Earthing Workshop with Sue Kenney!

For those interested: This coming Sunday, my 2014 Camino Guide and friend, SUE KENNEY, will be leading a free EARTHING WORKSHOP in Toronto’s west-end.

The workshop is hosted by Sue’s company BAREBOTTOM SHOES (shoes for people who walk barefoot).

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This is one of my favourite pictures of Sue Kenney. I took this just prior to our arrival at Monte do Gozo (HILL OF JOY!) along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain in May 2014.

EARTHING WORKSHOP WITH SUE KENNEY

Come out and discover the benefits of our Great Mother Earth. Learn all about Earthing with Sue Regan Kenney who is collaborating with Saje Wellness​ Sherway Gardens. We will meet at Tom Riley Park in Toronto on April 28th. We will start off the workshop in our shoes/boots and plan to try some barefooting in the forest! Bring a friend and please feel free to share this with others who you know want to get back to nature.

Date & Time: Sunday, 28 April 2019 from 12:30-15:00 EDT

Location: 3214 BLoor Street West, Toronto, Ontario

This is a free event, but you can register online on the Facebook Event Page HERE.

 

Throwback Thursday to May 2014

Buen Camino!

My last Camino was in May 2014. For #ThrowbackThursday I thought I would share a few pics. I’m so looking forward to seeing these and many more sights when we walk the Camino de Santiago together this coming September!

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The delectable Padrón Peppers of the Camino de Santiago! Just wait until you try these delicious peppers! My mouth waters just thinking about them.

Depending on the time of year you make your Camino, the fields are sometimes resplendent with poppies. If you walk around May, be prepared for fields of red! If you miss their season, though, don’t despair. You’ll find a great variety of flowers along the Way.

On the Camino, you often get this overwhelming sense that everything is beautiful…even those things that are withering with age and falling to ruin. Whether the houses are majestic in stature or crumbling, their beauty abounds. Since I have come back, I have seen more pictures of the white house on the top right than I can count.It’s probably one of the most photographed houses on the Way.

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Along with yellow arrows and mile-markers, pilgrims will also see these shells embedded in the ground every now and again. In fact, I found these same shells all over Brussels when I was there in 2017. There is a deep presence of the Camino there. This one is from the Camino Frances, taken in 2014.
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When I walked in May I saw many signs of spring. Baby livestock everywhere. Say hello to this little lamb!
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HINT: When you get to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, you are not done! You must climb upwards! Did you know there are tours of the cathedral ROOF? Don’t miss out on the beautiful vistas of Santiago. The rooftop experience is a pure delight.

The landscapes of the Camino are BREATHTAKING! Such big sky. Such vast open spaces that go on endlessly.

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You will constantly find gifts along the way. Whether they be benches for a brief but much needed rest, or a ribbon tied to a tree with an inspirational message on it to help you to keep moving forward…the Camino provides. You will find what you need when you need it.
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The statuary, the sanctuaries, the churches, the crosses, the Virgin Marys and the candles… you will find it all. The Camino de Santiago is first and foremost a religious pilgrimage. Whether or not you’re religious, you will find beauty in all that the churches along the way have to offer.
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A view from the rooftop of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

If the Camino is calling you, listen. Heed the call. You won’t regret it. There is beauty in every footfall. It is not always an easy journey, but it is a breathtaking one that you will take with you forever.

Buen Camino!

Preparations Continue – Footwear for the Barefooter…

Happy APRIL, peregrinos!

Although I intend to do as much of my September Camino barefoot, I now have a backup sandal. Michael got us these Xero Shoes this weekend. I find them extremely comfortable, though I still have to master the fitting. My feet are currently fitting on each sole differently. When I put them on and look down at them, each shoe looks like it’s a different size. I haven’t quite figured out the way to fit them so that they both fit the same way. But we have 5 months to go, I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually.

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Zero Shoes – Shoes for the barefooter

We’re getting to the point where we’re almost ready to go. This is rather awkward, as now all there is left to do is WAIT. Our backpacks are even mostly packed. With 5 months to go. Yep. We’re not eager or anything. (-:

We’ll be starting our AllTrails hikes soon and I’ll be sure to try out these awesome shoes! Can’t wait.

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Passports READY!

Hiatus Coming to an End…

As winter’s back finally snaps, we are ready to set out on more AllTrails hikes throughout Ontario! Follow us as we prepare for our Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in September. I can now say we are OFFICIALLY BOOKED! Flights and albergue accommodations are all arranged, complete with an extra day in Lisbon, Portugal, at the end of the journey.

We’ll soon be venturing out on some of the many trails Ontario has to offer. Just as soon as it warms up–and dries up–a little, we’ll be off. And we’ll be enlisting the help of the AllTrails app to do so. Looking forward to some of the more hillier trails available to us, as the Camino weaves throughout quite a mountainous region of Spain. And looking forward to using the awesome AllTrails app to keep track of our progress!

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More coming soon!

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Camino Training Day 1 – Trail Number 1 -Waterfront Trail

Day 1 – Waterfront Trail

We kicked off our Camino training with a fairly level hike. Nothing too difficult to start off with. Today, we went for distance over rugged terrain.

We will be using the AllTrails app (found in the App store for free) for most, if not all, of our hikes. It’s an excellent app that opens with all available hiking trails in your immediate location, no matter where you are. And it also allows you to record your hikes. It gives you such details as distance, time, calories burned, etc. It even breaks down every kilometre you walk and gives you the time and the elevation change. It’s really all you need to plan upcoming hikes and monitor them along the way.

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The hike we chose for our first was strenuous only as it pertains to kilometres walked. It was a beautiful walk along Lake Ontario just east of Toronto, starting out in Pickering, Ontario. Although the trail goes on seemingly forever, you have to keep in mind that it’s a POINT-TO-POINT trail. This means it’s linear. You either need to arrange for transportation at the other end, or walk half the distance you wish to cover that day and double back. This is what we chose to do. We walked about 15 kilometres from the beginning of the trail at Frenchman’s Bay at the bottom of Liverpool Road in Pickering, Ontario, to Halls Road in Whitby, Ontario, then did the same 15km in reverse back to the car.

The path is extremely well groomed and fairly level. It weaves a bit, but for the most part follows Lake Ontario. It’s one of the most scenic trails you’ll find in the area. And we did find a public washroom in Ajax, about 10 kilometres into the trail. As for ground, we came across boardwalk, wooden bridges, paved pathways, gravel pathways, grassy paths and packed ground. And keep in mind that there IS beach access at points along the way, should you choose to walk the beach for a bit. It was a wide variety of different surfaces, all well groomed.

The beauty of the point-to-point trail is also its weakness. Which, I suppose, is also true for the loop trail… depending on what you’re looking for on any given day. A point-to-point trail…you walk for half of your desired TIME or DISTANCE. You don’t get to see the rest of the trail, but you know exactly where your halfway point is because you make it yourself. With loop trails, you won’t feel as though you’re missing something because it’s mandatory that you do the entire trail. Whether you’re up to it or not. You have to complete it to get back to the beginning.

On point-to-point trails you can decide while you’re there how you’re feeling and how much farther you wish to go. This particular trail would be nice for a leisurely stroll whether you wanted to walk 1 km, 2 km, 10 km, or 30. You won’t be disappointed. You can commit to the distance you wish to cover while you’re walking.

Things to watch for:

  • Free parking at the end of Liverpool Road in Pickering.
  • Close to the beginning of the trail (about 2km in) you will come to Brock Road in Pickering. You come out at the NORTH-WEST corner. You have to cross the West to East lights and then the North to South lights, as the trail switches to the other side of the street. There’s a few places where the trail will sway away from the lake and cross vehicle roads, but all are well marked. It’s easy to stay on this trail, as it’s heavily marked. And kept in pristine condition.
  • Depending on the season, you could come across great gaggles of Canada Geese…and you have to be mindful of their droppings.
  • Also depending on the season, caterpillars. In October, we came across a great many of them crossing the path. Be mindful.
  • WATERFRONT TRAIL PICKERING
  • GREAT LAKES WATERFRONT TRAIL – AJAX
  • Respect trails, always. Please remember not to litter. This trail is funded by we the people. And it’s for we the people. RESPECT
  • Get yourself the AllTrails App. It’s invaluable. The website is great and helpful, but the app is perfect for real-time tracking and all those little detailed stats you’ll love to track when it’s over.
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Great Lakes Waterfront Trail – Saturday, October 20, 2018. Camino Training Day 1. Liverpool Road, Pickering to Halls Road, Whitby. Ontario—Yours to Discover. Camino, every day…

One step closer to the Camino de Santiago…

The Journey Begins – The Camino Every Day

Thanks for joining us!

For some, the journey to the Camino de Santiago begins long before their feet touch down on Spanish soil. This one-year blog will explore the training leading up to and away from the Way of St. James.

The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrimage routes that lead to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (Northwestern Spain). The bones of the apostle St. James are said to be interred there. Since the middle ages, peregrinos (pilgrims) have been walking the path to his shrine in the cathedral.

One of the most renown pilgrimage routes is the Camino Francés, or French Way. This path to the cathedral begins in St. Jean Pied de Port, in France, and is approximately 780km (500 miles) in length. The Camino de Santiago is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

I walked the Camino back in May of 2014. In September of 2019, I will be returning. This time, Michael will be coming with me. This blog will be the story of our preparation for the Camino, as well as the actual pilgrimage itself and the time immediately following our return home from the Camino.

Over the course of the next year, we will be making day trips, exploring some of the amazing hiking trails in our own province here in Canada. The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) has in incredible amount of hiking trails and all of them have something unique and beautiful to offer the urban or rural hiker. Our Camino training will take us to many of these trails. The slogan for Ontario is one that would hold true for the Camino de Santiago as well. “YOURS TO DISCOVER”. While training for this upcoming Camino (which will take place 11 short months from now), that’s just what we aim to do…discover our Ontario.

Come with us. Let us tell you about the many trails weaving throughout this great province of ours. While we build our endurance and prepare for my second great pilgrimage to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela (and Michael’s first), we’ll share what we discover in our exploration of some of this country’s best hiking trails. Join us as we make a journey of the time leading up to the journey…as we Camino every day…

“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.” — Izaak Walton

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The fence leading to the monastery in Samos, Spain…along the Camino de Santiago (May, 2014).
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My first Camino. This pic taken on the front lawn of the Castillo de los Templarios, the Templar Castle in Ponferrada, Spain.

FULL DISCLOSURE: We will be walking the Camino de Santiago from ASTORGA to SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA.