Tag Archives: long walks

My Camino de Santiago packing list: what worked, what didn’t

I’ve talked about my love/obsession with packing lists in the past and planning for the Camino is no exception. I worked on my packing list for months, diligently researching, reading the forums, learning from the successes and mistakes of others. While the starting point for this list was the one I’ve been using for years, it was enhanced and improved by the steady stream of packing information that flows through the Camino forums, the many knowledgeable people I’ve met in real life and through social media folks who are pilgrims, outdoorspeople, and packing enthusiasts.

Backpack in Hospital de Orbigo

I also tried to approach this list by identifying the needs that would have to be met during my journey. A Maslow’s packing pyramid, if you will! My conclusion: feet, hydration, protection from the elements, sleep, food, finances. Then, secondarily, navigation, ease of travel, memory retention. I walked the Camino from mid- to late September, so I knew my clothing would need to cover me from warmth and sunshine (if lucky) to cold and rain (a near certainty).

Here is the result, my packing list and post-Camino thoughts on how much I used a particular item and whether I’d take it again next time.

And one last piece of packing advice: don’t try to plan or pack for everything. Part of joy of the Camino de Santiago is learning how little you need to get the most of the experience. After the Camino, most peregrinos agree you need less than you think you do and most of the things that got thrown into a pack “just in case” went unused or were discarded. For what it’s worth, this was the information I found the most useful in my own planning – reflections after about items that were the most useful and what could have been left behind.

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Admiral Lake Loop on the Musquodoboit Trailway

At this point in our training, my #CaminoTwits pal Lori and I consider ourselves advanced amateur walkers. After the previous week’s 32km effort, we decided we needed to stretch ourselves further and sought recommendations from our hiking friends at AvoidingChores.com for a shorter, yet hillier route. That’s what brought us to the Admiral Lake Loop on the Musquodoboit Trailway.

For those unfamiliar with Nova Scotia place names, “Musquodoboit” is pronounced “Musk-uh-dob-it.”
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32km on the Salt Marsh Trail to the Atlantic View Trail and back

We are not gluttons for punishment, except when we are. My #CaminoTwits buddy Lori and I had a pretty simple rationale for this adventure: we have a couple of days on the Camino where the walks could be 30+ kilometres and we thought it might be a good idea to see what that feels like.

Short version: looks good, feels terrible. It was a good test for what a long, long day of walking on easy terrain may feel like – for better or for worse – and we saw a porcupine in a tree.

Salt Marsh Trail

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Mahone Bay to Lunenburg on the Bay to Bay Trail

As part of our efforts to get lots and lots of kilometres on our legs and be Camino-ready by September, my friend Lori and I are quickly burning though our 20-kilometre walking route options in Halifax and Dartmouth. So, we started looking for new trail ideas a short drive from Halifax in the 10-kilometre range or a 20-kilometre loop/return. One that jumped out connects two of my favourite spots on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, the Bay to Bay Trail connecting the towns of Mahone Bay and Lunenburg on an abandoned rail line.

Bay to Bay Trail Lunenburg Mahone Bay

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