We are both very anxious, we have been planning this pilgrimage for ten months. Karen Lewis and Bill Boyle, a classmate of Jim’s from high school, college and medical school and his wife, actually planned the trip through Mac’s Adventure and we joined them. We then recruited our neighbor Peggy Scott to walk the first week from San Sebastian to Bilbao with us and another neighbor Margaret Deutsch and her friend Mandy Victor-Pieczarka to walk the second week from Bilbao to Santander. We have all been training with long walks in Pine Colorado, Great Barrington Massachusetts and Boston, but as the summer went by and the pandemic resurged everyone started rethinking the safety of this trip. Four weeks prior to the start everyone had withdrawn except Sandy and Jim. Our take on the pandemia is that we are now in the “new normal” and we need to proceed to live our lives. We are both fully vaccinated and Jim has received a third vaccination. We try to live cautiously, wearing masks indoors and avoiding crowds outdoors. We are not anxious about Covid, we are anxious about the intense physical challenges to our old bodies that lie in wait for us over the next five weeks. We have read two books and a number of blogs about the challenges of this Camino which involve constantly changing weather, very muddy and steep ascents and descents, lack of services such as bars, restaurants and stores along the way and very few other pilgrims to share the experience with. We are both very anxious BUT, we have each other. We are soulmates, best friends and lovers. We will support each other and we can do this.
Day one: San Sebastian to Getaria. 15.6 miles with an elevation gain of just over 2,000 feet, 7 hours 21 minutes.
Sandy well ahead of Jim which seems to be our normal.
Looking back at Bolibar.
Day six from Lezama to Bilbao is only 8.7 miles but with 1,277 feet of altitude gain in two miles it was quite tough for Jim.
And so ends our first six days with 90 of 500 miles complete. One month to go. We now have an off day to spend in Bilbao.
[…] valedictorian and awards, while Jim has always been the practical grounded one. Karen planned our Camino trip as she and Bill were meant to be the anchor couple for that walk but a number of factors prevented […]
Thank you for taking us along on your beautiful treck. Awesome scenery so expertly captured for posterity. We are blessed to be along for the hike virtually. Thank you for sharing so many details. You guys are amazing.
What a beautiful and hard earned adventure! Thank you so much for sharing this with us all. Your honesty, strength, and positive attitudes are such admirable qualities. Hoping for more gorgeous days, less mud puddles and rocks, and many new friendships.
Thank you for this fabulous blog – love the descriptions and photos ! Wow – so scenic just as we thought ! You two are in fabulous shape after the first week between the elevation changes and doing it in the mud and rain Thank you for picking such a gorgeous beach to place my rock on – I feel truly blessed. Are you finding the arrows and navigation pretty easy so far ? What an incredible and spectacular journey you’re on ! Keep up the donkey photos , Sandy ! I LOVE them ! Happy trails , Karen
Thanks Karen for tour kind words. The arrows are there but you do need to be careful and stay vigilant at looking for them. We have taken a wrong turn a couple of times and locals have saved us. We also keep checking two apps to be sure we are on the trail. Often you will have alternate routes to chose from and it can be hard to know which one is best. Today we chose pavement instead of going off the road and we ended up walking for miles on a minor two lane secondary road, fortunately it was not busy as there was nothing to separate us from the cars, we just walk the shoulder if the road. Perhaps we should have turned into the field.
You have such wonderful photos and narrative. I get a real sense of what the walk is like, and just how much elevation you have to climb every day. It does look spectacularly beautiful in places. Glad all is going well!