Camino de Santiago de Compostela – Update (Part XVI)

I continue training although the temperatures in southern Arizona are brutal.

This morning at 6:15 am I headed out for a hike that was very usual for me, the normal 6 to 6 ½ miles on hilly dirt country roads with my full pack on my back.  After about 2 ½ miles I had to turn around and return home.  The temperatures were climbing and although I was rehydrating myself, I was becoming nauseated.  Not a good sign; one of the warning signals of heat exhaustion.  Living here in the desert it is important to know the signs and to take heed.  I was already sweating heavily and felt like I didn’t have my legs and then the nausea.  Nope, time to go home to where the air conditioner is running and relax in the cool.

I’m re-checking the contents of my backpack; it is feeling too heavy lately.  I need to see what I can eliminate to lighten the load.  I need the sleeping bag; do I also need the silk sleeping bag liner?  The small down camping pillow doesn’t weigh much; okay, this is a luxury, I know. Yes, the crocs are necessary – they will double as shower shoes as well as après hiking footwear.  I do need a towel, but do I need a washcloth?  Yes, I will need the long sleeve merino wool shirt and long underwear, definitely the long sleeve lightweight shirt (both for cover up and an additional layer).  Absolutely necessary is the rain jacket (can be used for extra warmth if needed) and the rain cover for the backpack.  I wish my pack were a bit smaller, it is just over the carry on size.  I do need the airport duffle bag for checking the backpack.

A new friend from the Santiago de Compostela Forum has suggested additional batteries and a simple battery charger for the cell phone along with a European receptacle converter.  This way I won’t have to worry about my phone being left unattended while it charges.  A simple solution, thank you!

I need my hydration pack, which when filled weighs almost 7 pounds.  The pack itself is 13 ounces and 3 liters of water is 6 pounds.  The beauty of this is it will become lighter as the walking progresses.

Now for the toiletries – once in France, I will be removing everything from the containers they are sold with and place them in individual marked Ziploc bags; I see no need for all that plastic packaging, in fact I’m sure it all adds up in weight.  The Advil will be removed from the bottle and put in a Ziploc as will the stick deodorant, stick bug repellant, sunscreen, and everything else that is packaged.  I must re-think the necessity of the other toiletries I plan to carry.  I wonder if liquid soap weighs less than a bar of soap, another question to answer.  Is it necessary to bring more than a few Band-Aids?  I’m taking along an Ace Bandage just in case.  And then there is the multi-use, most important red duct tape, hey you never know.

I read in the book “To Walk Far, Carry Less” by Jean Christie Ashmore it is beneficial to cut all the tags from clothing and all unnecessary slide closures and straps from your backpack.  Stuff Sacks are positively not needed, they just add weight, I need to remove stuff from the sacks.  She also suggests breaking off the handles of your brushes, both hair and tooth.  I think I should re-read this book, this time noting all her little tips.

11 responses to “Camino de Santiago de Compostela – Update (Part XVI)

  1. Don’t forget spare shoe laces – they can come in if you need to lash anything on or effect a repair to your backpack.


  2. Doris Muller-Schroeder

    Where are you going? Obviously a long way away from beautiful, downtown Newark, right? Good luck.


    • Doris,
      I will be walking the Camino de Santiago. It is a pilgrimage that I will be beginning in St. Jean Pied de Port, France and walking across the north of Spain to Santiago de Compostela, where it is said the remains of St. James the Apostle are interred. I will be walking in September and October of this year. Please keep me in your prayers. – Arlene


  3. If you fill your backpack with helium filled balloons, that will make the pack lighter.


  4. Hi Arlene

    I have followed you here from the Camino forum calendar, which led me to believe that you were beginning your Camino on the same day as we are, 1st September, from St Jean. But I now think you’re actually starting a couple of days later. Maybe we’ll see you along the way somewhere – we’re not expecting to be very fast! Are you excited? I’m VERY excited!

    Penny (Albany, Western Australia)


    • Hi Penny,
      I’m SO VERY excited, I wish September was next week!! Sure do hope we meet along the way. I am positive this will be the experience of a lifetime and I can’t wait to start. Thanks for linking to my blog from the forum, have you checked out the listing of the albergues David and I worked on together to produce?
      Buen Camino – Arlene


  5. Hi again Arlene

    Yes, I’ve seen your handy-looking list and copied it into Evernote on my phone for reference – thanks! I also have the Brierly book, in which I have noted all the albergues, hostals, etc people recommend on the forum. I think my ‘other half’ and I will sometimes want to share a bed, so it may not be albergues all the way for us!

    We are planning on making a detour to Bilbao so there’s a good chance you’ll catch up to us about that point. Your backpack is fairly distinctive so I’ll look out for it. Mine is purple with a Camino badge and an Albany badge.

    Have a wonderful time!



  6. Arlene,
    I follow your blog from the Camino forum because you are going in Sept/Oct of this year and I will be heading out in the same time frame in 2013.

    I read a post from one of the other forum members that a way to ensure getting your slightly oversized pack on the plane as carry on is to take a lightweight reusable shopping bag. Pull some items from your pack and carry them in the shopping bag on the plane so that your pack is smaller. This can also be useful for shopping in towns and villages. Much lighter then the duffle bag and unless you are checking poles as well you won’t need to check anything. Just a thought.

    The heat in the west/southwest so far this year has been quite bad so I understand your issues with training. I too have had to reduce my walking/hiking due to the heat. But, I am spending more time at the gym working out to continue endurance and strength training.



    • Thanks Dave, that is a great idea, I’m definitely going to try that! I’m just in from a 6 1/2 mile hike – yikes it sure is hot and now with monsoons lurking, the humidity is rising enough to make it horrific! I’m also walking the treadmill and starting some yoga. Stay tuned! 🙂 I hope to be blogging along the “Way”


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