And so the day has finally come. Months of planning comes down to this. My pack is a little heavier than I’d hoped. 18 pounds to be exact, but when it came right down to it, I couldn’t figure out what else to leave behind. One change of clothes. An additional pair of shoes. A raincoat and pants. A hat and a fleece for the early morning starts. A well stocked first aid kit to take care of my soon to be achy feet. With my friends Maura and Lynn as training partners, we’ve hiked up Mt. Diablo, Mt. St. Helena and Mt. Burdell. We’ve climbed and descended while I carried my pack, imagining what it will be like when the time came. I’m prepared. I’m probably over-prepared. It’s just walking, I tell myself. I can walk.
But the truth is, I’m not sure I’m ready at all.
As much as I’ve read every book I can find on the Camino, watched a couple of documentaries and read several first hand experiences, I don’t really know what the next 5 weeks will bring and that’s OK.
I’m on my way to Barcelona to visit a friend and then on to St. Jean Pied de Port. On Friday morning, bright and early, I will begin the first stage of the Camino Frances, from St. Jean across the Pyrennes and into Roncesvalles to spend the night. It’s supposed to be the hardest stage as I climb the route of Napolean, 15 miles, mostly up with an incline of almost 5,000 feet. I hear the views are magnificent at the top and if I’m lucky, I’ll find a herd or two of sheep.
I’m on my way. Buen Camino.