I experienced a great deal of anxiety while walking the Camino, and much of it was centered around getting lost. A part of me feared that we would disappear into the wilderness of northern Spain, licking the peanut dust off our empty snack bags to survive.
Never mind that Camino del Norte is not that wild; I was neurotic about having the right resources during our journey.
We often get questions from readers about the Camino del Norte, which we walked in 2015, so we decided to set up a section on the blog dedicated to our hike. It includes the 37 posts that we wrote while we were on the trail in Spain, listed chronologically. It will also include, over time, more posts about the walk, including practical advice as well as an examination of the lessons that we learned along the way. This first post is an introduction and a look at how it all started—with a movie.
Riding on the Denali National Park shuttle in search of wildlife was usually an all-day affair. We had plenty of time to meditate on the scenery and get to know our neighbors as the bus lurched along at 10 miles an hour.
Our contemplations, however, were often interrupted by urgent, single-syllable cries of “Moose!” or “Stop!” that brought the bus to a jolting halt.
You’d think it would be easy to spot Denali, North America’s tallest peak. It is, after all, over 20,000 feet tall. In reality, the mountain formerly known as Mount McKinley is notoriously elusive. It makes its own, constantly changing weather and is usually cloud-covered, so the odds of seeing it are fairly low. In a single day, there’s about a 33% chance of seeing the mountain in its entirety, and odds aren’t that much better that you’ll even get a glimpse of it.
That’s why Dale and I spent ten nights camping in Denali National Park and Preserve, a long time to spend in a single campground.
When you spend five weeks hiking nearly 500 miles through Spain, your gear becomes an important part of who you are. Throw in eight weeks of sightseeing all over Europe in addition to the Camino, and you have the perfect testing ground for what works and what doesn’t in your selection of gear. In an ongoing gear series, I will be talking about some of the items that became indispensable both during our European trip as well as on our current North American road trip.
The first bit of kit I want to talk about is our choice of backpacks. Not only did these packs have to carry our load during the Camino, but they filled in as our suitcases for our entire 13-week journey.
The Davis Mountains hold a special place in our hearts. Roughly equidistant between Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks, the Davis Mountains are situated in the huge, sparsely-populated area of deep west Texas. We came out here many times in our 20’s and early 30’s. The first time we visited, several years before we we were even married, it was with Dale’s parents, and we returned numerous times after that, mostly to camp.
Our return this year was our first visit in probably fifteen years, and I have no idea why we ever stopped coming.