THE DREAM - Walking the Camino de Santiago

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May 5th 2017
Published: July 27th 2017
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I took this photo because it looked like a great way to announce our trip when we make a scrapbook of our travels.

Walking the Camino

I am so far behind on my blogging. I do apologize. Every day I think I will write another blog about my 2016/2017 trip to the Caribbean, South America, and Indonesia. Then the sun goes down on my plan without a single word being written. Now I am so excited about my new trip that I want to jump start writing about it. So I expect I will be entering missing blogs from my last trip while writing about the trip I am planning now.

Still in the planning stages, so anything can change - the goal: Hiking the El Camino de Santiago…starting May 20, 2017. I have been wanting to do this for about three years. Finally, my middle daughter, Lauren has agreed/almost agreed to go with me. She and I have a long history of hiking. We hike to Stehekin, an isolated community in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, every year, commemorating her first hike more than thirty years ago, when she was eight years old. She recently mentioned we should do something new and I swooped in with the latest suggestion about doing the Camino trip, coaxing her with

Yes, we actually took on the role of pilgrims somewhere along THE WAY.
it being a belated birthday gift. It will be quite different from our regular hiking trips, and somewhat similar, too.

The El Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage to the Cathedral in Santiago, Spain. Originally the pilgrimage started wherever the person lived, usually in Europe, and ended at the cathedral. We have chosen to do the French “Way.” It is about 500 miles and begins in St. Jean Pied de Port, France and ends in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The route passes through cities, towns, and villages and there are hostels and cafes along the way so we won’t have to carry two weeks’ worth of food and water in our packs. Thousands of “pilgrims” walk to Compostela each year. I am looking forward to spending time with my daughter and meeting new people.

All the details to be considered when planning a trip are interesting in themselves. One of the hardest things to deal with is all the unknowns. Enthusiasm turns to doubt fifteen times a day. It seems at first like there is all the time in the world to plan and prepare, buy tickets, pack. Then the departure suddenly looms. No time for “what ifs”;

I chuckled at this wall art. There ought to be a before and after cartoon. This one. And another showing the man at home, surrounded with his gear, staring at the TV and dreaming of the trail.
“did you consider?” etc.

While visiting my daughter-in-law, I responded to her question about where I was planning my next trip with the Camino, not a dive trip. And she immediately, with great enthusiasm, asked if she could go, too? More than I could hope for…in two years I was unable to find a companion for this hike and now I potentially have two. So tomorrow we are meeting at REI (our local sports equipment store) to buy shoes (and socks?). I already own a pair of well-worn Gortex hiking boots, but for at least two years I have planned to cross over to light weight high top shoes. At last I will buy the lighter shoes and I will still have time to wear them for a month; time enough to check fit and comfort before our departure. It will be fun to shop together tomorrow and do more equipment shopping and planning as our plans become firmer.

In the last twenty years I have been gradually cutting down the weight of my pack for multi-day long distance hikes. It is the only way I can begin to keep up with my energetic thirty year younger daughter. Five years ago I made my own pack using a pattern I found on the internet. It is remarkably durable. Purported to be only twelve and a half ounces, mine is now a bit heavier because I replaced the rip stop bottom with pack cloth and added a bag to hold my camelback water system. I use the short RidgeRest sleeping pad, folded in thirds as the “frame” for the pack. I have carried this pack for four years now and it has been remarkably durable. It expands to carry up to two weeks of food.

Three years ago I made a new hiking blanket of the thinnest, silkiest rip stop nylon I could find, sandwiching two layers of the heaviest polyester fill available between the nylon layers. It is considerably lighter than a sleeping bag and absolutely luxurious. I revel in the silkiness and warmth after a long day of hiking.

This lightweight hiking equipment will make my trip more comfortable. Lighter gear makes the hike more pleasant, and is essential for me as I grow older.

Getting older is not for sissies. . A couple of years ago, I started exercising daily, just a few crunches, leg lifts and planks, hoping to be stronger on the ski slopes. Then my guy gifted me with a wonderful book, “Younger Next Year, for women,” by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D. This book gives me courage and a road map to prepare for the next years of my life…

I read the book, and then read it again. I now exercise six days a week. I joined a gym. I bought a heart monitor, and I even hired a personal trainer. All this before I decided on walking the Camino. I think this investment in my health will prove immensely helpful for this challenge. Some days I feel ready and able to do anything, everything. And some days all I can do is get up and do my morning exercise routine as I gather the energy to take my daily walk, or go to the gym.

Walking ten to fifteen miles a day, day after day, will be a real challenge for me. I am prepared for the hard times and I am looking forward to the good times. It will be another “experience of a lifetime.” One I get to share with my loved ones.

I am so excited!


27th July 2017

Walking the Camino de Santiago excitement
Plan, prepare, enjoy. You have your life in control and are living a healthy life. The only thing that holds one back is imagination and determination. Push doubt out of the room. So exciting. We will be following along. MJ

Tot: 3.55s; Tpl: 0.044s; cc: 24; qc: 115; dbt: 0.0733s; 3; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.6mb