I now am ready – I’m as conditioned as I will be and I’ve collected all my gear. I’ve done all that is humanly possible to get my backpack down to carry-on size. It has been a daunting and unsuccessful task; back and forth to the Summit Hut for one compression sack or another. All to no avail, I’ve purchased a nylon duffel bag to put the backpack into and check it as baggage. And now all I have to do is to wait for my departure day to arrive.
I simply cannot believe the knowledge I have gleaned in the preparation for this trek. Here are a just a few things I have learned:
- A down sleeping bag long enough for a grown person can be stuffed into a sack and compressed to the size of a cantaloupe.
- Deodorant, for that matter everything in plastic packaging, can be removed from its packaging, put in a Ziploc bag and used right out of the bag to help keep down the total weight of the pack.
- One change of clothing is sufficient – any more is just added weight to carry.
- Quick drying and wicking clothing with plenty of pockets is a must.
- Socks need to be changed and feet need messaging after a few hours’ walking each and every day.
- Wrinkled clothing is a part of backpacking.
- Rain gear for oneself is absolutely necessary. A rain cover for the backpack is positively essential!
- Gaiters for shoes will help keep out dirt, mud and rocks.
- Buff headgear can be worn as a headband, hat, neck scarf and a device to keep earplugs in place.
- Dr. Bronner’s soap is multi-tasking. It can be used for bathing, shampooing and washing clothing.
- Hydration as well as electrolyte replacement is extremely important.
Just yesterday I received a gift from two dear friends to carry with me on the Camino. The gift is two scallop shells, each inscribed with a verse from Scripture. I will wear one on my backpack and the other around my neck during my pilgrimage. Thank you Deb and Dave!
The scallop shell has long been the symbol of the Camino de Santiago. The shell also acts as a metaphor. The grooves in the shell, which come together at a single point, represent the various routes pilgrims travel, eventually arriving at a single destination: the tomb of James in Santiago de Compostela. The shell is also a metaphor for the pilgrim. As the waves of the ocean wash scallop shells up on the shores of Galicia, God’s hand also guides the pilgrims to Santiago.
“Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)
I will be carrying several friends’ intentions with me to Santiago de Compostela and to the Iron Cross in Puerto Irago along the Camino. Please let me know if there is an intention you would like me to carry for you.