Sunday, September 27, 2009

Poetry for the Road

A pilgrim blog quoted this from Wordsworth, an avid walker, who never walked the camino, however. This is from his Tintern Abbey:

Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations!

I look forward to filling my "mansion" with many "sweet sounds and harmonies!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Reporting Back from my Travels

I have returned from my trip to a PEO Convention in San Diego and a visit to my sister in Utah. Two significant things related to my camino trek have come out of those travels. First, I was pondering the possibility of using my long walk to benefit a favored charity, and have decided that I would like to walk to benefit my favorite PEO scholarship, International Peace Scholarship (IPS). I thought it would be particularly a propos, since I hope to meet many women on my pilgrimage from many different lands. Perhaps we will talk about the importance of educating women, and I will have the opportunity to tell them about this wonderful $10,000 scholarship for women who are willing to return to their homeland to use their education to benefit their home country.

Secondly, while I was in Utah, I attempted to walk a great deal and found that walking in the high desert got me winded very quickly! I started to think about how high the altitude in the Pyrenees was, and whether I needed to take that into consideration in my preparations.At least I will have a heads-up on it.

Now I am back home, but about to leave again to visit my son in Seattle, (Fort Lewis), who is about to be deployed to Iraq. I am trying to keep up my walking, but it is difficult to maintain a challenging walk schedule while traveling. Things should settle down by mid-October, however.

My Utah visit included some white-water rafting in Moab. It was delightful! We met people from Belgium, Germany, England, and The Netherlands, as we floated down the Colorado River. When we returned to the Moab Adventure Center, I lucked out in buying a light-weight nylon pair of pants with zip-off legs from Ex-Officio, for 60% off! I am now testing them to see how quickly they dry.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Walking and Testing

Today I tried a walk over at Doe Valley. I tested out the idea of two pairs of socks, one thin that wicks away moisture under a regular pair of cotton socks. It seemed to work fine. Not sure if there was any difference. I didn't feel any hotspots on this walk, but did have a sensation of numbness in my left foot as I got toward the end of my walk, which turned out to be about 3.6 miles. I came across a sign on the road pointing to "The Johnson Cemetery". The fun part about walking is, you can just take a notion and go explore, and that is what I did. The path led in about a tenth of a mile and was very overgrown. I finally came across the cemetery, very neglected with fallen and broken and faded stones. There were Applegates, Fowlers, Wilsons, and Benhams, but nary a Johnson to be seen. The Benham plot was very sad. Seven smaller stones behind two large ones, of children a few days old to five years, some with only initials on them. These dated to the last half of the 1800's. Life was tough back then! My walk took about two hours, including my adventure in the cemetery. I keep a very relaxed pace, as this has been the advice from pilgrims. I only hope it will serve to get me in shape.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Time to Get Serious

I finally have a serious purpose to apply to this blogging business. Hopefully it will help me to keep on track and religiously keep this blog up to date. My husband has kindly consented to support me in realizing a long time dream. That is to walk the Camino, the thousand-year-old pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. My plan is to take the next seven months or so to get in shape to make the 500 mile journey across northern Spain from St. Jean Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. I hope to begin in mid-April of 2010 and take a biblical 40 days to accomplish the feat (or rather "feet" since those darlings are going to be what gets me there.) You have but to type in the word "Camino" on any search engine to find out what I am about to do. Literally hundreds of thousands of people will be making this trek next year, a holy year on the Way of St. James, since in 2010 the feast of St. James will fall on a Sunday. I am so overjoyed and overwhelmed with the idea of really doing this, that I secretly think about it all the time, while pretending to go about my normal everyday activities.

I've purchase my hiking shoes, North Face boots from Zappos (at 50% discount on top of Zappos' everyday discount, Woohoo!) and have done some preliminary walks: Buttermilk Falls, Brandenburg, 4 miles; around Freeman Lake, Elizabethtown, about 5 miles; Saunders Springs, Radcliff, an hour's worth of down and up. My MP3 player froze up on my walk around Freeman Lake. I didn't have a paperclip to poke in the little hole to unfreeze it, so accomplished most of the walk without it. I think this was a good thing, as I had to walk in silence, which is , perhaps, the correct way to walk a pilgrimage!

My goal is to walk one or two hours three times a week with a longer trek, maybe three or four hours, on the weekends until January. Then I need to crank it up a bit to prepare for 12 to 15 miles a day, the normal distance that pilgrims walk on the camino. That is no big deal, the 12-15 miles part. The hard part is doing it day after day for forty days.

I have also been researching to find the lightest clothing and equipment to carry on my back. Now you may think it is impossible, but it is my goal to have no more than 15 pounds of clothing, toiletries, first aid and sleeping bag to carry with me. I know it is possible, because my hero, Peace Pilgrim, survived many treks across our country with only a comb and a pen in her pocket, and faith in God and the kindness of strangers. I don't want to burden strangers quite so much, but I do hope that I can simplify my needs and trust that God will provide as He always has so generously!

I covet the prayers of my friends and family in this endeavour. I make this journey for spiritual growth. The more I surrender to God and allow Him to direct my path, the more I will be blessed. This I believe. Out of the nest you go, dear heart! Fly, Pilgrim, fly!