Training for the Portuguese Camino

I admit it, I’ve been bitten! I’ve got the Camino de Santiago virus and I’ve got it bad.
I hadn’t even begun my 2013 Camino and I was already signed up for a 2014 Camino.
In April of 2014, I will be walking northward from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Porto to Santiago is only 240 kilometers or approximately 149 miles. The distance is enough to be awarded another Compostela once I arrive in Santiago.
I have already begun my training for this Camino. With the help of my trainer and the strict diet he has put me on, I think this Camino is going to be a very exciting and strong Camino.
Today I decided to hike Saguaro National Monument which is not far from my house. I drove my car there and parked outside the Park Loop which is called the Cactus Forest Drive. I stretched next to my parked car, grabbed my trekking poles and started to walk to the entrance.

john goodmanA big black Mercedes was following me and the fellow inside tells me “I don’t think you are going to find much snow in here today.” I turn to tell him they are trekking poles, and to my surprise it is John Goodman. John Goodman the actor, the one who played Roseanne’s husband on the Roseanne television show and starred in HBO’s Treme!
By this time, I was at the entrance to the park and had to show my pass and identification. John Goodman started saying something to the Park Ranger and I simply walked on. He didn’t drive through the park because I never saw his car again.

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It was a beautiful day to be walking in the desert. The temperature was in the mid 60’s F, the sun was shining and a very slight breeze was blowing. Cactus Forest Drive is 8 miles or 13 kilometers of paved road that winds its way through the Saguaro National Monument East. It is a peaceful place to walk for the most part, although one must watch out for cars especially on the weekends and cyclists.
SAM_1690I carried my trekking poles because I know there is one especially steep incline at about the 4 mile point. For most of my trek, those poles were over my shoulder, but I was very glad I had them with me once I reached that 4 mile mark.

At one point today I saw a baby bobcat. I wasn’t quick enough to retrieve my camera and capture a picture of the kitten; it ran away when it saw me. There were many birds but mostly I saw a lot of cactus.

SAM_1685
I walked today with music in my ears and a bounce in my step. It was a great day; I logged in 8.11 miles in 2 hours and 48 minutes which included many stops to take pictures. I was quite proud of my accomplishment today.

SAM_1699 SAM_1709

24 responses to “Training for the Portuguese Camino

  1. That looks like a great place to walk, and perfect weather! I need to get out more too.
    Clare

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    • Clare,
      It was a beautiful day. Yes, it is a great place to walk, unfortunately all on pavement. I sometimes walk the trails in the park though, now is the perfect time since supposedly the rattlesnakes are hibernating.
      Arlene

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  2. You just never know who you will meet while on a hike:) What an experience, aren’t you glad you went out? Great discipline you have Arlene.
    Proud of you! Now you have a fun story to tell.

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    • Tami,
      Who’d a thunk? John Goodman in our neighborhood! And better yet following me in his Mercedes! 😉
      Yes, you do know me, don’t you; when I set my mind on something, I get it!
      Arlene

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  3. Wow Arlene! The Camino provides … even in training!
    Your hiking trail looks and sounds absolutely beautiful – enjoy your training.
    Cheers – Jenny

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    • Jenny,
      It is one of the nice places to hike around here. The only problem is by May it starts getting very hot and I have to be out at dawn to get in a decent amount of training.
      HOOLY DOOLY and a Happy New Year!
      Arlene

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      • Hi Arlene –
        Happy New Year! Best wishes for a really happy and healthy 2014 – the days are ticking away closer and closer to the Portuguese Camino and for your commission of your mosaic art – I really hope that it all goes super-well for you.
        HOOLY DOOLY – you’re in for a completely wonderful Camino Year!
        Take joy in every step of your training –
        Jenny x

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      • Jenny,
        I received an email just the other day. The hotel wants to put off the mosaic commission until 2015 or later. They are in the process of building a wine shop in the back of the hotel and want to complete that first.
        I’m truthfully not disappointed because it was becoming too much trouble visa wise. I would have to be in the EU for more than my allowed 90 days and obtaining a visa is a very slow process. Was beginning to stress.

        Yes, HOOLY DOOLY!! – this is going to be one great Camino Year for sure!

        Happy New Year to you and yours!
        Arlene

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      • Hi Arlene –
        I’m sorry to hear that your commission won’t happen in 2014 but it sounds as though it’s for the best in that you were up against visa difficulties. Everything will fall into place when it’s meant to happen.
        Maybe after the Portuguese Camino you could possibly go to the UK and do some more exploring. England’s West Country (Devon and Cornwall) is absolutely magical – so much history and mystery there – as you saw with Stonehenge.
        ‘Looking forward to hearing about your plans as the year progresses –
        Cheers –
        Jenny x

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  4. Gonna be hard for those mortals among us to keep up with your pace once we get to Portugal. I likely won’t walk 8 miles in total between now and then. Unlike you, walking is not my favorite pass time. Looked like a beautiful walk and I know Tucson can be magical in the winter.

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    • Steve,
      Magical yes, in the winter. But once it gets warmer I don’t like getting out to walk – snakes are out and it’s too damn hot!!!
      Arlene

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  5. BTW, that looked like a rather early picture of John Goodman unless he is following your diet and exercise regimen.

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    • Steve – I pulled that picture of Goodman off the internet. I was too shocked at seeing him that I didn’t even think to snap a picture.
      Arlene

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  6. Very proud of you and it looks like you were having a great day. You should have invited Goodman to walk along! Getting back in the swing of things myself this am. Walked everywhere in NYC lost 4 lbs. on vaca!! Keep up the good work. Judee

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    • Hey Girlie,
      So glad to hear you had a great time in NYC with the family! Nothing is better than being with loved ones during the holidays. I don’t think Goodman could have walked that 8.11 miles, do you?
      Arlene

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  7. Perfect day for walking. Who is your trainer??? You go girl. Nancy

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  8. We were there on Sunday as well but it was late in the day. Like you, we’re so lucky to live so close to this glorious National treasure!

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  9. Sounds like you’re really on your way.. I hear that the Portuguese Way is a nice sequel to walking the Frances 😉 Onward ho, fellow pilgrimess! (That was a funny encounter with JG)

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    • Amit,
      It is wonderful to have you following me. I so enjoyed your blog while you were on the Camino. Surprisingly we were there at the same time. I began my second Frances on Sept. 17, 2013 and finished in Santiago in the pouring rain on Oct. 20, 2013. I can’t wait to get back on Camino. The Portugues will be my third and I have just purchased my tickets to begin the Ingles in August.

      I will probably be blogging along the Portugues as I did on the Frances, so stay tuned. I can promise photos as I trek along.

      Your Camino was fabulous! Bravo Amit! What a great accomplishment!

      I hope you have a wonderful and happy New Year.

      Arlene

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  10. I will be doing the same in May or June 2014. What guide book have you settled on? I used John Brierley for Camino Francis in 2013 but some Europeans had better ones.

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    • Hi Dawn,
      For my 2013 Camino Frances, I used the Village to Village Guide to Hiking the Camino de Santiago by Anna Dintaman and David Landis. I found this guide more concise and with better maps and descriptions that the Brierley book which I used for my 2012 Camino Frances.

      For the Camino Portugues I will be using the CSJ guide, which I have loaded onto my tablet and the Brierley Camino Portugues in paperback (simply because these were the only guide books available on these routes.

      For the Camino Ingles, I will be using the Cicerone guidebook for the Northern Caminos as well as the CSJ guide, which again is loaded onto my tablet.

      The Michelin book of maps is also a wonderful resource.

      Arlene

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