Gearing up for the Camino de Santiago

It’s been awhile since my last announcement and the big trip to Spain is coming up fast now!  Only a couple of more weeks and I’ll be off. I am brimming with excitement to get back out there and on another walk.

These past few months have been spent going on hikes and long walks with Anna to get back into walking shape, and slowly collecting what gear I’ll need.

Honestly it’s been good motivation to get out and explore the Richmond area. I’ve explored quite a few local parks and hiking trails that I might have otherwise put off going to. Weather permitting, I’ve been taking Anna on at least one good hike per weekend.

Anna waiting for me to catch up on our Saturday morning hike.

Anna waiting for me to catch up on our Saturday morning hike.

As for gear….  A lot of the gear I used on both my Erie Canal walk and my walk across America I either already had or bought used. Which means five additional years down the road and I’ve really worn everything out.  So I’ve been slowly collecting new gear. Thankfully while this is a long walk I won’t actually need all that much.  Not all of this is new, but here’s what I’ve gathered so far:

Gear
– Backpack*
– Hiking Shoes
– Sleep Sack
– Pillowcase
– Flashlight
– Towel
– Water Bottle x2
– Knee Brace
– Solar Charger
– Plug Converter/Adapter
– First Aid Kit

Clothing
– Hiking Socks x3
– Hiking Shorts x2
– Long Pants x1
– Tank Top
– T-Shirt
– Long-Sleeved Shirt
– Bra
– Underwear
– Swimsuit
– Bandana

Personal Items
– Phone & Charger
– Journal & Pen

And then of course Toiletries and other odds and ends like sunscreen, lip balm, etc.

What I still need to gather:
– Water Filter/Treatment
– Rain Jacket
– Rain Cover
– Travel Wallet
– Earplugs
– Camera
– Sandals
– Random stuff like dry shampoo, clothes pins, etc

I will of course update with a final gear list before I leave.  Hopefully I should have everything by next weekend.

*I really really wanted a new pack. Mostly because I love camping/backpacking gear and would love to collect them all. And it’s been awhile since I bought a pack. However it’s not in the budget and while it’s quite a bit larger than what I need, I do actually have a perfectly serviceable pack:

Old Blue, as I've been calling it.

Old Blue, as I’ve been calling it.

It’s a little stretched out and faded now, but Old Blue here has been with me for every adventure so far. On my back along the 400+/- miles along the Erie Canal and pushed along in a stroller for the 4000+/- miles across America.  It might be bigger, bulkier, and heavier than what I need, but it’ll join me for at least one more adventure across Spain.

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You can’t take the sky from me; Anna’s feet cont’d

Anna’s sad paw.

Bad news everybody, Anna is out of the game for awhile.

We started out from Hanksville Monday morning with high spirits. The dogs were energetic, the clouds were heavy in the sky (meaning blocking the hot desert sun), and all was good.

About five or six miles down the road we decided to break for lunch. We had gotten a bit of a late start, heading out around 9-ish, so lunchtime came pretty fast.  The dogs were happy, the sun was still blocked by clouds, and we had plenty of water. All was still good.

Couple more miles down the road and the clouds disappeared. The afternoon sun was at full blast and Anna decided she had had enough. We passed a car that was pulled over, I assume to admire the views, and as we walked by Anna dashed under the car and into the shade.  After some coaxing I got her out and moving again, but I knew from our midwest heatwave days that that was a sure sign she was heading for overheating.

A little ways up the road I pulled over and informed Ralph that Anna needed a break. She couldn’t take the sun. We pulled over, set up our breaktime shade stations, I took off Anna’s boots, and we sat down to have a rest.

After about an hour or so, after soaking Anna with a wet bandana and giving her plenty of water in the shade, we got up to get going. Only Anna wasn’t moving.  She just planted her feet and refused to budge.  Ralph, who has a much bigger cart than I do, stepped in to rescue Anna, picking her up and placing her atop his cart.

Anna rode this way for awhile until she jumped off. Figuring this meant she was good to go, I put the boots back on her front paws – the more severely damaged of the four – and got to walking. We made it only a little farther down the road before Anna started limping…..on both front paws.  She’s been limping off and on on her front right, but now she started the left too. Super bad sign.

After climbing a rather large and shoulderless hill, back onto the cart Anna went.  She stayed there until we stumbled upon an oasis where we stopped in for a drink, only to find out they had a motel room for a fine price.

So now here we are, at the Luna Mesa Oasis restaurant/motel/campground.

Home for a bit.

Yesterday I ran into town (an hour away) to help the daughter of the owner run some errands, then when we got back I helped her feed the horses. It was a busy day, but the end result is a new friend and a ride into Loa on Thursday.

The plan, as of now, is to get to Loa and try to walk to Koosharem. We have car support coming, who was originally going to meet us in Cedar City, but now hopefully in Koosharem. That way Anna can ride in the car support, and the rest of Team Adventure can continue on the journey west.  It’ll be very sad not to be walking with Anna, but safety and health first.  Hopefully after a week or so of riding and resting she can come back to walking the road with me.  Time will tell.

But one thing is for sure, we’re not giving up.  Bears, heat waves, hail storms, allergies, flat tires, high mountains, dry desert, injuries….nothing will stop us from reaching our goal.  We will continue on until we run out of land and hit that ocean.

take my love
take my land
take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care
I’m still free
you can’t take the sky from me

burn the land
and boil the sea
you can’t take the sky from me

Anna’s feet

If you’ve been following the Twitter and Facebook updates you’ll know about Anna’s paw troubles. For those not following the Facebook/Twitter updates….you really should start doing that. I update those way more than this blog. But basically, Anna’s paws are pretty torn up and we’ve taken the past three days off to let her recover a bit.

In addition to rest, Anna is now the proud owner of a new pair of dog shoes to help protect her feet across the rest of the desert.

I know some people think getting shoes for dogs is a bit ridiculous, as dogs are pretty much built for walking all day and covering long distances. However, while dogs are meant to walk all day and cover a lot of ground, they’re not meant to walk twelve hours a day on hot pavement.  I was hoping that Anna would be okay, and throughout the entire walk I’ve kept a really close eye on her paws to make sure, but the Rockies followed by the desert – or maybe just walking from Maryland to Utah – turned out to be too much. So shoes it is!

At first Anna was a little unsure, but after a couple of short walks over the past three days of rest she’s gotten pretty used to ’em.