Learning to walk/Learning to Pack

Walk, walk, walk…Step, step, step…Breathe, breathe, breathe…Di and I got a taste of this in our practice walks a couple of weekends ago. We hiked 7 ½ miles on Friday, 7 Saturday with full packs and 4 Sunday with full packs. Since then I have had regular 5-mile walks and a 10-mile.

Di and I learned many things in our practice: weight of the pack, deciding on what is most important, footwear decisions, the weight of each item and determining its usefulness, minimizing toiletries and on my part, trying to eliminate as many ounces of items as I am able. My goal was a 15lb pack on my back plus the weight of two water bottles. Saturday I walked with 20 lbs. Sunday I dropped down to closer to 16 lbs. On the 10 mile I realized I was back up to 22 lbs. Water weighs in at 3 lbs. I am much happier with the lighter weight. I am trying to be ruthless. On the other hand, if it is too much, many people get the pack transported.

I bought my rain gear last spring when REI had their big sale. I have come to learn that I do not want to carry around 28 ounces of rain jacket and pants. So I am now down to 14 ounces. Research, return, and purchase the lighter weight items. This is the joy of shopping REI, easy returns.

I am very pleased with our ability to do the walks that we did but by Sunday afternoon and three days in a row, I was exhausted. I wondered, how am I going to do this? But, I awoke Monday and I could have gone again. After the 10 mile, I was again exhausted but a shower and rest helped. I think what is going to carry us is the energy of the stream, the Way, all the pilgrims going in the same direction with the expectation of the destination, Santiago de Compostela. The beauty of group energy, it lifts and strengthens. Also, the day to day building of stamina.

It is hard to believe on Tuesday of next week we will be in Madrid, Spain, the first stop on our journey. We fly in then catch a train to Leon where we will get our pilgrim passport and shell (the symbol of the Camino that pilgrims carry on their packs) and spend our first night at a Benedictine Monastery, Albergue Santa María de Carbajal.


We will be identifiable as pilgrims with all wishing us, “Buen Camino.”

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