GR11 Hiking

Day 43: The Final Day

Kilometres walked: 24km / Total distance: 848km / Elevation gain: 774m / Elevation loss: 776m / Time walked: 5h23min

I wake up buzzing with excitement, but also with a strange reluctance to get out of bed. Is today really the last day? Am I really done walking after this? The trail is finished? I have a hard time conceptualising the idea. For days, ever since seeing the sea for the first time, I’ve been trying to figure out how I feel about finishing this adventure and I’m still not sure.

I guess today I’ll find out.

After breakfast in the hostel I pack my bag. Everything suddenly has the notion of ‘for the last time’. The last time putting on my dirty shirt with holes, the last time loading the route on my watch, the last time fumbling with my gaiters. The last time setting out to walk. For this adventure at least. Who knows what the future holds.

Looking out over the bay

The Sea!

I navigate my way through Llança to the coastal path which I’ll follow to Port de la Selva. There, I’ll merge with the GR11 again. The official route takes you over a final 500m climb but to be honest I’m done. It’s hot, I’m sweating already, the hill doesn’t look particularly interesting and I’ll just rather be walking along the sea.

The sea! I love the mountains, now more than ever, but the sea and ocean will always hold a special place in my heart. And with every wave rolling in that place in my heart is now, seemingly, being filled with every emotion that I’ve felt on the trail all at once. Every new wave rolling in is a new wave of emotions. Joy, excitement, fear, awe, sadness, worry, love, and they all crash into each other until my heart flows over and I can’t tell the difference between the sweat and the tears running down my face anymore.

Now I know. All of the feels all at once. The only thing to do is to breathe and keep walking until the waves calm down and, eventually, get taken over by the usual daily concerns of a hiker. How much water do I need? Left or right? How much further up? Is it going to rain?

All for the last time.

It doesn’t rain, and I do have enough water. I sit in the shade under a tree and eat the last of my tortillawraps with the last of the chorizo, the last of the bell pepper, the last of the peanut butter and the last nutella packet I stole from the hostel this morning. Save for some almonds and some coffee, my food bag is finally empty.

The landscape is beautiful here. After turning away from the coastal buildup and entering the interior of Cap de Creus it’s dry, harsh, rocky. It feels wild. It smells familiar. The smell of the sea, pines, and wild rosemary. I walk for hours and meet not a single soul until towards the end, at last, I see the lighthouse.

Wild and desolate.

Beyond the lighthouse is the finish point. I walk past the terrace full of people and scramble down and up and down again over some rocks. For the last time. It’s the Easternmost point of Spain. The end of the world. The end of the trail.

There is no official point, no sign saying ‘congratulations!’ or ‘good luck’ in case you start here. There’s just a red and white sloppy blob of paint, the last trail marker, to signify that this is it. I feel exhilarated, and sad that it is over, and proud that I’ve made it. I also feel strangely empty.

Of course there is a celebratory picture, and a celebratory swim, and a celebratory beer at the lighthouse. The sea feels strangely cleansing and the beer tastes incredibly good.

I made it. It finally dawns on me. I walked across an entire mountain range. All 848km (give or take a few). More than five Everests of elevation change combined. I don’t know how many steps. Nights under the stars, meals shared with strangers. Just one foot in front of the other.

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