This morning Nancy and I excitedly prepared for a short training hike of only 4.25 miles.  The Denver Chapter of the American Pilgrims on the Camino was hosting this hike along the beautiful Highline Canal Trail with people who have already completed a Camino or were planning to experience the Camino in 2013.  Nancy and I have done “some” hiking but nothing very strenuous or long distance.  The most vigorous hikes I’ve done are a few 14’ers here in Colorado.  Not exactly trivial but those were always day trip excursions.  This hike was different because we now have nearly all the gear we’ll be taking for our Camino.  Nice trial run to test out the gear and to see how our bodies responded to a short hike.  Back to this morning……

We’re novices at this.  I’m still learning how to properly cinch up my backpack!  We’re both packing our gear, clothes, everything we plan to take to Spain.  I finally figured out how to fill my Osprey water hydration bladder onto my Gregory Savant 58 backpack.  Nancy was struggling getting her water bladder into her Osprey Aura 50 backpack.  I started to help her when I noticed her backpack was wet.  I then noticed water leaking out of the water bladder we were trying to stuff into the pouch inside her backpack.  Nancy lifted the bladder out and there was water everywhere! The water was streaming out!! Onto the floor, backpack, our clothes!  I started to get anxious, frustrated and acted as if Nancy had done this on purpose.  What an idiot I  am!!  All that happened was that she didn’t screw the lid properly.  I could easily have done the same.  I’ve caused much worse blunders in my past.  Then I thought of the Camino.  The sweet spirit of the fellow pilgrims “peregrinos” we will be meeting along the way.  As I was on my hands and knees drying the floor with a towel I started thinking about my behavior.  Haven’t Nancy and I been walking along a similar path during our nearly 34 years of marriage? Yes, we taken turbulent, divergent paths before, but we’re walking tightly on the same path now.  The Camino.  It’s not just the gear, Mates.  It’s the experience and relationships made along the way.

We met many fellow pilgrims today in just that 4.25 mile hike.  A few that I remember by name are Lloyd and Doris.  Doris’ parents were born in Galicia.  I was able to practice my Spanish speaking with her.  She speaks fluently and naturally.  I understand her completely but I’m still struggling.  She plans to walk the Camino the very end of May from Sarria.  She has family in Santiago.  Lucky her!  John and Cacey (very fit couple, he’s ran a marathon before and was born in Tampa, FL like me!) and Linda (I spoke to her briefly, very sweet lady).  I walked with Sandy for part of the way today.  She’s nearly 72, doesn’t look her age at all.  Looks like she could walk 50 miles a day.  She’s starting her Camino in September from France with two other ladies.  Nancy and I met Maria last week at a Scallop Seashell blessing ceremony (the Scallop Seashell is a symbol of the Camino de Santiago) and saw her again today.  We walked with her part of the way.  Maria is full of life with a sweet spirit and discerning heart.  She told me her age and I still think she’s lying!  She looks like she’s in her mid 30’s.  But says she’s 50.  No way, Maria!

It’s not just the gear, Mates.  It’s the experience and relationships made along the way.  I believe our Camino has already started!


Left to Righ: Joe, Nancy, John, Cayce, Linda, and Maria