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