It’s Close Now!

Unbelievable as it seems, there is less than two weeks till I depart for my third Camino; the Camino Portugués.  I feel as I usually do right before a Camino, and that is the $64,000 question, have I trained enough?

The answer I always have is a loud NO!  I could have hiked further, I could have hiked harder trails, I could have hiked up and down more mountains, and I could have done a lot more than I did.  However, the reality is at this point I do not want to injure myself.  And I most probably am well-trained and quite fit.

Having said that let me talk about three of my recent hikes.  The first hike this week was around the 8 mile (almost 13 km) loop road in Saguaro National Park East.  It is a tiresome hike because it is entirely on tarmac.  The tarmac holds the sun’s heat and is quite hard on the feet.  However, there are parts of the Camino that are not on dirt paths so I consider it good training for the Camino.  The loop road also has some steep ascents and descents.  The elevation gain on this hike is 870 feet.

It is springtime and the desert is in full wild-flower bloom.  I also saw a wild desert tortoise on the side of the road being guarded by a Park Ranger on his bicycle.  The Rangers drive around the loop both in autos as well as on bicycle, I suppose making sure hikers and cyclists are not in trouble or distress.


The next hike was inside the Saguaro National Park on the trails.  I walked the Cactus Forest trail to my rock cairn, back to the loop road, took the loop road to the Desert Ecology trail, back to the loop road and then onto the Shantz trail to the trailhead where I parked my car.  The total mileage of this hike was 7 miles (11.25 km); the elevation gain was only 308 feet.


The best hike of the week was up Agua Caliente Hill.  I hiked that trail with a new friend, one of the Old Pueblo Chapter members, along with 3 of her friends.

Agua Caliente Hikers

This is the trail my son and I hiked when he was visiting.  The difference was this time we completed the trail, well not to the summit but to the marker for the turnouts for two other trails.  It was wonderful, this time I felt strong both climbing as well as descending.


We saw many wildflowers and even a few of the cactus were beginning to bloom.  The climb was steep, the elevation gain was 1,519 feet; and the descent back to the trailhead was quite tricky because of all the rock and scree on the path.  But I loved it!  It was a fabulous hike with great people.  Afterward we all went to Le Buzz for lunch.


Le Buzz is the unofficial meeting site for cyclists, hikers, climbers, horse lovers, and anybody who loves a great European style espresso bar on the east side of Tucson.  It is a great place to stop for a tasa de café after a strenuous workout!Le Buzz

16 responses to “It’s Close Now!

  1. Arlene, it looks so beautiful where you hike! And I’d say with all those trails you do, you’ll be PLENTY fit enough! Bill


  2. Bill – I’m hoping I’ll be fit enough. My knees ached a bit after the Agua Caliente hike yesterday, but I wasn’t wearing the knee supports.


  3. Judee Bradshaw

    Looking good my Sister….I’m very excited for you and hope that this trip brings you joy and happiness!Can’t wait to hear all about it and see many pictures. Love Judee


  4. I’m sure you’ll be fine! I am looking forward to reading your blog on the trip, as well as Bill’s. It will be interesting to read your different takes on the same events!
    – Clare


    • Hi Clare,
      I, too, will be following Bill’s blog as well as any of the other tour members that might be writing. I think it will be fun, as you say, to read everybody else’s takes on the day’s events.


  5. Hi Arlene – with all the training you’ve done, the Portuguese will be a stroll in the park – absolutely. I’m REALLY looking forward to your blog too – lots of food photos please, so we can see what everyone’s eating, not just what certain greedy people are eating !!! (They know who they are, well, he is!).
    Take joy in every step –
    Cheers – Jenny


    • Jenny,
      I always wonder if I have trained enough, thinking I should have done this or I should have done that. But in the end it is what it is and I’m just fine! I will try to remember to take photos of the food before I dig into my meal. I remember last year there were times I was ravenous and remembered the photo after the meal was consumed.


  6. Love the turtle picture… that would be me. 😉


    • Ingrid,
      You and me both! That was the first time I have seen a desert tortoise in the wild. The Park Ranger explained that is the normal size of them in the wild. In captivity, they grow much much larger.


  7. Hi Arlene, I love that you can claim ‘my rock cairn’ on one of your walks. 🙂 Have you noticed if others are adding their rocks to it? I, like Jenny, will look forward to your ‘take’ on this walk and to see the food and places I vicariously will get from you, Bill and the others. Thanks for taking the time to keep us all in the loop on all these levels! 🙂


    • Hi Britta – good to see you drop by. As for my rock cairn, I have been adding rocks to it every time I pass as well as snapping a photo each time. And no, nobody else has placed a single rock on it. It is almost as though the Universe is keeping it pure, for my prayers only. Arléné


  8. I’ll be walking the Camino (first time!) this summer, and have been soaking up others’ experiences. I’m looking forward to reading more about your Camino!


    • Welcome to my blog, Nadine!

      On April 4th I will depart for my third Camino. I walked in 2012 and 2013 both times the Camino Francés. This time will be the Camino Portugués. And then in August this year, I will return to walk the Camino Inglés. I have been bitten by the Camino Bug, as I am sure you have found many have been.

      I also head up the Old Pueblo Chapter of APOC here in Tucson, so if you have any questions, just ask. If you prefer I can provide you with my email address.

      Good luck, I know you are going to fall in love with the Camino. I assume you will be walking the Camino Francés, is that correct?



  9. Arlene, have a wonderful pilgrimage in Portugal. Enjoy every step. Cherish the new friends and camaraderie. Take fantastic photos. Pray for your blog followers, especially on Easter Sunday. It will be just so special to be in the cathedral on this holiest of days. Please give James an extra hug for me. I look forward to following you.


    • Anne,
      I cannot imagine the wonder that I will feel on Easter Sunday in the Cathedral. I believe it will be one of the major points of my life. Yes I will give St. James an extra tight hug for you as well as keeping you and all my friends and followers in my prayers.
      Thank you for your wishes and blessings.


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