Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Of Sleeping bags and Snakes

But not the two together, thank goodness.

I have made the decision to not take a sleeping bag on even a sleeping bag liner- this time I will just be packing a lightwieght silk sheet. Mostly due to the fact that I am taking a 24 Liter pack as opposed to the weight. it takes up quite a bit less space as you can see below. I am not to concerned about being cold, though maybe that is naivete. I figure I can just wear most of the clothes I will be bringing and hope that with luck the cold albergues will have blankets.

Its warmer enough now here that horny toads are snakes are out and about.  On my long walk on Sat. I saw several horny toads and a bull snake. I have a phobia of snakes. I have had ever since I was little. (I blame my parents showing me Raiders of the lost Ark at a tender age) As I was walking along today I came across a dead gopher snake. It was huge and made me quite upset. Partly I find myself to blame for its death. I've never been good at confrontation. As I was driving back from my sister's I saw a car pulled over with some people on the side. They were messing with the snake. My instinct was they were going to kill it, but I rationalized to myself they were doing the right thing and getting it out of the road, especially as it wasn't a rattlesnake or coral snake. Just a harmless snake. And I did nothing. I didn't take a picture of it. I wish I would've said something, but I let my fear stop me. Even if they still killed it at least I would have tried. I need to stand up when I see something wrong instead of taking the easy way out and turning a blind eye. Another thing for my list of things to improve upon.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My maxiumalist shoes have arrived!

On my first camino, I just wore my regular road running shoes, not even trail runners. And they were mostly white, by the end they wore a faint brown. My biggest pet peeves were:
 1) Feeling rocks through the soles on the uneven terrain
 2) Lack of traction when wet

I'm in the camp that doesn't like gore-Tex shoes that much. Probably since its so hot most the time in AZ I really value the ability of shoes to breath, also if your shoes do get wet (and if its really raining they will regardless of what they are made of) they will dry quicker as you walk. So I set out to find a better shoe to take. I like runners because they are comfortable too me and not too heavy. I had read an article about a new shoe that was gaining popularity in the Ultra-marathoning world- the Hoka One One. The trail version retails for $160, but I was so happy to discover they were one on discount on Sierra Trading Post for only 94 plus I got a $20 gift card that I was able to turn into an Icebreaker tank top. So far I love them, there are super comfortable and also give me an inch or two. If I can feel a rock thru these I will be in Princess and the Pea territory. Here they are pictured next to a pair of my regular running shoes- quite the difference. tomorrow will be the real litmus test as I plan on taking them on a long walk thru the desert on uneven ground. I've had a few blisters during my training so far so I am ever hopeful that my feet are tough enough not to get any new ones, always a walkers hope.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Less then three weeks!

I'm a terrible blogger. I really only like blogs that are often updated, but I now know it does take a bit a effort to maintain one. Sincere apologies to all the bloggers I have mentally been annoyed with lack of updates.

I can't believe how close it is to take off. I am so excited. And on other great news I can wear my pants!! I was a bit worried I wouldn't make it in time. there are still a little snug, but hopefully the next little bit and a few days on the camino will take care of that. Secretly I would still like to lose a pound a week on the camino, but have resolved to not obsess about it. I find it strange that I can go from basically not caring as much as I should about my diet to the other end of the spectrum and getting worked over small things. Which is probably why I have a bit of a weight problem, never learned moderation. Another thing for me to add to my list of problems I would like to work on.

I've gotten into training a bit and up to ten miles. I'm not sure if I will go farther than that as most days I have things to be doing, and its hard for me to just walk to walk,  not getting anywhere I would much rather run (not that I can run 10 miles right now). This past walk I did get to see a lot of wildflowers here in the desert. Here are some pictures of flowers and where I normally walk. I do love the desert. One of my big regrets is that the other day there was a surprisingly low flying military airplane, I could read the numbers on the side but I was too slow with my camera, or it was too fast.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Paris to the Pyrenees, a review

While not on Camino (I can't decide whether or not it should be capitalized if not referring to a specific one but decided to err in the case of yes) which sadly is like 95% of my life, I like to read about other people's pilgrimage experiences. Judging by the amount of books available I am not alone in this fact. There are many great ones to chose from all with something to new to learn. There are many that seem to be self published and only available as e-books, but I thought I would first talk about a more widely available book.  Which is available here: Paris to the Pyrenees (side note I am addicted to amazon's kindle and both audible but sure it is also available at your favorite location as well.)

I will admit I had a hard time with this book. I am not sure exactly why.  It is very well written. Maybe it is just more scholarly than I prefer. I think my biggest objection, is a more personal taste than fault of the author. Disregarding the fact that it bugged me the author did not actually walk from Paris to the Pyrenees as the title would imply, mostly I find it hard to deal with the fact he didn't like to be around other pilgrims, and actively avoided them all together. To me that is a part of pilgrimage doing something that has been done for hundreds of years, by thousands of people.  I'm not saying you must always be in a group, talking to everyone but I think it adds something to the be connected with those who have the same purpose as you do. David and his wife mostly stay in BB's that are not on a very well travelled path by pilgrims or anyone really. What I did take away was his great interest in the history of place he was walking thru and his knowledge of the significance of the monuments and buildings he was passing by. That is one thing I will really like to add to my trek on the Via de la Plata. Take time to stop and know what it is exactly I am seeing. He also conversed quite a bit with the proprietors (maybe as there were no other pilgrim's)  who of course know something of the land they are on.  Hopefully my rudimentary Spanish will allow this to happen.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention during his wife's tooth incident, I couldn't help but mentally scream, "just Get a taxi and go see a dentist, NOW!!" Maybe's its because I had the meanest dentist as a child, or have nightmares of my teeth falling out, but I just didn't understand their decision. While not quite my cup of tea, if you find it on good discount or at your library I would recommend it. Not at full price though.

Monday, March 17, 2014


Time flies, as did my goal to write 5x a week. How did time go by so quickly?  I can't believe that I am going on Camino in less then six weeks. My personality is sadly such that I keep expecting something bad to happen, and I won't be able to go.

Having that said, I getting pretty excited. I have got a few new things for my kit, I'll make a post of them now and then agian after the Camino to see how they fared. I have also been on several long walk in consecutive days, as I think that is the hardest thing of the camino for me. Due to time constraints I won't have many (if any) really days of rest. I didn't last time either. I think the lack of recovery time is quite hard. Its also diffucult to replicate, while I have been able to do 7-8-7-8 mile walks back to back, on the Via de la plata I will need to do twice that. But at least that will be my job for the day. Thank goodness for Audible, its a bit boring walking just to walk and not get anywhere. I am also going to be starting a bit of upperbody work as well, though I haven't yet.

Oh I have lost a bit of wieght,  I would like to lose 8-9 more lbs. (its more than originally stated as I was more than originally thought) but that may be a tall order due to the amount of time between now and then. If I can't fit my fancy dancy hiking pants I wlll be in quite the dilema, as I really don't want to spend more money on gear and would like to save it all.

Oh, I have decided I much prefer camelbak to the waistback as least that model keep slipping when the water bottles were full.

buen camino!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

yay for FANNY PACKS!!!!

So i have realized now that I am older, I'm more independant when it comes to what I wear. Before when I have been travelling, I would never ever carry fanny pack despite the incredible usefulness of them. They score way to high on the dorkiness scale. I can remember the early nineties/late eighties when for a glorius moment they were in style. I had a snazzy one when I was about ten and I loved it. It was white, with bright multi colored hawaiian flowers on in. It had one main pouch and then a second smaller pouch on the front. The small one was perfect for my most prized possesion- The ninetendo GameBoy. In the larger pocket I carried the acessoris, headphones, games, and the instruction books Even after the heyday of the fanny pack I still used it, for a while. Fast forward to today- my next fanny pack.  A great addition to my kit, I think.

First, I am a maximalist, so when one would do, I invaribly buy two.  The one on top I specificaly purchased in order to travel with me on the camino. During my time on the Francis, I didn't have anything for a night bag nor did the backpack model I was using have very large pockets on the hipbelt. It was annoying. At night I would use my sleeping bag stuff stack as a makeshift purse and would also take it to the shower, with my camera, kindle, passport, wallet etc. This particular model was only $6 at walmart. It fits my kindle perfectly and I can also fit my camera, mp3 player, and a snack so I won't have to stop mid-walk to get out my kindle to look at the guide. Also I will be able to listen to audible books as I walk and have easy control over them. It works well , I have been using now when I am cleaning the house , doing dishes etc. Big thumbs up. The second I got for when it gets hot and I am running in the desert. I find sometimes camelbaks can get quite hot on the back, I want to see if these are any cooler. I will try that out tomorrow durng my run. It was only $10 and it came with the two waterbottles. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Battle of the bulge

So today I felt like going over my pack for the camnino which is mostly packed. I decided to try on my super nifty convertible north facepants.And they are supertight. No way I can hike all day in them, fly in an uncomfortable plane for 12 hours, even breathing will be hard. While I have been running fairly consistently, I have been eating, when i'm bored.tired, hungry sad. And I can tell. Let alone the horrible pictures I just saw of myself. I read an article in the UK magazine Running fitness, how little running does for wieghtloss for the average person and it is all about food. while Ideally I would like to lose 25-30lbs, my goal before I leave is going to be eight pounds, about a 1 lb a week, Hopefully I will be able to lose a little wieght on the camino as well. I did last time but I gained it alll back once I wasn't walking for hours day. This is the first time I have publicly declared an intent to lose wieght,  (though its not too public really). Hopefully it will work. I will wiegh in on Weds.. I am too ashamed to post my weight but promise to be truthful about losses and hopefully not gains. Not only for my health but it will help me walk closer to the schedule I need to complete the kms I need to meet daily without putting as much strain on my body.  I've been sick but did manage to jog 2 miles today. I have been runnig about 16 miles a week and would like to get my miles up to at least 25-30 before I go.


So I really dislike the post I wrote yesterday. I have been going back and forth on deleting it. It seems not like me, I am not sure why. Maybe a little pretentious or something. I need to work on my wirting skills. I wanted to convey how having never heard of the Camino for my first 31 years I heard of it 3x in less than a month, which I felt was, as cliche as it sounds, for a reason.  But I am going to leave it. This is what I do all the time. I am so terrible at keeping in touch because I will write reply emails, delete them, write them agian delete them.  I feel they need to convey something worthwhile before I can send them, Before I know it year has gone by and I have lost touch with some truly wonderful people. I sadly didn't keep in touch with anyone from my first camino, something I hope to rectify this time around. One of my many faults is not reaching out to people who have reached out to me. I tend to keep people at a distance, though I do want to have close friends. Its a bad coping mechanism and one that can easily add to a slide back to depression. Definately a place with room for improvement.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Finding the Way

I didn't know about the way until 2011. I was backpacking in New Zealand, in thier winter so it wasn't very crowded at all. In fact there were several times were I was not only the person in a room, but the whole hostel. I had been alone for couple of days, which for the most part I really enjoy. One day I finally had another person in the room. I'm sad to say I can't remember her name( I didn't really journal during that trip either). She had been doing yoga in Bali I believe. We got to chatting and I talked about a hike I had done that day in Wanaka, up a fairly steep track called Roy's Peak. It was stunning and pretty hard. I had said that my favorite thing to do now when I am travelling now is to go hiking, or go running in a city I don't know. She casullay mentioned that in northern spain you could hike from village to village all across the country to coast, staying in places wtih people who were also doing the same thing. When I was back in the states, my sisters' friend's sister had just got back from doing the camino. I found out the name of the trail, and called her up to pick her brain. Finally in our small town, we still have a brick and mortar video shop. While browsing the movies I noticed the Emilio Estevez, Martin sheen film "The Way" and rented it. I loved it, and most of all I loved the idea of the camino. I'm not Catholic, but liked the sense of doing something that people have been doing for hundreds of years. Also the chance to medidate and be a minimalist for awhile. Especially as I am a maxiumist in my day to day life.  I made the decision to go, using a $400 bump credit I had to purchase the ticket.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Introduction

Well I have been thinking of haiving a blog for quite awhile now. I just kept putting off the first post as I felt it needed to be perfect, but as someone told if you keep waiting for something to be just right beofre you try you will never do it. So I decided to just bite the bullet and write a quick post. 

After walking the Camino de Santiago in 2012 in Spain, I was immediately hooked. I loved it. If I could stay on it for the rest of my life I think I would. One of my regrets is that I didn't journal. I even carried one, but I am a lazy writer, my hand has lost all stamina from my college days when people took notes on paper. I plan on using this blog as journal, mostly about the camino, packing, training (if you can call it that) for my next Camino which is scheduled for April 24, 2014 leaving from Sevilla on the Via de la Plata hopefully all the way to Muxia this time. And whatever else strikes my fancy, reviews etc. 

Hopefully this is the frist of many entries not like my journal from when I was 12 that has a total of 3 pages and was left to languish for the next 20 odd years.

Buen Camino!