather DOES look rather daunting doesn't it?
The bus from Roncevalles goes to Pamplona via Larrasoana so you could always go to Roncevalles and assess the situation more accurately from there. The bus company website is http://www.autocaresartieda.com/default.html. Look under 'lineas regulares' and select 'Jaurrieta'. there appears to be 4 buses leaving Roncevalles between 8am an 12noon. The worst that can happen is you bus it back to Larrasoana or even Pamplona instead of walking but at least you will have started in the mountains and seen your preferred starting point rather than missing it out altogether. Please check these details for yourself as I would hate to have got it wrong and sent you on a hopeless journey!!
I loved the walk from Roncevalles to Larrasoana but did it in raging heat so cant offer you any advice on how accessible it is under present conditions. I do remember parts of the path were very steep so be sure to have good grips on your boots!
There are sure to be other pilgrims arriving at Roncevalles with you so whatever decision you make you are unlikely to be heading out on your own which is always reassuring.
Have a wonderful camino and, if possible, let us know how you found the conditions when you get there as that will be helpful to others leaving soon.
Wishing you all the best
Laura
 
#13
I have also looked at the website Laura mentions. A lot of those services are historic details of last summer's routes. However, I did find some that worked at the moment. But to repeat laura, please don't rely on me, either!

There is a bus M-F at 1300 to Larasoana, (the Euqui service)

The 1600 Saturday bus and 1800 Weekday bus (Jaurriete) also stops at Larasoana, Zubiri, Linzoan, Viscarret, Espinal, Burguete as well as Roncesvalles. So you could decide to go as far up the road as looked walkable.

If you get to Roncesvalles and think better of it, there are buses reversing the route of the 1600/1800 service towards Pamplona at 09.20, but only Mon - Fri. Looks like you will be there over a weekend, like me. So we don't have this "cheat" option.

Rather than having to make a fast decision after your flight on Friday, you could stay overnight in Pamplona, use the morning to sightsee, then take a view at lunchtime about either setting off to walk for a short first day, or getting the 1600 bus either to Roncesvalles or Larrasoana. The ride would be in daylight so you could see what you were getting into and being two hours earlier you might have a better chance of getting a bed than if you were catching the Friday bus.

Sorry - some unsolicited advice - mostly musing about what I shall do in a week's time.
 

lckgj

Active Member
#14
Thanks for confirming my unreliabilty Fiona!!
The road and path from Roncevalles criss cross each other quite often but I doubt you could really assess properly how the path is underfoot when you mostly cant see it from the road.
There is always the option of a (possibly shared) taxi from Roncevalles if things dont look good when you get there. I know there have beeen postings in the past which tell you how much it costs for a taxi between Pamplona and Roncevalles.
Provided you have got the right kit I would suggest trying to start from Roncevalles and taking the advice of the hospitalero when there - easy to say from the comfort of my own warm kitchen!
I wish it was me having to make these decisions!
Laura
 

Minkey

Active Member
#15
Viajero,

The route between Roncesvalles and Pamplona won't be particularly treacherous, I wouldn't have thought. I'd say go from Roncesvalles.
 

viajero

Active Member
#16
Hi,
Thank you SO much for your thoughts on this. I will probably go on to Roncesvalles as planned and take it from there. Your suggestions were all great...At least I'd get to see ROncesvalles, attend pilgrim's mass, etc. I can also see what other pilgrims there are planning to do. Your ideas have made me realize I have other options then just deciding on the spot in Pamplona. I'll try to post once I arrive to let you all know the conditions, etc. Thanks alot. I'm feeling very excited but nervous too and this snow/rain business just made me more nervous--I'd actually rather have snow than rain but I guess I'm not the one who gets to decide! I feel a little more relaxed after reading your advice! Thanks
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#17
The weather can be trecherous - it seems that the last few years, March and April have had the worst of snows and sludge:
This was posted last year by a Forum member:

I am in Lorca
by rioja routard on Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:50 am

Hola
I went to set off from Pamplona on Monday and could not set out due to endless heavy rain. I ended up staying another night at my friends. I even got soaked just walking around Pamplona.
Left yesterday and got to puente la reina, and it seems much of the Camino had been closed by the police with alternative diversions. The mud and slurry is just horrendous. Just when it seems it can not get worse it does! Never mind, it is part of the fun, I guess?
Leaving Puente today was the worst, just unbelievable. Holding onto fences, having a stick helps. It took me over an hour and a half to get to Maneru which is only 5km!

hu Apr 05, 2007 6:26 pm

Hola
Very tired but got here from Vilamayor, around 30km. Weather better but it was snowing last night.
When I got to Los Arcos I read with sadness in a newspaper in a bar about the British Pilgrim. I just about worked out the jist of it. It brought home to me how it is a serious walk in that area especially in poor weather conditions.

Please take good wet weather gear and use two walking poles in the mud!
 

Minkey

Active Member
#18
Oh the mud!

Sil, you must've been through the mud on the hillside between Larrasoana and Pamplona last Summer. That was... interesting!
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#19
When I took the bus last summer from Pamplona to Roncesvalles, it made a stop at the albergue in Larrasoaña. No doubt there will be other pilgrims on the bus - and the driver might even know what the conditions are like. Also, while you are in Pamplona, check with the albergue there - they should have Pilgrims who have walked it in recent days.

My personal feeling is that the route from Roncesvalles to Pamplona should not be too bad. But, I have not walked it in winter so perhaps I should keep my counsel.

Regardless of what you decide, Buen Camino!
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#20
On leaving Roncesvalles you walk through a lovely forest for about an hour which lulls you into a false sense of security. "This is great - if the path is like this the whole way, it is going to be a doddle!" And then you break out into farmland, and the roller-coaster of up hills and down dales begins. Parts of it is on wide farm roads but others on narrow tracks or shale and gravel pits.
The CSJ Guide warns:
After heavy rains the route between Burguete and Larrasoana can be almost impassable. The descent into Zubiri is also difficult in bad weather.
The hill that Minkey is referring to goes straight up a hillside. There used to be a rickety boardwalk with a wooden railing for safety but a wash away has neccesitated a detour above the boardwalk path that goes straight up very steeply. We had to use two sticks like skipoles to drag ourselves up this muddy quagmire.
It was the same climbing to the Alto del Perdon which was just mud and slush. (It is this section that was closed last year in April because it was a river of mud from melting snow and rain.) In August, the mud was so thick and sticky that my boots were almost sucked off my feet. The constant rain which soaked boots and socks, and the rubbing whilst trying to lift feet out of the mud is what caused the blisters on the back of my heels.
 

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Minkey

Active Member
#21
I think I meant the bit after that, after you cross the road by the picnic area, then go up (the bit along the side of the hill before the underpass)
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#22
Yep - that is it!
Here is a view from the picnic site. You climb straight up that hill, detouring around the landlside and up into the trees.
 

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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#24
Here is another view (that is Sister Anneliese in the photograph).
 

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#25
So, Sil, I have a question,

When I was on the Frances in 2006, there was a huge detour that started at the spot in the picture with the picnic tables. I don't know how many kms it was but it took us forever to get into Pamplona from there, lots of walking along the river. I take it from your comment that the old route is open again, or at least that there's a way that doesn't involve the detour?

Thanks, laurie
 

Artemis

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2006, Camino Portuguese 2009
#26
The pictures with the snow are beautiful. Makes me want to try a winter camino but I keep wondering how people are able to see the arrows with all the snow. I remember a lot of them being on the road or on stones on the ground.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#28
If you look at the photographs a few posts back you will see one with a wooden fence on the hillside. In 2002 we had to climb the hill, walk along a narrow wooden boardwalk that skirted the hill overlooking the gorge. It was quite scary!
In August last year there was evidence of a landslide and it appeared that sections of the hillside and path had tumbled into the gorge. The boardwalk was closed off and we had to climb above and around it. It was muddy, slippery and steep so we walked with flat, platypus feet so as not to fall on our faces!
This is the boardwalk in 2002.
 

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viajero

Active Member
#29
Reporting from the camino. I went to roncesvalles friday evening and walked saturday to Larrosoana. A common sense Norwegian couple in roncesvalles suggested walking on the main road n-135 due to the snow so i followed their advice. the road was completely clear of snow and as i decended from roncesvalles the snow was less and less so after maybe 8-10 km. i got on the camino proper and had no problems. muddy and wet--yes but treacherous--aboslutely not. those who walked on the camino from the start had a not so good trip. sometimes they would step and the snow would cover their shoes and other times up to their knees so i´m glad i took the road. I´m glad i went to roncesvalles as walking into the evening mass with the snow falling was a nice memory to make--also walking the next day through charming villages like burguete was special.
oh, also, at the pamplona bus station they told me there was a return bus from roncesvalles to pamplona leaving roncesvalles at noon on saturdays--not sure if that is seasonal or permanent but was running as of yesterday. thanks for all your advice in helping me to choose to go on to roncesvalles. today i am taking a short break in pamplona on my walk from larrasoana to cizur menor.
 

lckgj

Active Member
#30
Hi Viajero
Great to hear from you and so glad to hear you made in safely through the snow and mountains. It sounds as though you made very sensible decisions with regards to your route.
Continue to enjoy your camino and please keep us informed of your progress and impressions as you go.
Wishing you a contined safe and happy journey, Buen camino!
Laura
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#31

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lckgj

Active Member
#33
So many yellow arrows are painted on the ground and there are helpful arrow shapes made from pebbles at uncertain junctions. I think I would be a litttle nervous about getting lost - is this not a problem?
However it does look beautiful and would be lovely to walk in the snow.. Definately preferable to mud and rain!
I climbed the Alto de Perdon in the early hours of the morning to avoid the searing heat we had at that time. All weathers have their downsides I suppose!
Laura
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#34
Truth is, anyone who takes the route from Roncesvalles before May is running the risk of slogging through puddles and mud, snow or rain. I did it in April, and had ankle-deep mud to contend with, as well as driving rain. It was misery, but thankfully we had stopped at Larrosoaña on the way up and reserved a room at the same house where the meals are served. (that was one of the finest hot baths ever taken!)
Through the rest of my camino I felt miserable several times, but I could look back on that first day and tell myself, "Hey, at least it´s not THAT bad!"

Just get up there and get going. Just do it.

Rebekah
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#35
I think this path is mud and snow. If you look at one of my pictures in an earlier post it is taken in almost the same place. I tried walking off the path to escape the quagmire but in Craig's photo the sides are covered in snow.
 

lckgj

Active Member
#37
I thought there only was one place to eat in Larrasoana.
What I remember most about the bar in Larrasoana was the Enormous volume of mouse droppings in the loo - right next to the kitchen! The food tasted great though and I was far too tired and hungry to be appalled as I would have been at home!
Laura
 
#39
The last time I was in Larrasoana, the summer of 2006, the owner of the Cafe Bar Larrasoana told me that he was definitely going to close up shop and move to a better climate for his wife, who is ill. I remembered that he had been making noises about this in 2004 as well, so I wasn't sure whether he was serious. Does anyone know if the guy pictured here http://www.sangalo.net/web1.htm is still running the operation? As others have mentioned, he is quite a character. Sometimes he gets really poisonous in his comments (in Spanish) about peregrinos who don't understand, but all in all he works incredibly hard and provides a good service.

I also remember seeing some signs about pensiones in the newer parts of town, as you come in on the Camino. So are there lots of accommodation options here now?

Thanks for the help.
 

Minkey

Active Member
#40
Not sure... It was definitely still there last year. Stayed there twice, now, but the last time it was shut. I actually thought it was open when I wandered down there in the afternoon, but in actual fact, it was the family who owned the place sitting outside.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#41
Craig (another Kiwi peregrino) has a blog which you can read 'live' from the camino.

http://www.mars-hill.co.nz/blog/

From there walking has become beautiful again: both the low temperatures and the pastoral scenery are competing with Navarra once more. The mist and icey wind this morning were close to freezing. When we stopped in a bar around 11am, I couldn’t feel my fingertips! The scenery was beautiful and all the towns along this stretch picturesque.
 

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