Friday, November 30, 2012


I've always admired those folks who walk great distances.  You've heard about some of them I'm sure, like the guy who walked across the US to raise money for wounded veterans.  There have been others of course, walking for various causes or just for the challenge.  Each year a whole bunch of people hike from the Mexican Border near Campo, California along the Pacific Crest Trail  (PCT) all the way to the Canadian Border in Washington State.  That's 2,600 miles and those are hard miles over numerous mountain passes and across a pretty good section of the Mohave Desert.  Those who hike the PCT carry a full pack, camp out along the way and stop every 6 or 7 days to resupply.  I recently read a blog by a woman who completed the PCT with her 8 year old daughter.  Here's a link:

I recently learned of a pilgrimage route across Northern Spain called the Camino de Santiago.  The length varies depending one where one starts, but the Camino ends in Santiago, Spain.  The origins of the Camino de Santiago goes back one thousand years and it was an important christian pilgrimage route during the middle ages, all walking to seek forgiveness from St James. It is thought that the remains of the Apostle Saint James is buried in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.  In modern times pilgrims walk it for many reasons, not only religious, and to be a pilgrim has changed its meaning. What attracts people to the Camino de Santiago today, it is the mix of adventure, seeing Spain and its culture and the camaraderie that builds up over several weeks of walking. Pilgrims that walk come from all over the world and that creates a great environment. Mix that with some good Spanish wine and food, and you have the perfect experience.

The most popular route, Camino Frances, starts in Saint Jean de Pied de Port, France, crosses the Pyrenees into Spain and stretches over 500 miles to Santiago.

I would love to walk the Camino Frances, but it's just not in the cards at this time.  I'll put it on my bucket list and hope I'll be able to do it in the future.

But it got me thinking.  I've been sitting around doing nothing lately, spending way too much time on this computer, and putting on a few pounds.  I felt the need to get up off my ass and challenge myself by doing something that required me to be active and get a few pounds off.  So I thought, why not walk to Yuma?  Keep in mind that I said walk, not backpack.  So, I enlisted the help of my beautiful wife who will be my support team on my trek.   I've picked a route that will keep me off the freeways and on secondary roads for the most part.  I will start from home and walk till I feel the need to stop.  Then I will summon Cathie with my trusty cell phone, who if she can tear herself away from what ever she's doing and come and pick me up, taking me home for the night.  Then the next morning she will return me to the spot she pick me up the day before and I will continue walking.  Sounds like a plan.

15.1 miles

Starting just before 7 am, I walked till about 9 before the sun came out from behind the clouds.  Walking along busy roads is not really pleasant with the noise plus walking on the hard surface hurts the sore foot.  (more about that later) As I walked through Spring Valley, I recalled the time I used to patrol the same streets I was now walking on.  The neighborhoods have changed some and not for the better.  More run down, trash in yards, broken down cars on what was once the front lawn.  Luckily, the vast majority of my walk will not be walking through neighborhoods.




Leaving Spring Valley behind I continued heading east along Jamacha Road stopping at the local Carls Jr. to use the facilities.  I've been trying to stay completely off the road surface, but there are times when it unavoidable.  Took a short break in the parking lot of Cottonwood Golf Course, eating a quick lunch.  After 4.5 hours of pretty much continuous walking I gave Cathie a call telling her to start heading my way.  I continued walking figuring to get a few more miles in before she arrived.  When she did get there, I had walked for 5 hours 45 minutes and covered 15 miles.   Not too bad for the first day.

13.3 Miles

Around 5:30 as I lay in bed it crossed my mind that I really don't have to get up.  So I watched the clock click off 5 more minutes and thought to myself, what am I thinking, I've got to get to Yuma!  So Cathie dropped me off where I left of yesterday and headed east.  Traffic is heavy for a country road due to the Indian casino up ahead.  Once past it the traffic becomes non-existence.

There are some spots along the road that there is little room for a pedestrian.  With light traffic I can hear cars coming and get out of the way.


Most of today's walk was uphill and much of the time I had to walk on the road surface.  This aggravated my sore foot making walking painful at times.  I would get relief when I was able to walk on dirt instead of asphalt.  About the foot.  I have Morton's Neuroma in my left foot.  I've had it for the past several months, and at first it was very painful but it's gradually getting better.  Of course walking to Yuma isni't going to help.  I'll take a day off now in then if it gets too bad.  Walked for the same amount of time as yesterday, but at a slower pace due to the steady climb.  Forecast says rain for tomorrow, so I'll have to wait and see.


12.8 miles

It's drizzling this morning so I started out in a light rain jacket (Marmot).  I don't know if it kept the rain out or not because I was sweating with the uphill climb and I got pretty wet from the inside out.  Mostly up hill today starting at 2200 feet and finishing at 4000 feet.  After 7 miles I finally reached Interstate 8.  From here on out I'll be walking on Old Hwy 80.  For the most part the shoulder is wide much of the time so it means I can walk facing traffic.  Until now I've been walk on what ever side of the road is wider.  Only walked for 5 hours today as my foot is bothering me.  Made it as far as Guatay.




Erin said...

Those are some really neat signs and "people" you found while walking. When are you going to post more?

Hansjörg said...

Dana for Europe, I'd love to your companion on walks. The long walks are also my passion. In 2005, I walked with my dog ​​"Nick" the "Camino Frances" of St. Jean de Port to Santiago, 800 km in 33 days.
I send you some pictures of this hike. By the way, there are wonderful long walks in Germany. In the Black Forest, "Westweg" from Pforzheim to Basel, 280 km in 10 - 12 days ...