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.

MicroAdventures

A little while ago I stumbled across  Alastair Humphreys and his idea of the “microadventure”:

Simple expeditions and challenges which are close to home, affordable and easy to organise. Ideas designed to encourage ordinary people to get Out There and Do Stuff for themselves, even in these tightened financial times.

I absolutely love this idea. It really stresses how Adventure is not a destination, but a state of mind.

You don’t need to be flying across the globe or walking across a continent to be having an adventure. Having an adventure is not limited to those that are rich or have the finest fanciest gear or even those who are at peak fitness. Adventures are for everyone, and the idea behind microadventures really highlights that fact.

A microadventure can be anything – any outing or expedition that is a challenge to you and an inspiration to yourself and others.  The main thing is your attitude and way of thinking. It’s not just a walk in the park, it’s an adventure – a microadventure! This could be tenting with the kids or friends in the yard for a weekend. Taking a hike up that mountain the town over. A roadtrip exploring new-to-you areas. Running a marathon.  Exploring the woods out back of your house.

Who knows where your next adventure might lead. This one lead to poor Koopa being stuck in a tree – but that’s okay, because it was surely a grand adventure getting up there!

The important part is getting up and out and challenging yourself.  Because that’s what adventuring is all about – challenging yourself and others to push beyond the norm.  As Mr Humphreys says,

“Adventure is stretching yourself; mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing what you do not normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability.”

So what will your next microadventure be?

Rocky Mountain High

We have officially walked up, over, and through the Rocky Mountains.

And if feels pretty damn good.

Originally I was planning on getting a ride over the mountains and continuing walking to the coast from the other side. Mainly for fear of death by ninja cougars or raging bears that would surely attack a lone female hiker and her adorable dog. (Movies and television have assured me that the truly vicious animals go for the cute girls and dogs.) However, Fate intervened by way of Ralph and Alice offering a partnership through the mountains. And boy am I glad they did.

Walking through the mountains was an amazing experience. It’s nothing at all like the Appalachians or any of the mountains we have in Maine. There is just nothing to compare to the Rockies.

We started by going up and around Pike’s Peak.

Pike’s Peak, from a distance

Then worked our way up through a few mountain passes

Ute Summit

Wilkerson Pass, elevation 9502

Trout Creek Pass, elevation 9346

And eventually through our highest elevation and toughest climb up and over Monarch Pass

And then it was all easy sailing from there…..ha, no. That’s a lie.

Monarch Pass, elevation 11,312

But when we crested our last mountain pass, and saw not another row of summits before us but wide open land…

wide open below us

..well that was a pretty amazing feeling.

There were days where I thought the mountains would go on forever, but of course they didn’t.  It was both harder and easier than I thought it would be, walking through the Rocky Mountains, and I’m really glad I decided to hike on through instead of hitching a ride.  An experience on this adventure that I’ll never forget.